June 16, 2024

Rationality in Road Safety: Ethiopia

Driving across Ethiopia may seem both rewarding as well as overwhelming at times. Exclaimed as “China’s ‘Robust partner’ in Africa” by several leading news agencies, this country will put you in a completely different dimension of life away from your normal reality.

The country involves multiple spectrums of history and culture, and will surely bring something unexpected at each step. 

I took a roundtrip across Ethiopia for about 25 days, although I would easily suggest to spend at least 5-6 weeks to adequately enjoy the glory of Ethiopian culture. Ethiopia follows a completely different time and date spectrum where time is followed in accordance to sunrise and dates are roughly seven years behind the Georgian calendar!

Safety while travelling through Roads

The chief concerns of most people while travelling in a foreign country refers to the safety feature. This goes with the presumption that the motorists and drivers on the roads follow the basic safety and security measures determined by the Ethiopian Government.

Traffic Rules and Regulations

I realised that most of the problems on the roads in Ethiopia were faced by international drivers. Following are the basic rules and regulations concerning traffic in Ethiopia which should naturally be followed by local as well as international motorists:-

  • The legal driving age in the country is 18 similar to most countries around the world.
  • Towns and villages follow a speed limit of 30 miles/ hour and 60 miles/ hour every where else.
  • The country follows prohibitions of phone usage while driving.
  • There are stringent rules in place for the usage of seatbelts.
  • The country follows right-hand side driving. This is different from many countries and probably one of the most important rules.
  • Bikers and motorcyclists are required by law to wear a helmet at all times while riding.

Sounds pretty simple. Right? However, the country has an unacceptable number of road traffic cases of deaths and accidents rounding up to almost 25 people per every 100,000 people being killed in road crashes each year!

Now, although this country involves a very extensive and detailed legislation structure relating to road safety, the enforcement towards it is extremely low and many features mandated by law are not commonly adhered to.

Also check: Speed limiter in UAE

Tips while Driving on Ethiopian Roads

I remember observing children on the roads pointing straight at me and calling “money!, you, you, money!”many times while driving throughout the country. Naturally, It is prudent to take some measures for social behaviour when travelling to a different country, in addition to which, the following are some of the basic tips you can follow while travelling through roads.

  • Follow the streets and highways carefully, there are various unmarked speed bumps all around.
  • Look out for people, particularly children, while driving through towns and village roads.
  • Many accidents are caused by livestock moving through the highways, so try to be more careful and observant.
  • You will find several trucks parked on the side of the road and there is not much availability of road lights. Therefore, try to avoid driving at night.

Projects initiated for Increased Road Safety

  • Introduction of 31 new intersections with road signals and lights and 10 roundabouts converted into intersections over the last year.
  • $20.8 M project towards Intelligent Transport System Master Plan.


Travelling to Ethiopia is a marvellous experience and extremely rare in the current rapidly developing world. Following a few important details regarding rationality in road safety can make your trip to Ethiopia an amazing experience with fond memories!

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