Your Expat Guide to Driving in Zambia

Zambia drives on the left side of the road, and the driver sits on the right side of the vehicle.

If you do not have a Zambian driving licence, you may be allowed to use your licence from your home country, but only for three months. After three months, drivers must either obtain a Zambian driving licence or an International Driving Permit from their home country.

Common offences

It is an offence to drive after drinking, and there are frequent drink-driving checkpoints at night.

It is also an offence to use a mobile phone while driving.

For more information on the do’s and don’ts of driving in Zambia, contact the Road Transportation Safety Agency (RTSA) in order to obtain a copy of the Highway Code:

Road Safety Building, Dedan Kimathi Rd, NIPA, Lusaka
+260 211 228 798
[email protected]

Regulations & Fines

The full text of the Roads and Road Traffic Act is available online from

A summarized list of traffic fines is also available.


Within Zambian cities and on major roads between areas, police frequently establish checkpoints, where they will check for things like road tax certificates, fitness test certificates, proof of insurance, and driving licenses. They will occasionally check for immigration papers, and may check for required items, such as road triangles.

Some of the police checkpoints are fixed structures and are manned every day, while others checkpoints are impromptu and only appear at irregular intervals.

When approaching a check point, slow down, turn on your hazard lights, roll down your windows, and turn down any loud music.

The police officer will sometimes wave you through the checkpoint without checking for anything, or they might ask you to stop. If you do get stopped at a checkpoint, you should not encounter any problems as long as you are polite and all your documents are in order.

Photo credit: SqueakyMarmot / CC BY

2 thoughts on “Your Expat Guide to Driving in Zambia

  1. Yesterday I went again (3rd time) to renew temporary driving licence. Mine expired in August 2015. This time they did not stamp it with a new date saying they are not doing so any more but mine is valid for a further 60 days ( though on paper it expires on Feb 20). Is anyone aware of this new procedure. Is the licence really valid and will the roadside police be aware?
    Thank you for any light on this.

  2. Hi Mike –
    The ‘temporary’ part of the temporary drivers licenses is no longer valid and they no longer stamp it for extention. Meaning: if you are on a temporary driver’s license, it is now valid until the new permit system is up and running. You can call RTSA if the police at roadblocks or anything give you trouble on 983 or 228798