Best 10 Tips Before You Drive Korean Highways

Korea is renowned for its well-maintained highways that offer a smooth and convenient driving experience. Whether you are a local resident or a tourist visiting the country, driving on Korean highways can be an excellent way to explore the beautiful landscapes and vibrant cities. However, before embarking on your journey, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with some key tips to ensure a safe and enjoyable driving experience. In this article, we will provide you with the best 10 tips to consider before you drive Korean highways.

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Table of Contents

  1. Understanding Traffic Regulations
  2. Getting an International Driving Permit
  3. Navigating Tolls and Toll Passes
  4. Paying Attention to Speed Limits
  5. Staying Alert for Rest Areas
  6. Using GPS Navigation
  7. Familiarizing Yourself with Road Signs
  8. Understanding Lane Discipline
  9. Practicing Defensive Driving
  10. Preparing an Emergency Kit

Understanding Traffic Regulations

Before hitting the road in Korea, it’s crucial to understand the traffic regulations and laws of the country. Familiarize yourself with the basic rules, such as driving on the right side of the road, using seatbelts, and obeying traffic signals. Being aware of the regulations will ensure you drive legally and avoid unnecessary fines or penalties.

Getting an International Driving Permit

If you are a foreign visitor, it is recommended to obtain an International Driving Permit (IDP) before driving in Korea. The IDP serves as an official translation of your driver’s license and is recognized by Korean authorities. It will enable you to drive legally and avoid any complications during your journey.

Navigating Tolls and Toll Passes

Korean highways have tolls at various intervals. It is essential to be prepared with sufficient cash or a rechargeable toll pass, such as the Hi-pass or U-pass, to conveniently pay the tolls. These passes not only save time but also provide discounts on toll fees.

Paying Attention to Speed Limits

Adhering to speed limits is vital for your safety and the safety of others on the road. Korean highways have specific speed limits, and exceeding them can result in fines or accidents. Stay within the prescribed limits and adjust your speed according to the road conditions.

Staying Alert for Rest Areas

Korean highways have well-equipped rest areas at regular intervals. These areas offer amenities like clean restrooms, food courts, and convenience stores. Take advantage of these rest areas to take breaks, stretch your legs, and refresh yourself during long journeys.

Using GPS Navigation

To navigate Korean highways smoothly, utilize a GPS navigation system or smartphone application such as naver maps(네이버 지도). These tools will provide you with real-time traffic updates, alternative routes, and guidance to your destination. Make sure to have a reliable GPS system before embarking on your journey.

Familiarizing Yourself with Road Signs

Understanding Korean road signs is essential for a hassle-free driving experience. Familiarize yourself with common road signs such as speed limits, no parking zones, and warning

signs to stay informed and avoid any confusion on the road.

Understanding Lane Discipline

Maintaining proper lane discipline is crucial while driving on Korean highways. Keep to the right lane unless overtaking and use indicators to signal your lane changes. Respecting lane discipline ensures a smooth flow of traffic and minimizes the risk of accidents.

Practicing Defensive Driving

Defensive driving is a fundamental skill for any driver, and it becomes even more important on busy highways. Stay vigilant, anticipate the actions of other drivers, and maintain a safe following distance. By practicing defensive driving, you can significantly reduce the chances of being involved in a collision.

Preparing an Emergency Kit

Lastly, it’s essential to prepare an emergency kit before driving on Korean highways. Your kit should include items such as a first aid kit, warning triangle, flashlight, reflective vest, and basic tools. Being prepared for emergencies ensures your safety and allows you to handle unexpected situations effectively.


Driving on Korean highways can be an incredible experience, offering a gateway to explore the country’s beauty and culture. By following these 10 tips, including understanding traffic regulations, obtaining an International Driving Permit, and practicing defensive driving, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable journey. Remember to stay alert, respect the rules of the road, and be prepared for any unexpected situations. Enjoy the drive and have a wonderful time exploring all that Korea has to offer.


1. Is it difficult to obtain an International Driving Permit for driving in Korea?

Obtaining an International Driving Permit is relatively straightforward. Contact your local driving authority to inquire about the process and requirements for obtaining the permit.

2. Are there any specific restrictions for foreign drivers on Korean highways?

Foreign drivers are subject to the same traffic regulations as local drivers. However, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with any additional rules or restrictions that may apply to foreign drivers.

3. Are there any toll-free highways in Korea?

While most highways in Korea have tolls, there are some toll-free expressways. However, they may have limited access or longer travel times compared to the tolled highways.

4. Can I use my smartphone’s navigation app to navigate Korean highways?

Yes, you can use your smartphone’s navigation app, but ensure you have a stable internet connection or download the necessary maps offline to avoid disruptions in areas with weak signal coverage.

5. What should I do in case of an emergency on the highway?

If you encounter an emergency on the highway, safely pull over to the side, activate your hazard lights, and call the appropriate emergency services. Follow their instructions and remain calm while help arrives.

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