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Driving in Korea
Drive Defensively Driving in Korea
Drive Defensively

Welcome to Korea! If you have never driven a motor vehicle in the Republic of Korea, you are in for an interesting experience. With more and more private cars on Korea's roads, traffic congestion is worsening every year, resulting in wasted time and frazzled nerves. The intent of the information following below is not to frighten the would-be driver in Korea, but to provide the vehicle operator with a realistic overview of what to expect and support facilities available. Many service members have successfully undertaken the challenge of driving in Korea. The key is to familiarize oneself with the rules and regulations as well as to relax, be calm, be alert, and drive defensively!

Quick Reference Index Links are provided below
to help you maneuver quickly through this overview about driving in Korea.

Quick Reference Index Links


From USFK Pamphlet 385-2, Guide to Safe Driving in Korea

Those desiring to drive a motor vehicle and those who are required to drive vehicles as a function of their military duties must successfully pass a written driver's licensing examination administered at their supporting installation Drivers Testing Office. Civilian passenger vehicles must pass an inspection, they must be insured, and they must be registered / tagged at the supporting installation's Provost Marshal's Office (PMO). Only one Privately Owned Vehicle (POV) is authorized per family for command sponsored personnel. For unaccompanied military personnel, only those military personnel in the pay grade of E-6 and above are authorized to own and operate a POV. USFK Pam 385-2, Guide to Safe Driving in Korea, serves as the study guide to prepare for the written driver's examination for military personnel and their family members. Family members must be at least 18 years of age to drive POVs in Korea.

There must be a logical explanation why driving in Korea is more difficult than in the United States. At first glance, you can clearly see that there are many vehicles and too few roads to handle the traffic in an orderly manner. This situation may be the reason taxis and other vehicles drive aggressively, weaving in and out of traffic. Buses and heavy trucks are required to use the extreme right lanes but very often wander into other lanes.

In addition, experience is a factor in driving in Korea. Americans have been driving for many years. As a result, we developed and learned safe habits when around motor vehicles. In Korea, the motor vehicle growth was sudden, thus not allowing for the development of safe habits as in the United States.

On every road in Korea, you can expect to find people. On expressways, extra caution is required around road repair and maintenance sites. Maintenance workers are prone to step into the path of traffic and drivers must be prepared to stop immediately. Also watch for workers when going through tunnels and toll gates.

There are many pedestrians in Korea. Traditionally, they have felt that they have as much right to the use of the roads, and therefore expect vehicles to yield to them. This behavior creates a real hazard for you as the driver. It is wise to reduce speed when driving around pedestrians, especially children. Many Korean children have a preconceived notion that by raising their arms, a vehicle will stop to allow them to cross the street. Watch out for them and prepare to stop. Pedestrians also become confused while crossing roads, often stopping suddenly and then moving into the paths of moving vehicles. A common occurrence is for pedestrians to run or walk into traffic lanes from the front or rear of halted or parked vehicles and other blind spots.

Although much of Korea is using the motor vehicle as a means of transportation, there are still some people who rely on other more economical means of transportation. It is not uncommon to find yourself sharing a road with animal or human drawn carts. Even more unpredictable and hazardous are bicycles and motorcycles. They are usually overloaded and unstable. Slow down and give them lots of room, as the operators are noted for weaving into the paths of passing vehicles. Even more disturbing are the motorcyclists who drive on the extreme right side of the road at an excessive rate of speed and pass your vehicle on the right (one should constantly keep an eye on rear view mirrors to reduce the element of surprise).

Other hazards on Korea roadways are created by nature. Two of the more notable ones are potholes, created by the winter freezing and thawing process, and flooding, caused by the rainy season. Slow down. Avoid potholes if you can. Potholes damage tires, oil pans, or even entire cars.

Truly, driving in Korea is a challenge. Relax, be calm, be alert, and drive defensively!

Driving in Korea is Exciting and Challenging

From USFK PAO Pamphlet #5, Where to Buy Fuel

Korea is a tourist's delight. There are many parks, museums, ski areas, mountain resorts, and amusement parks within driving distance. Korea is a vast museum exhibiting a rich cultural legacy that dates back millennia; at the same time it is a country that has modernized rapidly in recent decades and is full of fresh vitality. Even in the big cities, you'll find that amidst the high-rises and bustling traffic, the essence of dynastic Korea lingers on around the old palaces, pavilions, and city gates, and the fragrance of a distant era still pervades the atmosphere in the smaller villages of the countryside and at mountain temples. Korea is a land of breathtaking scenic beauty and of friendly people who await your visit with warmhearted hospitality.

There's an excellent network of primary and secondary roads with numerous roadside rest stops and picnic areas in Korea. There are also lots of hotels. But there is also concern about keeping a full tank of gasoline.

Korean gas stations sell gasoline by the "liter" and equates to about $3.50 per gallon. It is therefore a good idea to keep your vehicle "topped off" and to know the location of Army Air Force Exchange System (AAFES) and United States military gas stations. Locations of these gas stations is provided below. Note that not all facilities provide towing and services capabilities. Prior to departure for a driving trip, ensure your vehicle is in good repair.

None of the AAFES and few of the military gas stations in Korea sell diesel for POVs. However, you may purchase diesel fuel at about $1.40 per gallon at off-post Korean gas stations.

If your car breaks down on the expressway, the Korean police will help you by either providing minor parts or by calling a wrecker for you. In case of an accident, show your Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) card to get help.

Roadside rest stops on expressways provide reasonably priced snacks and refreshments and Western-style facilities.

A Value Added Tax is levied (standard rate 10%) on most goods and services provided in hotels, tourist facilities and major rrestaurants. Tips are included in your bill as an additional ten percent service charge.

Carry extra Korean money (Won) since most Korean stores, rest areas and gas stations don't accept U.S. dollars.

Tips for Vehicle Breakdown

USFK PAO Pamphlet #5, Where to Buy Fuel

When a vehicle becomes disabled on the expressway, move the vehicle to the right side of the roadway and place a triangular warning sign 100 meters or more behind the vehicle during the day.

At night, red flares or flashing lights may be used at least 200 meters behind the disabled vehicle to provide visibility within 500 meters from both directions.

Such warning devices must be carried at all times for use in an emergency. Otherwise Korean police will issue you a ticket for neglecting your responsibility of maintaining safety during a vehicle breakdown.

Eventually, either Korean police patrol cars or Korean Highway Corporation patrol trucks or cars will pass by. They will stop to assist if you wave at them or otherwise indicate that you need help. They have red emergency flashers on top of their vehicles.

Korean police officers recommend that you do not try to wave down other passing cars for help because it could be dangerous. Korean patrol officers usually speak some English, so try to speak slowly and clearly when addressing them. They can either take you to the nearest rest stop or tollgate to use the telephone, or they can contact their headquarters by radio to convey a message to the nearest American miitary police station.

The cost for Korean wrecker service depends upon the distance from the highway to the Korean service station. Usually, it costs around 50,000 won within the city and up to 100,000 won from the expressway.

Driving Distances

(Distances in kilometers. Multiply by 0.6 for miles.)


31 Suwon

45 14 Osan

84 52 38 Chonan

120 88 74 36 Chongju

152 121 107 69 33 Taejon

273 242 228 190 154 121 Waegwan

290 259 244 206 170 137 17 Taegu

360 329 314 276 240 208 86 70 Kyongju
428 397 383 345 309 276 155 138 69 Pusan

American Forces Korea Network (AFKN)

AM - FM - TV
Sights and Sounds for Travelers
AFKN broadcasts throughout Korea on the following frequencies and channels:

Location AM FM TV
Camp Ames **** 96.1 2
Chejudo 1512 **** ***
Chinhae 1512 88.5 2
Camp Page 1044 88.5 46
Kotar Range 1512 **** ***
Kunsan Air Base 1440 88.5 49
Kwangju Air Base **** 88.5 ***
Munsan & Pajuri 576 88.5 19
Osan Air Base 1359 88.5 49
Pohang 1512 **** ***
Pusan 1260 88.1 2
Pyongtaek (Cp Humphreys) 1440 88.3 58
Seoul (Namsan) 1530 102.7 34
Taejon 96.1 12 ***
Taegu (Cp Walker) 585 99.3 12
Tonduchon (Cp Casey) 1197 88.3 49
Uijongbu (Cp Red Cloud) 1161 88.5 58
Waegwan (Cp Carroll) 1440 **** 49
Wonju (Cp Long) 1440 88.3 58

Expressway Toll Fee (Won)

Seoul 1200 1700 2400 5700 9400 9900 14100 8000 10800 3900

Suwon 1000 1600 4900 8600 9100 13300 7100 10000 3200

Osan 1100 4400 8100 8600 12800 6600 9400 3800

Pyongtaek 3700 7400 7900 12100 5900 8800 4400

Taejon 4200 4700 9000 3000 5900 5500

Waegwan 1000 5200 6800 9600 9200

Taegu 4800 7300 10100 9700

Pusan 11500 14300 13900

Chonju 3300 7700

Kwangju 10500


Seoul (Yongsan) AAFES-Korea Gas Station / Wrecker

Fuel Station Hours Mon-Fri 0700-1800
(Yongsan South Post) Sat 0800-1700

Sun 0900-1700
Telephone DSN 738-5156/7649 Comm: (02)7918-5156/7649

Wrecker & Car Care Ctr Mon-Fri 0730-1800
Camp Kim (Yongsan) Sat 0730-1700

Sun Closed
Telephone (Wrecker) DSN 724-6031/6032/6033 Comm: 795-4861/795-5889

Tongduchon (Camp Casey) Military Gas Station

No wrecker services available

Fuel Station Hours (POVs) Mon-Sat 0900-1700
Cp Casey Sun Closed
Telephone DSN 730-1614 Comm: 0351-869-1614

Uijongbu (Camp Red Cloud) AAFES Gas Station

No wrecker services available

Fuel Station Hours Mon-Fri 1000-1800
Cp Red Cloud Sat 1000-1700

Sun 1000-1600
Telephone DSN 732-6441 Comm: (0351) 870-6441

Chunchon (Camp Page) Military Gas Station

No wrecker services available

Fuel Station Hours (POVs) Mon-Fri 0800-1530
Cp Page Sat-Sun Closed

Telephone DSN 721-5575 Comm: (0361) 59-5575

Wonju (Camp Long) Military Gas Station

No wrecker services available

Fuel Station Hours (POVs) Mon-Fri 0900-1630
Cp Long Sat-Sun Closed

Telephone DSN 721-3476 Comm: (0371)8-3476

Osan (Osan Air Base) AAFES Gas Station / Wrecker

Fuel Station Hours Mon-Sat 0800-1800
Osan Air Base Sun 0900-1700
Telephone (Gas) DSN 784-5631 Comm: (0333) 661-5631
Wrecker & Car Care Center Mon-Sat 0800-1800
Osan Air Base Sun 0900-1700
Telephone (Wrecker) DSN 784-3213 Comm: 661-3213

Pyongtaek (Camp Humphreys) Military Gas Station

Contact Osan Air Base AAFES for Wrecker Service
DSN 784-3213 or Comm: 661-3213

Fuel Station Hours Mon, Wed, Thur, Fri 0800-1700
Camp Humphreys Tue 1300-1700

Sat 0900-1200
Sun/Holidays Closed
Telephone DSN 753-7297/7298 Comm: (0333) 690-7297/7298

Kunsan (Kunsan Air Base) AAFES Gas Station

Fuel Station Hours Mon-Sat 0800-1800
Kunsan Air Base Sun/Holidays 1000-1200
(Gas only on Sun/Holidays)

(Gas/Garage Svc avail Mon-Sat)

Telephone DSN 782-4519 Comm: (0654) 470-4519

Waegwan (Camp Carroll) Military Gas Station

No garage services available at Camp Carroll
-- Contact Camp Walker or Camp Henry for Car Care Services

Fuel Station Hours Mon-Fri 0730-1700
Cp Carroll Sat/Sun/Holidays Closed
Telephone DSN 765-8551/8114 Comm: (0545) 970-8551/8114

Taegu (Camp Walker)
AAFES Gas Station / Wrecker Services

Fuel Station Hours Tue-Fri 0800-1800
Cp Walker Sat-Sun 0900-1600

Mon 1000-1400
Telephone DSN 764-4172 Comm: (053) 470-4172
Wrecker & Car Care Center Mon-Thur 0830-1800
Cp Walker Fri 0830-2000

Sat 0830-1600
Telephone (Wrecker) DSN: 764-4364/4502 Comm: (053) 470-4364/4502

Pusan (Camp Hialeah) Military Gas Station

Fuel Station Hours Mon-Fri 0800-1800
Cp Hialeah Sat 1000-1400

Sun 1300-1500

Holidays Closed
Telephone DSN 763-3241 Comm: (051) 801-3241
No Wrecker or Service Available

Pusan (Pier #8) Military Gas Station

Fuel Station Hours Mon-Fri 0800-1700
Pier #8 Sat Closed

Sun Closed

Holidays Closed
Telephone DSN 763-3208 Comm: (051) 801-3208
No Wrecker or Services Available

Chinhae Military/POV Gas Station

Fuel Station Hours Mon 0800-0900 & 1300-1400
Chinhae Tue-Sat 0800-1200

Sun Closed

Holidays Closed
Telephone DSN 762-5409 Comm: (0553) 40-5409
No Wrecker or Services Available for POVs


US Forces Korea (USFK) Pamphlet 385-2, Guide to Safe Driving in Korea, 15 Sep 1993

USFK Public Affairs Office Pamphlet #5, Where to Buy Fuel, July, 1997

For more information contact the following address:

Public Affairs Office
Unit #15237
APO AP 96205-0010

TELEPHONE: (DSN) 723-7998/4678 (FAX DSN) 723-4240