Important advice on hiring a car and travelling in self-driven cars in Sri Lanka
There are quite a few companies that hire cars and vans to tourists. However, hiring a self-driven car can prove to be more difficult and sometimes more expensive than hiring a chauffeur-driven car. Unlike in the West, car-hire without a driver in Sri Lanka is not the norm.
The question you need to ask yourself is why you need to have a car without a driver.
Consider the following arguments before deciding to hire a car without a driver:
Sri Lankan roads are not very wide and the traffic rules are not the same.
Traffic can be congested in the evenings and you need to honk to get your way around.
There are not as many signboards as in other countries to get your way around cities.
You will need to pay extra insurance over hiring charges.
Some hiring agencies are reluctant to rent vehicles in top condition to visitors not used to driving on Sri Lankan roads. You may hence end up with a vehicle that may not be in excellent running condition.
Driving can be challenging. Do you want to spend all your time looking out for school children, bicycles, tuk-tuks, buses etc. instead of admiring the scenery?
If you get involved in an accident, even a minor one, you will have to spend an endless amount of time in formalities in order to fill out forms for the renting agency and the insurance firm.
If you still need to hire a vehicle for a particular reason, try to find a driver for two or three days to show you around before hitting the road.