Driving in Reunion

When you are planning to spend your holiday in Reunion, it makes sense to wonder about your driving licence and the different traffic rules in the country.

As Reunion is a French overseas department, it is the French law that prevails. According to law R222-1 from the French Highway Code, you can drive in Reunion with a European Union (EU) or European Economic Area (EEA) driving licence. Most Europeans may therefore use their domestic licence during their visit. In fact, it is possible to use a foreign licence for up to a whole year.

The law of January the 12th 2012 indicates that people who have no such licence can use their domestic licence if it is written in French or accompanied by an official translation. Otherwise, you have to obtain an International driving permit to drive in Reunion. You should also be aware than some rental car companies in Reunion only accept international driving permits. However, at Maki Car Rental, we also accept translations of your domestic licences.

Reunion has 395 km of national roads, including 143 km of 2x2 lanes roads. There is also 750 km of departmental roads and 2300 km of communal roads. All the roads are free as there is no toll in the island. It is easy to drive in Reunion, although the roads can be blocked by lava flow from Piton de la Fournaise, as it often happens on the national road 2.

Besides the French traffic rules, our insurance policy requires a minimum age of 21 and that your licence has been first issued at least one year ago.

Here is some extra information you might need when driving in Reunion:

  • Cars drive on the right hand side exactly like in France
  • It is strictly forbidden to use items such as ear phones or headsets.
  • The permitted blood alcohol level is 0.2 g/l for probationary permits, that is to say until 3 years after your licence has been issued and 0.5 g/l for other drivers. Nonetheless, our insurance policy requires you to be 100 % sober.
  • All passengers are mandatory to wear seat belts.
  • The speed limit is indicated by road signs. However, you must stay cautious at all time because roads are mountainous and have some tight turns, which makes it potentially dangerous to go too fast. It is also recommended to let the locals pass you.
  • Pedestrians are particularly vulnerable in Reunion. Always check look out for them on the side of the road and let them cross when needed.

If you are found infringing the above traffic rules it could lead to penalties and fines. This being said, driving a car in Reunion will make your visit much enjoyable and you will be able to access all interesting parts of the islands quickly.