If you’re looking to explore Jordan on your own, driving is the best way to do it! In this blog post, we’ll provide everything you need to know about driving in Jordan, from renting a car to the road conditions you can expect and all the do’s and don’ts. We’ll also cover some of the laws and rules you need to be aware of when driving in Jordan.
We went on a road trip of Jordan with our twins, almost 6 years old, and renting a car was the most practical solution for us. Mark is an experienced driver, he happily challenges the Roman driver, he didn’t fear the roads of Peru and many other countries we visited, but you may be surprised to hear that driving in Jordan was less stressful than driving in many other places.
So whether you’re a first-time driver or an experienced pro, read on for all the info you need before hitting the road in Jordan!
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Driving in Jordan: the Basics
- The minimum driving age is 18
- The speed limit on highways is 120 km/h, 80km/h on rural areas, and 60 km/h in urban areas.
- Only front seat passengers are required by law to wear a seatbelt.
- There aren’t any child-seat requirements by law, but we strongly advise you to use one if you’re driving with small children. We always use Mifold, a foldable booster seat, it is so small and light that I can keep it in my handbag!
- The driving side is on the right.
- The use of handheld phones while driving is banned, and you can be fined if caught. If you don’t like to wear earphones while driving then consider bringing with you a hands-free speaker. We used them in the past and they were super functional.
- It is also illegal to drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The legal blood alcohol limit is 0.03%.
- Number to call in case of emergency 911
What documents do you need to rent a car in Jordan
Renting a car in Jordan is even simpler than in some other countries as you are not required to bring an international driving permit. Here is what you need to have with you:
- Driver’s license
- A credit card in the name of the driver
- The minimum age requirement to rent a car is 21, but some rental companies will charge an extra fee for those under 25.
- While driving in Jordan with a rented car you must always carry your driving license and the rental agreement.
Is driving in Jordan safe?
The simple answer is yes – it is safe to drive in Jordan. The roads are generally well-maintained and driving infrastructure has improved in recent years. Road signs are in both Arabic and English, but you will need your phone map or SatNav to really get around since most locals do not speak English, which may make getting directions tricky.
Jordanian drivers do not always obey traffic laws so use caution, and drive more defensively than you might at home.
Lane driving is not always respected, so keep an eye out for oncoming traffic in your lane.
Driving in Jordan does also come with some other challenges that you should be aware of before getting behind the wheel, let’s take a look.
Driving in Jordan: on the road tips
In Jordan, roads are generally in good condition but can be more challenging in rural areas and during Winter weather. We didn’t find any major disruption during our Jordan road trip using the main roads.
Potholes and speed bumps
Potholes are unfortunately commonplace in Jordan. Take it easy when driving and be extra vigilant so you don’t damage your car.
Speed bumps are probably the most annoying thing you will encounter while driving in Jordan. Most of the time there are road signs that warn you, but it is easy to miss them, especially when driving at night.
Outside of Amman one of the best things about driving in Jordan is the lack of traffic. We were often the only car on the road!
In the city, it is a different story. Amman is notorious for its traffic jams.
We drove only a small section of Amman to get out of the city and onto the highway, and just that was enough to give us a taste of the traffic!
However, once we were out of the city, driving in Jordan was a breeze. The roads were empty and the scenery was beautiful.
There are plenty of gas stations in Jordan. We never had any trouble finding one when we needed it. The prices were also very reasonable.
The use of indicators
In Jordan, drivers generally don’t use their turn signals when they’re making a turn.
This may come as a surprise to some, but it’s simply not common practice in the country.
So, if you’re ever driving in Jordan, be prepared to go with the flow and not expect other drivers to use their indicators!
Police checkpoints on the side of the road, or when crossing between areas are a common sight throughout Jordan. Don’t be afraid – they’re just doing their job!
Most of the time, the police don’t even ask tourists for their IDs or anything else. They may just glance at your car and let you go on your way, but it’s always best to be prepared for anything, so here are a few tips:
- Keep your driving license, passport, and rental agreement with you.
- Be polite and respectful to the police officers. They are just doing their job, after all!
We were stopped three times: twice they quickly waved us through when they recognized us as tourists with children, and once they wanted to know what our nationality was. I believe it was out of curiosity rather than anything else, but the officers were polite and courteous.
Wildlife and people crossing the road
One of the things we loved about driving in Jordan was the lack of traffic, but that also means there are more opportunities for animals and people to cross the road.
So, keep your eyes peeled for any creatures that might be in your path – camels, donkeys, sheep, anything really!
While animals crossing is something Western drivers are usually more prepared for, people crossing the highway is a more unusual sight.
But it does happen, especially in more rural areas where there are no pedestrian bridges or tunnels.
So, again, just be aware and keep your eyes open, especially where you see clusters of buildings ahead by the highway, people will start to cross the road without waiting for you to slow down.
Road signs in Jordan are generally pretty good, and are usually both in Arabic and English.
However, we did find that some signs were outdated or in disrepair and, as with any country, there are always going to be a few confusing or ambiguous signs.
We mainly relied on our phone maps to get around, but to reach the main destination they are quite accurate.
Parking in Jordan is pretty easy, especially if you’re driving a smaller car. There are plenty of parking spots and most of them are free!
Of course, as with any country, there are always going to be a few places where it’s more difficult to find parking, but overall we had no trouble finding a spot for our car. Just avoid blocking entrances, and gates etc and you will be fine.
Driving in the Desert
If you want to drive in some of the desert areas make sure you rent a 4x wheel drive car. To be honest, this not something to be recommend unless you are experienced driving on sand, know how to set up a car for the desert, and are also able to orientate yourself while in those vast spaces.
In Wadi Rum, you will find many really affordable tours that should be more convenient to join.
Driving at night
We only drove at night twice during our time in Jordan and it was OK but is best avoided. We drove for just an hour or so after sunset, the roads were empty and we had no trouble getting to our destination.
However, the main issue is the lack of street lights making it more difficult to see people, animals, and speedbumps, and the significant proportion of other vehicles, usually trucks, with dim or no lights. This was especially stressful on the highway, so definitely try to avoid highway driving after dark.
There are a few different ways to navigate your way around Jordan.
The first, and probably the easiest, is to use your phone. We used Google Maps and it worked well for the most part.
There were a few times when we lost service or the GPS signal was weak, however, when the itinerary is loaded on your phone you can keep following the directions.
To be honest it happened to us only on some stretches of the Jordan Valley highway (Dead Sea highway) and around Madaba.
We found the timing estimated by Google was quite accurate.
Another option is to buy a physical map of Jordan. We didn’t do this, but it might be helpful if you’re driving in more rural areas where there is weak or no phone service.
HOT TIP: If your phone provider charges too much for data usage in Jordan, you can buy a local sim card with a data plan. We used Orange and it was great! You can buy it directly at the airport as soon as you arrive. The sim card providers seem to be open 24/7.
If you don’t want to change the sim card in your phone, you can use an old phone and then hot spot other devices from it, or we have a simple portable wifi router that does an amazing job and we used it in several countries without any issue.
Do you like road trips? We find them a really easy and practical way to explore many countries. You can read about driving in Peru Sacred Valley, driving across Montenegro, Crete, or the stunning Douro Valley in Portugal. If you are considering driving in Italy, you can laugh a little about what to expect if you are planning to compete with Italian drivers
Renting a Car in Jordan
Where to rent and what to watch out for
Renting a car in Jordan is not much different than renting in other countries, but you are more limited in the places where you can pick it up. Your options will be Amman or Aqaba. Sometimes during peak season, you may be able to pick it up at one of the offices near major attractions like Petra or the Dead Sea, but during our trip, these options were not available.
- Car conditions are not top like in some other countries, so check your car before driving off. The important is that all scratches and dents are noted on the contract and you are good to go.
- Check also the fuel level and check it is correctly noted in the contract, you will need to return the car with the same level, otherwise, you will be charged for the missing fuel.
…then when things go wrong
Something to be aware of is that in Jordan customer service is not always the best; this was certainly true when we rented our car.
Unfortunately, I didn’t follow my own advice and rented a car not from the usual website we use because I was blinded by the extremely low price I found on another one. As is often the case it was too good to be true.
I booked a car with 7 seats as this time there was a friend traveling with us and we were 6 in total. The booking was made with Dollar car rental but through a third-party website.
When we arrived at the desk they told us that there was a mistake and the model we booked wasn’t a 7-seat car, even if my confirmation clearly stated I booked a 7-seat car. Unfortunately we had to force a prolonged dialogue with the desk team to finally understand that there was an error in the 3rd party’s website, the booking codes were wrong and there was not a 7 seater for us. If only they could have started with this explanation instead of us having to drag it out of them!
We had to wait until the next day to contact the terrible customer service of the third-party company (they are also only open on normal working hours) to find us another car and provisionally pay the extra cost, that I now try to recover…
Which car rental company in Jordan is the best?
We rent a car really often and problems, unfortunately, are quite common with any brand.
Once we arrived at the office in Venice and they were actually closed for the Winter, once in other places they tried to charge us an out-of-hours fee, and once the one-way fee even if they were already included. Another time in Naples the office closed early and we were left without a car during the pandemic with the curfew hours approaching…
However every time I used CarRentalNET as a third-party company to book the car they have been really responsive in finding us a solution or speaking directly with the car rental company to clarify the situation. This time I decided to save money and I’m now paying the consequences!!!!
I don’t think I will make the same mistake again! Next time I will stick with CarRentalNET!
So there you have it, everything you need to know about driving in Jordan. If you’re looking for a successful road trip, make sure to keep these things in mind. If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to reach out to us! We hope you enjoy your time exploring this beautiful country behind the wheel.
Do you have any driving tips or experiences in Jordan? Share them in the comments below!
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