Driving in Israel
Driving in Israel can be a challenging task for tourists, and can easily be compared to driving in Italy, especially around Rome. Israeli drivers have little if any patience and the driving culture can be referred to as wild. With all that said, renting a car is one of the easiest ways to travel Israel – distances are short, and compared to major European cities it is quite easy and cheap to find a parking spot for your car – especially if you are staying at a hotel.
In Israel as in the United States the steering wheel and driver seat are located at the left of the car, and driving is done at the right side of the road. In order to rent a car in Israel you must have a valid driver’s license issued by your country, and that will do for police inspection if needed – there is no need for any special international driver’s license.
Traffic lights are abundant inside the main cities, and are scarcely found on highways. Unless specific signs exist, traffic lights apply for everyone coming from the same direction – including those who wish to make a right turn (that is, unless there is an additional separate light for right turns).
Most of the traffic signs in Israel are tri-lingual (Hebrew, English and Arab), but do keep in mind that some of the signs are poorly translated, especially signs referring to the Israeli train which is usually referred to as “Rakevet”.
The only toll road in Israel is highway number 6, and the toll is collected automatically according to your vehicle number. When renting a car, you will have to sign a contract saying that you will not use highway no. 6, otherwise you will be charged for it after the deal is over.
Special Traffic Signs in Israel
Most of the signs are the same as they are in the rest of the world, with the following general rules:
Triangular signs – are warning signs and are very self explanatory.
Circular signs – are instructional signs
Square signs - are informative, and sometimes (on green signs) include the distance to the spot in kilometers
Yellow marks on the road itself – if are located at the right edge, that is the road shoulders border. In case you see yellow arrows at the center of the road, that means this is a public transportation lane which regular cars shouldn’t use.
Red and white stripes on the sidewalk edge = no parking
Blue and white stripes on the sidewalk edge = parking is allowed only with a parking ticket
Red and yellow stripes on the sidewalk edge = public transportation are, no stopping or parking allowed