Driving in Kurdistan (KRI)
The situation in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) is generally better than in the rest of the country but there have been terrorist incidents and airstrikes in the North. As with the rest of Iraq, you should check your government’s website before planning to visit.
The Kurdistan region has a road network of 14,841km. By region, Sulaymaniyah has the largest total road network at 5,673km. Erbil has 5,391km and Duhok 3,777km. There are now highways but major roads and roads in cities are generally in a good condition. The Government undertook a 7 year $5bn road building and improvement project in 2013. A new tunnel was built between Zakho (Ibrahim Khalil) and Duhok Governorate which decreased driving time by approx 30 mins. In Erbil, a series of ring roads encircle the city: 30 Meter Road, 40 Meter Road, 60 Meter Road, 100 Meter Road, and 120 Meter Road and a new road 150 Meter road which is under construction.
Driving in Kurdistan
Kurdistan drives on the right hand side of the road and you need an International Driving permit, plus your own licence to drive here. Kurdistan has a high road fatality rate 14 deaths per 100k population in 2017, with the cause of many accidents attributed to speeding and poor driving skills- there is no real driving test qualification in KRI. Also many drivers have no insurance. Many drivers will ignore lane markings and overtake on either side and pull into gaps in the traffic in front of you. As a general rule of thumb, the onus is on the vehicle moving lanes to ensure its safe to do so. You should keep driving ahead in the lane you’re in. If you move lanes, indicate and sound your horn to warn others of your intentions. There are a large number of unmarked speed bumps- drivers may suddenly slow to pass over one, so keep your distance. In rural areas, livestock is likely to wander in the road, so proceed with caution, and avoid driving after dark.
A famous scenic road in Kurdistan is Hamilton Road, built by the British Army in 1928 and running through the mountains from Erbil to the Iranian border. It’s a good paved road with some amazing views.
Although I try and keep the information in the site updated as much as possible, in a rapidly moving world, situations can change daily. Therefore please use the site as an approximate guide, and in conjunction with other resources in order to form your view on driving conditions, roads, safety etc.
Kurdistan (KRI) Car Rental
Europcar have a branch in Erbil.
We currently have no local car rental partners in Kurdistan. If you are a local car rental company who would like to feature on DriverAbroad.com please check details on our Partnering page or contact us on ADriverAbroad@Outlook.com