Driving in Sri Lanka


What do you think of the way people drive in Sri Lanka? How different is it from your home country?

Respecting the road safety rules, driving etiquette such as general courtesy, speed excess… what are the characteristics of the driving style in Sri Lanka?

Share with us the difficulties one may face when driving in Sri Lanka: peak hours, road conditions, accident, etc. and your advice to drive safely in the country.

Thank you in advance for participating,


Hi All,
You have to have good nerves and be flexible to drive in Sri Lanka, but I love it. You have to guess what the driver in front of you is going to do. The intermittent light (blinker) shows to the right, but he turns to the left.. When you come to a junction the emergency lighting (hazard) is on to show that he/she goes straight ahead. You have to be on alert all time because the break lights may not function in the car in front of you. Overtaking takes place from the left and the right side. In the seventies  hand signals were given. You had to watch the movement of the drivers hand if he turns to the left or to the right. Now you rarely can see that. If you are sure you can handle this give it a try, otherwise I would advise you to hire a car with an experienced driver and enjoy the beauty of this country.

Adding to that if you are thinking of driving in Sri Lanka, You need be on high alert.Specially about Tri shows & Bicycles.The do not obey the road rule & always tend to do very sudden movements when you least expect it!!

clarita.h :

....The intermittent light (blinker) shows to the right, but he turns to the left...

Isn't this one of the strategies the locals use when being chased by an elephant?..There you go. There is no elephant in this room (forum) anymore.

haha but the hand signals are still there

clarita.h :

haha but the hand signals are still there

While driving or when talking.  :lol:

if an italian is driving definitely both  :)

Just imagine, if italians didn't use hand gestures, you couldn't get a word in edgeways.

The thing that bugged me most when driving in Sri Lanka was, oncoming vehicles (mostly buses, but others are also guilty) using the main beam lights. Very tough to see the road for us.

I have gone for races in Radella, Mahagastota, Katukurunda and 3 Ralleys.
My policy is to be by latest 18.30 where ever my destination is. I drive after that only short distances to go out for dinner etc... to avoid the oncoming head lights....

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