If you are planning on a trip to Malta and you want to rent a car, you probably want to be prepared as good as you can before you go. In this article I will give you some insights in the Malta traffic and prepare you as good as i can!
Although regarded as friendly and courteous, Maltese folks may not be the best drivers. They aren’t quite known for diligently following the rules. If it is your first time driving on the left side of the road, it’s better to have a competent driver on the passenger seat acting as your copilot, so you can drive more relax. All the topics below can prepare you a little bit more before driving left in Malta:
- Steering wheel, pedals and switching gears
- Traffic jams
- Speed limit & Police
- Parking in Malta
- Renting a car
- Do you really need a car in Malta?
Steering wheel, pedals and switching gears
Although the driving experience might be a little doozy, one of the reasons why it is is because of the switched cars. The driver’s seat and the steering wheel are located on the right.
And with that, it follows that you will be using your left hand when switching gears. If driving on the left side is not your forte, you might need to hire a driver when you visit Malta.
As for the pedals, there is nothing to worry about. The accelerator or the gas pedal is still on the right side. The foot brake is in the middle, and the clutch is on the left.
In summary, here’s everything you need to know about the locations of your left-hand car gears:
- Steering wheel – right
- Switching gears – use with the left hand
- Gas – right
- Brake – middle
- Clutch – left
If you have been driving for quite some time, overtaking can be an easy thing to do. However, since you will be driving on the left side of the road, you may encounter a few troubles with that.
If driving on the right side of the car is what you are most comfortable with, driving in Malta might be foreign for you. What more when you try to overtake other cars on a left-hand traffic road.
First, of course, is to know which side should you overtake slower cars. In multiple lanes, the left side of the road is the slowest lane. So if you want to overtake a slower vehicle in front of you, take the right lane.
How to go about roundabouts
You may know the roundabout as “traffic circles,” especially if you are coming from the US. And even in right-hand traffic countries, these roundabouts can be quite tricky.
However, do not get too intimidated. Some roundabouts when driving on the left havethe same principles for right-hand driving. There are many roundabouts in Malta, and it would be really helpful to know about them.
When driving, always be mindful that you are not the only car on the road. Be considerate and always signal if you are taking a right turn.
But if you are driving straight ahead, drive past the first exit, or in other words, take a right turn on the roundabout before turning on your right turn signal.
Driving tips for first-time left-road drivers
Driving for the first time in the streets of Malta? Here are a few tips that can help you kick-off.
- Although regarded as friendly and courteous, Maltese folks may not be the best drivers. They aren’t quite known for diligently following the Highway Code. Something which can make your driving more challenging.
- There is no specific regulation or ordinance that says so, but larger vehicles, such as trucks, are believed to have the right of way.
- If it is your first time driving on the left side of the road, it’s better to have a competent driver on the passenger seat acting as your copilot.
If you compare it to small countries, Malta is even way smaller. However, traffic can sometimes get bad. Traffic congestion is at its peak during rush hours.
It can also be such a hassle especially if you are touring Valletta, the capital city, during peak seasons, as most of the tourists visit the city as well.
Speed limits, police & officials
Police & officials
When it comes to driving on major roads, always be mindful with officials who wear dark green uniforms. Those are Malta’s traffic enforcers.
Members of the police can also regulate and monitor the traffic in Malta, especially in terms of illegal parking, speed contraventions, and entering one-way streets.
As part of their protocol of ensuring that the roads are safe from reckless drivers, they are given authority to police individuals who use their mobile phones while driving.
And, those who are presumed driving under the influence. The breathalyzer, a device that estimates the alcohol content, can also be used against individuals.
So in the event that you are called to pull up the car on a roadblock, the police can do just that, especially during major events.
This may be a relatively unknown fact, but Malta does not have any real highways. The most typical type of roads you will encounter are dual carriageway where there are two lanes in opposite directions.
Be mindful also of the different speed limits in Malta. It may be different from the ones in your country, but it should be no trouble at all.
The speed limit for national extra-urban roads is 80 km/h, while built-up areas only allow up to 50 km/h. For village centres, the speed limit is 35 km/h.
You should observe the speed limits at all times to promote safety. Malta also has speed control cameras installed in some areas.
However, this is only exclusive to the main island. Gozo is yet to introduce speed control cameras in their island.
In summary, the speed limits to be observed in the following roads are as follows:
- National extra-urban roads – 80 km/h
- Built-up areas – 50 km/h
- Village centres – 35 km/h
Parking in Malta
Public car parks are not rare sights. There are many car parks available in Malta and Gozo to the public. You also do not need to pay for any parking fees.
However, car park attendants or those who regulate the parking may give preference to patrons who give gratuities.
An important thing to keep in mind when parking is to take note of the paint used in the parking bay. If the bay is painted white, it is an indication that anyone can park in the area.
If it is painted yellow, however, it means otherwise.
There are also other colour indications that you should take note of. There are also parking bays that are painted green.
Usually, these green-coloured parking lots can be seen in Valletta. It means that the space is reserved for the residents all day.
Aside from green, parking slots in Valletta can also be coloured blue. This means that the slot is reserved for residents of Valletta but only for a specific hour.
Only residents can park on blue-coloured slots from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. If it is outside the reserved timeslots, others can make use of the parking bay.
Renting a car in Malta
If you are confident with your driving skills and you feel well adjusted driving on the left side of the road, it is highly suggested that you rent for a car when you go on a vacation in Malta.
It’s more convenient and practical; and if you are not that keen on commuting and taking public transportation, having a personal car with you can reduce the stress and hassle.
Read more about car rental in Malta in this blog article.
Do you really need a car in Malta?
It depends where you are staying and what you want to visit. If you really want to be totally independent during your trip, I would recommend to hire a car. That being said, the bus network is pretty good (although reliability can be an issue).
Especially if you want to see places that are far off from public transportation. Tourists may find it hard to go to tourist areas without a car.
It sure is tricky when it is your first time driving on the other side of the road, or as others call it, “the wrong side of the road.” This is especially true if you have grown accustomed to driving on the right side of the road.
But if you are considering renting a car while on holiday in Malta, there are a couple of things you should take note of. If it is your first time, you may be a little overwhelmed.
Before starting, make sure you check the lights and the rearview and side mirrors if they are working properly. You also want to check on the rubber wissers for your windows.