Fiji Road Safety: Expert Tips for Safe Journeys

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Common Road Hazards in Fiji

Fiji Road Safety: Prepare for safe journeys in Fiji with expert tips and must-know information before hitting the road, including advice on driving safely, understanding Fiji road signs, speed limits, and navigating common road hazards effectively

10 Important ‘MUST KNOWS’ before driving in Fiji

  1. The speed limit in residential areas is 50 km/h, while in urban areas, the speed limit is 80 km/h
  2. The maximum alcohol blood content must be only up to 80 mg.
  3. Using a phone while driving is prohibited unless you are using a hands-free device
  4. Eating and drinking while driving is illegal
  5. Driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs is forbidden
  6. The front driver and passenger are required to wear seatbelts
  7. Seatbelts are mandatory when driving a rental car
  8. There are no toll roads in Fiji
  9. When parking in an urban area, purchase a ticket where necessary and display on the front windscreen for parking meter wardens.
  10. Drivers need to carry a valid driver’s license, registration, and insurance documents all the time

5 Common Road Hazards and How to React to Them

Navigating the Fijian roads comes with its own set of challenges, and being prepared for unexpected hazards is crucial for a safe journey. In this following section, we’ll explore five common road hazards and provide insights on how to react effectively, ensuring you stay confident and secure behind the wheel. Whether you’re a seasoned driver or hitting the road for the first time, understanding how to respond to these situations can make a significant difference in your overall driving experience. Let’s dive into essential tips that empower you to handle road hazards with ease and caution.

Overtaking

Designated overtaking areas along the main highways around Fiji have been added to the road network allowing you to pass safely; larger trucks, coaches, minibusses, and sugar cane trucks to name a few; all use this main road artery between Lautoka and Suva.  Only pass at these locations (signposted), as there are many blind corners, add this to the worldwide phenomena of erratic drivers, heeding this advice makes your journey more pleasurable. We recommend adding a few extra minutes to your journey plan, at the start of your adventure, this mentally slows down the pace of every action thenceforward

Road Humps (oh the glorious sleeping policeman)

these are everywhere especially as you enter built-up areas,  approaching villages, schools, or public recreational areas as you do at home, slow down in plenty of time to avoid any damage to the undercarriage of the rental vehicle.  In the Nadi area, these are found prior to entering Nadi town from the airport and in Viseisei Village, between Nadi and Lautoka.

Unsealed Roads

Traveling further away from the main roads you will come to encounter many unseal roads, slow down and drive carefully to avoid damage to your vehicle.  Note that some firms do not allow their cars to be driven on unpaved roads, thus taking your vehicle to a place such as the Nausori Highlands is off-limits. Likewise, you should determine if the agency permits taking the vehicles on roll-on, roll-off ferries to Vanua Levu, Taveuni, or Ovalau if that’s on your agenda. Taking a car on to Vanua Levu or Taveuni is best done with a 4WD vehicle, particularly if you’re planning to get off the beaten track.

Pedestrians & Livestock Hazards

You will encounter horses, cattle, goats to name a few, all along the road networks, enjoying the beauty of Fiji, so just be aware and keep your wits about you, and act accordingly, if they momentarily cause you to slow down or stop, start your hazard lights to make other people aware of the situation.  Motorists should also be aware of villagers who sometimes walk dangerously close to passing vehicles or sit in groups at the edges of roads that pass through communities.

Brief Fijian Torrential Downpour

The Fijian weather can change very quickly, from a beautiful sunny day to clouding over in a few minutes followed by a torrential downpour. This normally lasts for only a few minutes, it disappears as fast as it came.  Our suggestion is simple; to pull over the vehicle and take a break, and when you return on your journey just be aware of the new conditions, drive slower, and keep a greater distance between the vehicle in front.

Advice on Driving Safely on Fijian Roads


Fiji Highway Night time Roads
Fiji Highway Night time Roads | Image: Supplied

Fiji drives on the left-hand side of the Road

The reason for this dates back to the British Crown,  Left-hand traffic became the law of the land in Britain in 1773 and 1835 and later exported their driving styles to their respective colonies, which is why many former British territories such as Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, India, and Fiji still drive on the left.  If you are unfamiliar with driving on the left side of the road, spend the first few hours taking it slowly, with several refreshments breaks, customize yourself with the local environment, and only travel during good weather.  The Fijian roads were completely refurbished over the last few years to connect the two sides of the islands economically, so you should be a pro in no time at all.

Night Driving in Fiji

If you traveling at night or early evening as the sun goes down, try to keep it to a short journey on familiar roads, especially on the weekends, as a lot of people will be out and about starting to enjoy their weekend.

Fiji Road Signs and Speed Limits

FJ Experience 1 : Using the phone when driving is illegal – Over the last few years, the Fijian Government and the governing body, the Land and Transport Association (LTA), started increasing the number of Traffic patrol officers on the roads, with the primary intention to stop people from speeding and using their mobile phones whilst driving.

At the start of the campaign, the police patrols were easily noticed by motorists a long distance away, so they simply slowed down during that specific stretch of the road, and when they passed the temporary patrol post sped up again, duly warning the oncoming traffic the other side of the road with a few flashes of their headlamps symbolizing to slow down and keep your eyes open over the next few miles.

This continued for several months until the police raised their game and became more stealth, literally hiding along the side roads, the undergrowth was used as camouflage, with a small traffic gun pointing out from the scrubs catching the unaware motorist, and then radioing to a patrol car further down the road to stop a specific car and to book them for the offense, they even charged cars warning other motorists of their new hideouts with a fixed financial penalty.

After all these games played out, with a lot of Fijian people out of pocket, we started to slow down and started to become more responsible, especially around built-up areas and schools

So if your phone rings, simply pull over to the next safe place and then phone them back. Less than 25 years ago, people had to go to a phone box on the side of the road to check into the office or family (these can still be seen across the main towns of Fiji in different states of disrepair), you are on Fiji time now, and your safety is most important.

Infographic: Fiji Road Signs | Fiji Road Safety


Infographic: Fiji Road Signs | Fiji Road Safety
Infographic: Fiji Road Signs | Fiji Road Safety