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Renting a car in Jordan is the preferred choice of most Jordan travelers. Jordan has a wealth to offer in sightseeing and adventure spread over the country, which makes it the ideal destination for a self-organized round trip. Thanks to its good infrastructure, driving in Jordan is fun and safe.
#1 Driving in Jordan is Safe
Let’s start with the most important one. Safety is a huge factor when it comes to making a decision between self-driving or guided tours. Driving in Jordan is both self and fun! Jordan has a well developed infrastructure which connects all major cities and points of interest across the country. There are various highways, such as King’s Highway, that basically cross the country from north to south through the most amazing landscapes the country has to offer.
Highways are always well-marked and signs are generally Arabic and English. The only thing that you need to watch out for are speed bumps and potholes. Roads aren’t in the same condition as in the US or Europe and potholes are quite common, even on the highways. It is generally recommended that you drive over day and avoid driving in the dark.
#2 Jordanians Drive on the Right-Hand Side
You’re probably wondering on what side of the road Jordanians drive. In the UK and most former British colonies such as India, people drive on the left-hand side of the road. Before its independence, Jordan was under British mandate for various decades. Nevertheless, Jordanians drive on the right-hand side same as in Europe and the US.
#3 Street Names Won’t Help You
Are you used to street names and house numbers to find your way? Well, these won’t be of big help in Jordan. While street names were introduced a few years ago, most locals (and even taxi drivers) aren’t really familiar with them. Instead, landmarks such as Amman’s old “Circles”, important buildings or bridges are used to navigate through the city.
The best method to find your way through Jordan is by using Google Maps. Download the country map over WiFi before departing to use it offline when in Jordan. You can bookmark important places such as your hotel, your car rental company, sights and restaurants you’d like to visit. In the Welcome2Jordan travel guide, you’ll find a list of coordinates of all major places and sights across Jordan. Simply type them over to your GPS or Google Maps to find your way there.
#4 The Minimum Age for Driving is 18 (but you better be 21)
In order to drive in Jordan, you must be at least 18 years old. While some countries issue driving licences for people under legal age, they won’t allow you to legally drive in Jordan. Please keep in mind that most rental companies however have their own rules when it comes to age requirements. For most rental companies, the minimum age is 21 years old. An additional fee may apply for drivers under 25.
#5 Driving in Jordan with a Foreign Licence is allowed
Driving in Jordan in Jordan with a full driving licence of your country (US, Canada, UK, EU…) is allowed. Note that you’re only allowed to drive rental cars (green number plates) with a licence of your country. In order to drive regular Jordanian cars (black/white number plates) you’ll need a Jordanian driving licence. If your driving licence isn’t in Latin characters, you’ll need to have an international licence.
#6 Do not ever Drink and Drive in Jordan
Depending on your country of residence, you would probably assume that having a beer or two isn’t a big deal when driving. Well, it is in Jordan. Although alcohol is legal in Jordan, there is a strict zero alcohol-level-limit for drivers. The penalties can be tough, especially if you are found guilty of drunk driving when being involved in an accident. Same applies to all kinds of drugs (which are strictly forbidden in Jordan).
#7 Speed Limits aren’t Always Viable
The speed limits in Jordan are as follows:
- Cities: 60 km/h (corresponds to 37 mph)
- Rural areas: 80 km/h (corresponds to 50 mph)
- Highways: 120 km/h (corresponds to 75 mph)
So far the theory. In reality you’ll most likely drive far slower than the speed limits – at least in most places. Amman is very busy and traffic is generally chaotic. When it comes to rural areas and highways, there’s much less traffic than in urban areas and traffic jams are very rare. What makes driving in Jordan so special is the unique scenery. As you drive along the King’s Highway (the most beautiful highway in Jordan), you’ll follow winding roads through breathtaking valleys (and will most probably stop at least once to take a picture). Other highways in Jordan (e.g. when driving from Petra to Wadi Rum) are famous for their numerous potholes and speed bumps. Don’t put the pedal to the metal when driving in Jordan!
#8 Taking your Rental Car abroad is NOT allowed
Combining cities such as Jerusalem and Petra is popular, especially when you’re coming from far away and would like to see the highlights of the region. Despite the fact that there are several land border crossings to Jordan’s neighbor countries, taking your rental car abroad isn’t allowed. Please note that the same principle applies for rental cars from Israel, which aren’t allowed on Jordanian territory.
#9 Don’t Worry about Police Checks
No need to panic when being pulled over by the police! You’ll see police checkpoints along the road every now and then. You might be asked where you’re from and where you’re heading, and maybe to show your driving licence, passport and the vehicle papers.
#10 Rental Cars
Most visitors opt for one of the international, well-reputed rental companies, which is certainly the most reliable and less risky option. There are several international car rental companies in Jordan, such as Hertz, Avis or Sixt. Renting a car is the most convenient way if you’re planning a roundtrip across the country. Make sure to book your rental car in advance to find the best price and to ensure availability for your desired dates.