Indonesian Road Rules and Regulations

An introduction to driving a car or motorbike in Indonesia, an overview of the main road rules and regulations, and details of the recommended safety items to carry in a vehicle...

  • Drive on the left-hand side of the road in Indonesia
  • A driver must always carry a valid SIM licence or international driving licence accompanied by the home country licence. Foreigners who live and drive in Indonesia should get a SIM licence
  • Foreigners should always carry their passport
  • The vehicle must be affixed with a sticker which displays the country's initials: for example, RI for the Republic of Indonesia
  • Drivers must always carry the vehicle's registration papers, or if it is a rented car, the rental papers
  • An owner's permission is required when using a vehicle belonging to a third party. For it to be legally binding, permission must be in writing.
  • Front seats must have seat belts. Most Indonesian cars do not have seat belts in the rear passenger seats.
  • Helmets which meet minimum legal standards are required for motorcycle drivers and passengers
  • Motorcycles are limited to one driver and one passenger
  • Third party or basic liability insurance is required for all vehicles
  • Drivers involved in personal injury accidents must wait for the police. A driver involved in an accident involving a pedestrian could be required to transport the injured person to a hospital if no ambulance is available
  • Drivers must signal before turning left
  • Drivers must not drive while using a mobile phone

Vehicles must have the following safety and maintenance equipment:

  • Safety belts for the driver and front seat passenger
  • Emergency/warning road triangle
  • Fluorescent safety jacket
  • First aid kit
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Spare tyre
  • Jack and tyre iron

It is recommended that drivers also carry a set of spare light bulbs and a tow rope in the vehicle.

Foreigners who choose to drive in Indonesia should be aware of the following factors:

  • Drivers who drive at high speeds and behave aggressively are common
  • Drivers of small vehicles and motorbikes should always yield to trucks and buses
  • Drivers often use the road shoulders as extra lanes for passing
  • Sounding the horn is considered a safety measure: it is used to get other drivers to move out of the way, it is also used to signal that vehicles are too close
  • Broken down vehicles on roads are common
  • Cars frequently do not have functioning lights or indicators
  • Roads are also used for parties and gatherings, for example, weddings and funerals. For this reason, drivers should pay attention when approaching small towns from a highway
  • Motorbikes are often the only transport that a family has and so it is not uncommon to see four people riding on one motorbike

Drink Driving

There is zero tolerance for driving under the influence of alcohol. The law states that it "compromises a driver's attention" and any amount of alcohol is considered too much.

Emergency Services

In the event of an emergency, contact the Police, Tel: 110 or for medical emergencies, Tel: 118/119.

In remote areas, traffic police and ambulances are scarce, thus making any injury suffered as a result of a traffic accident a potentially very serious problem. Accident victims are often transported to hospital by other people who were involved in the accident, or by another driver who was also on the road at the time.