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What Side of the Road Do They Drive in Malta?

4th February 2024

If you’re planning a trip to Malta, one of the things you may be wondering is which side of the road they drive on. Knowing the driving orientation of the country you’re visiting is crucial for a safe and enjoyable journey. In this article, we’ll explore Malta’s driving culture, the history of driving in Malta, and provide practical tips for driving on the left side of the road. We’ll also delve into the impact of driving side on car design, safety considerations, and compare Malta’s driving culture to other countries. By the end of this article, you’ll have a thorough understanding of what side of the road they drive in Malta and be well-prepared for your adventure on the Maltese roads.

Understanding Malta’s Driving Orientation

Before we dive into the details, let’s first understand Malta’s driving orientation. Like many former British colonies, Malta follows the tradition of driving on the left-hand side of the road. This means that vehicles in Malta have their steering wheels on the right-hand side, and they drive on the left-hand side of the road. However, it’s important to note that Malta’s driving culture is not only influenced by its historical ties with Britain but also by its unique geographical and cultural factors.

The History of Driving in Malta

To grasp the driving orientation in Malta, we need to delve into its history. The tradition of driving on the left side of the road can be traced back to the time when Malta was a British colony. British rule left an indelible mark on Malta’s infrastructure and transportation systems, including its driving practices. The British introduced the left-side driving orientation to Malta, which continues to this day.

Malta’s history as a British colony dates back to 1814 when it became a protectorate of the British Empire. During this period, Malta experienced significant development in various sectors, including transportation. The introduction of left-hand driving was part of the broader effort by the British to establish a sense of order and familiarity in their colonies.

As the British Empire expanded its influence across the globe, it brought with it its own customs and practices, including the left-hand driving orientation. This tradition was rooted in the historical preference for the left side of the road, which can be traced back to ancient times. The Romans, for example, drove their chariots on the left side of the road, a practice that was later adopted by the British.

The Influence of British Rule on Maltese Driving

British rule not only introduced left-hand driving to Malta but also influenced the development of road networks and traffic regulations. The British administration brought about the construction of well-planned roads and the implementation of traffic rules intended to improve safety and efficiency. These influences have shaped Malta’s driving culture and the way Maltese people navigate their roads.

One of the legacies of British rule is the road infrastructure in Malta. The British invested in the construction of well-maintained roads that connected different parts of the island. This investment in infrastructure has had a lasting impact on Malta’s transportation system, making it easier for people to travel across the island.

Furthermore, the British introduced traffic regulations that aimed to ensure order and safety on the roads. These regulations included speed limits, traffic signs, and rules of right-of-way. Over time, these regulations became ingrained in Malta’s driving culture, and they continue to be enforced by the local authorities.

It is also worth noting that Malta’s unique geographical and cultural factors have influenced its driving culture. The small size of the island and its dense population have necessitated the development of efficient transportation systems. This has led to a focus on public transportation, such as buses and ferries, as well as the promotion of alternative modes of transport, such as cycling and walking.

In conclusion, Malta’s driving orientation is a result of its historical ties with Britain, as well as its unique geographical and cultural factors. The tradition of driving on the left side of the road, introduced during British rule, continues to shape Malta’s driving culture. The investment in road infrastructure and the implementation of traffic regulations have further contributed to the development of Malta’s transportation system. Understanding these factors is crucial for both residents and visitors to navigate Malta’s roads safely and responsibly.

The Practicalities of Driving on the Left

Now that we have a historical context, let’s explore the practical aspects of driving on the left in Malta. Whether you’re a tourist or a resident, adapting to left-side driving requires some adjustments. In this section, we’ll cover the essential aspects you need to know to confidently navigate Malta’s roads.

Driving on the left side of the road is a unique experience that can be both exciting and challenging. As a tourist visiting Malta, you may find yourself initially feeling unfamiliar with this driving style. However, with some awareness and practice, you can successfully adapt and navigate the Maltese roads with ease.

Adapting to Left-Side Driving as a Tourist

If you’re visiting Malta as a tourist, adapting to left-side driving may feel unfamiliar at first. However, with some awareness and practice, you can successfully navigate the Maltese roads. It’s crucial to pay close attention to road signs and markings, keep to the left, and familiarize yourself with the local traffic rules. Taking it slow and getting yourself acquainted with the driving culture will help you gain confidence behind the wheel.

One of the key aspects to keep in mind when driving on the left in Malta is the roundabout system. Roundabouts are a common feature of Maltese roads, and understanding how to navigate them is essential. Remember to give way to vehicles already on the roundabout and indicate your exit clearly to ensure a smooth flow of traffic.

Another important consideration is the speed limits. In Malta, the maximum speed limit on highways is 80 km/h, while in built-up areas, it is 50 km/h. It’s crucial to adhere to these speed limits to ensure your safety and the safety of others on the road.

Road Signs and Traffic Rules in Malta

Understanding the road signs and traffic rules in Malta is essential for safe driving. Most road signs in Malta follow international standards and symbols. It’s important to be familiar with common signs such as speed limits, no-entry signs, and roundabout rules. Taking the time to study and comprehend the local traffic rules will go a long way in ensuring a smooth driving experience.

Additionally, it’s worth noting that Malta has a zero-tolerance policy for driving under the influence of alcohol. The legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit is set at 0.0%, meaning any amount of alcohol in your system while driving is strictly prohibited. This strict policy ensures the safety of all road users and helps maintain a responsible driving culture.

When driving in Malta, it’s also important to be aware of the local parking regulations. There are designated parking areas throughout the island, and it’s essential to park only in authorized spaces to avoid fines or having your vehicle towed.

Overall, adapting to left-side driving in Malta requires a combination of attentiveness, knowledge of traffic rules, and respect for other road users. By familiarizing yourself with the local driving culture and taking the necessary precautions, you can confidently explore the beautiful Maltese islands by car.

The Impact of Driving Side on Car Design

Driving on the left not only affects the way people drive but also influences car design in Malta. In this section, we’ll explore how the driving side impacts the layout of Maltese vehicles and the considerations involved in importing and exporting vehicles in Malta.

The Layout of Maltese Vehicles

In Malta, vehicles are designed with right-hand drive, as they follow the tradition of driving on the left. This means that the driver’s seat is located on the right-hand side of the vehicle, and the controls and instruments are positioned accordingly. If you’re visiting from a country where left-hand drive cars are the norm, you may need some time to adjust to the right-hand drive layout in Malta.

Importing and Exporting Vehicles in Malta

Importing and exporting vehicles in Malta can be a complex process due to the difference in driving side compared to continental European countries. When importing a vehicle into Malta, it’s vital to ensure that it complies with local regulations and standards, particularly regarding right-hand drive layout. On the other hand, exporting a vehicle from Malta to a left-side driving country may require modifications to adapt to the new driving side.

Safety Considerations for Left-Side Driving

Driving on the left side of the road presents unique safety considerations. In this section, we’ll explore accident statistics related to left-side driving and share safety tips for pedestrians and cyclists in Malta.

Accident Statistics and Left-Side Driving

Statistics indicate that countries with left-side driving orientations tend to have an increased risk of accidents compared to right-side driving countries. Although Malta has implemented various safety measures, awareness and caution are crucial to minimize the risks. Understanding the potential challenges and adopting defensive driving techniques can significantly contribute to preventing accidents.

Safety Tips for Pedestrians and Cyclists

As a pedestrian or cyclist in Malta, it’s essential to be particularly cautious due to the driving on the left orientation. Always use designated crossings, pay attention to oncoming traffic, and be vigilant when on the road. Wearing reflective clothing and using lights when cycling at night are additional safety measures to ensure visibility.

Malta’s Driving Culture Compared to Other Countries

Each country has its distinct driving culture influenced by various factors. In this section, we’ll compare Malta’s driving culture to that of continental European countries and other left-side driving countries.

Comparing Maltese and Continental European Driving

While Malta follows the left-side driving orientation, most continental European countries drive on the right. This distinction in driving sides poses challenges for drivers crossing borders between Malta and continental Europe. Familiarizing yourself with the local driving cultures and regulations can help facilitate a smooth transition.

Driving in Malta vs. Other Left-Side Driving Countries

Although many countries drive on the left side of the road, each country may have unique driving customs and practices. Comparing Malta’s driving culture to other left-side driving countries allows us to understand the similarities and differences. This knowledge can be valuable for drivers who have experience driving in other left-side driving countries and are planning to visit Malta.


In conclusion, Malta drives on the left side of the road, a practice inherited from its ties with the British Empire. Understanding Malta’s driving orientation and culture is essential for both residents and visitors. Being aware of the history, practicalities, safety considerations, and comparisons to other countries allows for a better appreciation and preparation for driving in Malta. So whether you’re renting a car or simply crossing a street as a pedestrian, now you know what side of the road they drive in Malta.

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