Driving in Georgia presents few challenges, even if your fellow motorists are likely to drive a little wilder than what you are used to at home. For general tips, see Driving the Silk Road. Here we discuss Georgian roads and road rules, insurance, customs clearance, car rental and repair.
Police and road rules
Police is kind to foreigners; talking your way out of paying a fine tends to be easy.
Speed limits are:
- 60 km/h inside villages and cities
- 90 km/h on the open road
- 110 km/h on highways
You do not need an international driver’s permit.
How busy are the roads?
Driving in Tbilisi takes some getting used to if you come from a quiet place, but once you get outside of Tbilisi the chance of encountering heavy traffic is pretty limited.
The one exception is the Georgian Military Highway to Kazbegi, where lorries to and from Russia are plentiful. Trucks are only allowed in one direction at a time. This means you are either stuck behind a cue of huge trucks, or you may be squeezing around hairpin bends with the trucks pushing you to the very edge of the road.
If you are going against the direction of the trucks then you should be mindful of cars overtaking the trucks one by one.
Car insurance in Georgia is now required by law. You can purchase it right after crossing the border from Azerbaijan. Not sure about other borders yet – if you cannot buy it at the border, expect to spend some time and money. The price hovers around 50 lari for 1 month. Have a good look at how much cover you get, it might not be more than a few thousand dollars.
Aldagi is an option.
Georgia’s main roads are in a good condition. Once off the main road, things get bumpy. Watch out for the following:
Stepantsminda – Telavi: The turn off at Chinti will take you on a windy dirt track for about 30-40km. Without a 4×4, it’s better to go around via Mtskheta.
Sagarejo – Davit Gareja – Rustavi: Possible with a sedan but be careful. Steep slopes, deep potholes and the possibility of mud.
Akhaltsike – Kutaisi: The road through the Borjomi National Park is a dirt track. Sedans are advised to take the detour via Khashuri.
Mestia – Kutaisi (via Ushguli and Lentekhi): OK up to Ushguli, but then the road gets very tricky. Not recommended without a jeep.
Tbilisi has a lot of one-way streets. Your satnav may get this wrong; pay extra attention to road signs before heading down a very narrow street around Tbilisi’s old town.
Also pay attention to the turnings that can be made in particular lanes. You may be in the left hand lane thinking you can go straight or left. However from one set of traffic lights to another this can change to a left hand turn only lane.
Check where the car passport is before you leave. The car passport is a credit card sized ID that proves your vehicle is legally registered. You cannot cross the border without it, and you should not be driving around Georgia without it. It is usually located under the sun visor on the drivers side.
Crossing borders with a rental car
Not all companies allow it. If you a crossing the Georgian border with a rental car you need an additional border crossing certificate, which will cost around 50$.
Car and motorbike repair
A black hole in our knowledge we still need to fill.
All questions and reports about driving in Georgia are welcome at our driving in Georgia forum thread.