Whether you are coming to Cyprus on a holiday or driving here on business or coming to live permanently, you will be pleased to hear (if you are from the U.K.) that we drive on the right side of the road, I mean of course the left hand side.
The roads here have improved enormously over the last twenty years, but so of course have the number of cars using them. We have a nice new dual carriageway between the main towns which we call a motorway, somewhat reminiscent of the 'Auto route de Sud' in the South of France, the central reservation is planted with greenery as are the cut throughs of the hills. You may notice the occasional runway where the central safety barriers are removable. A brilliant use of resources for a change.
On the main roads the general speed limit is 100km but you will notice a steady stream of cars in the outside lane at just under 120km, (tailgating is a popular and dangerous sport!) which seems to be the point over which you will be 'done'. There is a minimum speed limit of 65km but we have never yet heard of anyone being stopped for not reaching it.
Seat belts are compulsory. The highway code is similar.
Some anomalies between here and the U.K. are;
If a car flashes his lights at you on a junction where elsewhere it would mean ' be my guest, you may go first', here it means ' don't move or I will ram you'!
Indicating right or left often means ' I forgot my indicator is on and I'm going straight ahead'
An orange light turning red at the traffic lights means ... speed up..... Are you getting the idea ?
If you are behind a car in town in a narrow road and someone is coming the other way, it is quite normal for both cars to stop and have a chat through the window. Do not get upset, it is the last remnants of a charming laid back way of life, it just doesn't go down too well when you are trying to get the kids to school on time.
Pavements are for parking on.
You will notice that many more people jump the lights here than elsewhere, the lights themselves are on a timer system rather than a monitor, so at night especially you will see people creep through, often in a line, just make sure , even if you have right of way that no one is screaming towards you in righteous indignation. In 2006 cameras were introduced here. To begin with it was mostly signs saying there were camera, with no actual cameras installed. That worked for a few weeks, then real cameras started to appear. A friend of mine was rushing to a funeral for which he was late and 2 months later he received a letter telling him he had been caught on camera and had to pay a fine, so they are getting serious about it now.
When turning right across the traffic, in other countries it is mostly accepted that you pass the cars going the opposite way across to you on their outside.... not here, beware!
One way streets are often ' nipped up ' the wrong way, so be careful
The attitude being 'I was only going one way!
As a foreigner you cannot officially drive as a learner with a learners licence issued elsewhere, so get a local one.
You may drive with a full licence up to the category you have passed a test in, you also should trade in your foreign licence for a local one. International driving licenses are acceptable and now that we have joined the E.U. technically you should be able to drive here on a member states licence without trading it in for a Cypriot one.
Beware of esoteric rules, for example, we had a car break down on the motorway, we had it towed to a garage where they informed us that we needed a new engine. We had one put in at great expense. Two months later we were 'nicked' for not applying for a licence to change the engine ' Result; (Even though I had phoned up the department of transport and had a conversation on tape where I was told categorically that I didn't need to apply for a licence to change it, just get it noted after the fact by the inspector of vehicles.)
A Cú400 fine