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Car Rental in Sri Lanka

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Car Rental in Sri Lanka

If you’re planning to explore the beautiful island of Sri Lanka, renting a car can be a convenient and flexible way to get around. However, before you hit the road, it’s important to understand the local driving laws and requirements to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience.

Local Driving Laws and Requirements

In Sri Lanka, driving is on the left-hand side of the road, and the legal driving age is 18 years old. To rent a car, you must have a valid driver’s license from your home country as well as an International Driving Permit (IDP). It’s also mandatory to have third-party insurance when driving in Sri Lanka.

Choosing the Right Rental Car

When renting a car in Sri Lanka, it’s important to consider the type of vehicle that suits your needs and preferences. Whether you’re looking for a compact car for city driving or a sturdy SUV for off-road adventures, there are plenty of options available from various rental companies.

Booking a Rental Car

To book a rental car in Sri Lanka, you can either make a reservation online or visit a local rental agency. It’s advisable to book in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons, to ensure availability and secure the best rates. Be sure to compare prices and read the terms and conditions carefully before making a reservation.

Driving in Sri Lanka

While driving in Sri Lanka can be a rewarding experience, it’s important to be aware of the local road conditions and traffic rules. Keep in mind that road signage and driving etiquette may differ from what you’re used to, so it’s essential to drive cautiously and stay alert at all times.

In conclusion, renting a car in Sri Lanka can enhance your travel experience, providing you with the freedom to explore the island at your own pace. By understanding the local driving laws and requirements, choosing the right rental car, and driving responsibly, you can make the most of your journey in this stunning destination.

Rental Requirements

Age Limits

To rent a car in Sri Lanka, the minimum age requirement is usually 21 years old, and the maximum age can vary between 65 to 75 years old depending on the car rental company.

Driving License Requirements

A valid local driving license is required to rent a car in Sri Lanka. If you are a foreign visitor, you can also use an International Driving Permit (IDP) along with your original license. Some car rental companies may also require you to have held your license for a minimum duration, such as one year.


In addition to your driving license, you will need to provide a valid passport for identification and a credit card for the rental deposit. Some companies may have additional documentation requirements, so it’s best to check with your chosen rental company beforehand.

Insurance Information

When renting a car in Sri Lanka, it’s important to understand the insurance options available to ensure a safe and stress-free driving experience.

Basic Insurance

The basic insurance typically included when renting a car in Sri Lanka consists of Collision Damage Waiver and Theft Protection. Collision Damage Waiver covers the cost of repairs in the event of an accident, while Theft Protection provides coverage in case the car is stolen.

Additional Insurance

In addition to basic insurance, renters have the option to purchase additional coverage such as Personal Accident Insurance and Supplemental Liability Insurance. Personal Accident Insurance provides financial protection in the event of injury or death, while Supplemental Liability Insurance offers coverage for third-party damages.

Insurance Tips

For travelers renting a car in Sri Lanka, it’s recommended to check existing travel insurance policies to see if they already provide coverage for rental cars. This can help avoid purchasing duplicate coverage and save on overall costs. Additionally, it’s important to review the terms and conditions of the insurance policies to fully understand the coverage and any exclusions.

Local Driving Laws and Regulations in Sri Lanka

General Traffic Rules

Driving Side: Driving is on the left side of the road in Sri Lanka.
Speed Limits: The speed limits are typically 56 km/h in urban areas, 72 km/h on rural roads, and 100 km/h on highways.
Other Useful Info: Be aware of narrow and winding roads, as well as heavy traffic in urban areas.

Overtaking and Lane Usage

Overtaking Rules: Overtaking should be done on the right side when driving in Sri Lanka.
Lane Discipline: It is important to keep left except to overtake on multi-lane roads.
Other Useful Info: Watch out for erratic driving and use caution when overtaking.

Seat Belt and Child Safety

Seat Belt Laws: Wearing seat belts is mandatory for both front and rear passengers.
Child Safety: Children under the age of 12 should use appropriate child seats or restraints.
Other Useful Info: Ensure that children are properly secured before starting your journey.

Use of Mobile Phones

Mobile Phone Restrictions: The use of mobile phones while driving is prohibited in Sri Lanka.
Other Useful Info: Pull over to a safe location if you need to use your mobile phone.

Alcohol and Driving

Legal Blood Alcohol Limits: The legal blood alcohol limit is 0.08% for drivers in Sri Lanka.
Zero Tolerance Policies: There are no specific zero tolerance policies for certain drivers.
Other Useful Info: It is best to avoid alcohol completely when driving.

Tolls and Charges

Toll Roads: There are toll roads in Sri Lanka, and payment is usually in the form of cash.
Congestion Charges: There are no urban congestion charges in Sri Lanka.
Other Useful Info: Be prepared with small denominations of cash for toll payments.

Roundabouts and Intersections

Navigating Roundabouts: Roundabouts are common, and traffic within the roundabout has the right of way.
Intersection Rules: Right of way is usually given to the vehicle on the main road at intersections.
Other Useful Info: Be cautious and patient when navigating roundabouts and intersections.

Headlight and Windshield Wiper Laws

Headlight Usage: Headlights should be used at night and during adverse weather conditions.
Windshield Wiper Rule: There is no specific requirement to turn on headlights when using wipers.
Other Useful Info: Keep headlights and wipers in good working condition for safety.

Emergency Vehicles

Right of Way for Emergency Vehicles: Pull over to the side of the road to allow emergency vehicles to pass.
Other Useful Info: Stay alert for sirens and flashing lights of emergency vehicles.

Driving Tips for Sri Lanka

Road Conditions

Sri Lanka has a mix of road conditions, ranging from well-maintained highways to narrow and winding rural roads. It’s important to be cautious and aware of your surroundings, especially when driving in more rural areas.

Urban vs. Rural Driving

In urban areas like Colombo, the capital city, you can expect heavy traffic and a faster-paced driving style. In rural areas, roads can be less developed and more challenging to navigate. It’s essential to adjust your driving style accordingly and be prepared for varying road quality.

Navigational Tips

Using a GPS in Sri Lanka can be very helpful, especially when navigating through the country’s many winding roads and diverse terrain. However, it’s also a good idea to have a physical map as a backup, as GPS signals can be unreliable in some areas.

Other Useful Tips

– It’s important to have a valid international driver’s license when driving in Sri Lanka.
– Keep an eye out for wildlife, particularly in rural areas, as animals may wander onto the roads.
– Be mindful of speed limits and local driving laws to ensure a safe and enjoyable driving experience.

Roadside Assistance and Emergency Procedures

Breakdown Procedures

If you experience a breakdown while driving in Sri Lanka, the first step is to safely pull over to the side of the road. Turn on your hazard lights to alert other drivers. Then, contact the roadside assistance provided by your rental company. They will guide you through the next steps and arrange for any necessary repairs.

Emergency Services

In case of an emergency, dial 119 for police assistance and 110 for an ambulance. Make sure to have these numbers saved in your phone or written down in case of an emergency. Additionally, your rental company should provide you with a contact number for roadside assistance in case of a breakdown.

Rental Company Policies

Most rental companies in Sri Lanka offer 24/7 roadside assistance for their customers. This means that help is just a phone call away, no matter the time of day. Some rental companies also provide towing services in case your vehicle needs to be transported to a repair facility. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the specific policies of your rental company before starting your journey.

Where can you Rent a Car in Sri Lanka?

You can browse all the city locations below, sorted alphabetically. Use Ctrl+F (or Cmd+F on a Mac) to quickly find the one you want to explore.