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!



Introduction | Driving Distances | Driving is Exciting and Challenging | AM/FM on the Road | Where to Buy Fuel | Expressway Tolls | Tips for Vehicle Breakdown





Introduction (Excerpt from USFK Pam 385-2, 30 May 2007)
 
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-7 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 is Exciting and Challenging

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: 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 restaurants. 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.
Where to Buy Fuel/Vehicle Service

Camp Casey / Area I

Service

Hours of Operation

Fuel Station (MIL) Mon-Sat 0900-1700
  Sun 1100-1700
Telephone / Location
Bldg S-1068
DSN 730-1614 COML 0505-730-1614

Camp Page / Area I

Service

Hours of Operation

Fuel Station (MIL) Mon-Fri 0800-1530
  Sat-Sun Closed
Telephone / Location DSN 732-6441 COML 0505-732-6441

Camp Red Cloud / Area I

Service

Hours of Operation

Fuel Station (AAFES) Mon-Fri 1000-1800
  Sat 1000-1700
  Sun 1000-1600
Telephone / Location
Bldg T-42
DSN 732-8901 COML 0505-732-8901

Seoul (Yongsan) / Area II

Service

Hours of Operation

Fuel Station (AAFES) Mon-Wed 0700-1800
  Thur 0800-1900
  Fri 0700-1800
  Sat 0800-1700
  Sun 0900-1700
Telephone / Location
Bldg S-4723
DSN 738-5156 COML 0505-738-5156
     
Car Care Center (Wrecker) Mon-Fri
Sat
0800-1800
1000-1300
  Sun Closed
Telephone / Location
Bldg T-1221 (CP Kim)
DSN 724-6037 COML 0505-724-6037

Camp Humphryes / Area III

Service

Hours of Operation

Fuel Station (MIL) Daily 1100-1300 / 1600-1800
Telephone / Location
Bldg S-132
DSN 753-3002 COML 0505-753-3002

Osan AB / Area III

Service

Hours of Operation

Fuel Station (AAFES) Mon-Sat 0800-1900
  Sun 0900-1700
Telephone / Location
Bldg 511
DSN 784-3213 COML 0333-661-3213
     
Car Care Center (Wrecker) Mon-Sat
Sun
0800-1800
Closed

Camp Long / Area III

Service

Hours of Operation

Fuel Station (MIL) Mon-Fri 0900-1630
  Sat-Sun Closed
Telephone / Location DSN 721-3476 COML 0505-721-3476

Kunsan AB / Area IV

Service

Hours of Operation

Fuel Station (AAFES) /
Garage (Wrecker)
Daily 0900-1800
Telephone / Location
Bldg 1108
DSN 782-4519 COML 0654-470-4519

Camp Carroll / Area IV

Service

Hours of Operation

Fuel Station (MIL) Mon-Fri
Sat-Sun/Holidays
0730-1700
Closed
Telephone / Location DSN 765-8551/8114 COML 0505-765-8551

Camp Walker / Area IV

Service

Hours of Operation

Fuel Station (AAFES) Mon-Fri
Sat-Sun
0800-1800
0900-1600
Telephone / Location
S-217
DSN 764-4172 COML 0505-764-4172
Car Care Center (Wrecker) Tue-Sat
Sun-Mon
0830-1700
Closed
Telephone / Location
S-200
DSN 764-4502 COML 0505-764-4502

Camp Hialeah / Area IV

Service

Hours of Operation

Fuel Station (MIL) Mon-Fri
Sat
0800-1800
1000-1400
Sun
Holidays
1300-1500
Closed
Telephone / Location DSN 763-3241 COML 0505-763-3241

Pusan Pier 8 / Area IV

Service

Hours of Operation

Fuel Station (MIL) Mon-Fri
Sat-Sun/Holidays
0800-1700
Closed
Telephone / Location DSN 763-3208 COML 0505-763-3208

Tips for Vehicle Breakdown

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 military 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 - Kilometers (multiply by 0.6 for miles)
 
Seoul                  
31 Suwon
45 14 Osan              
84 52 38 Chonan            
120 88 74 36 Chonju          
152 121 107 69 33 Daejon        
273 242 228 190 154 121 Waegwan      
290 259 244 206 170 137 17 Daegu    
360 329 317 276 240 208 86 70 Gyongju  
428 397 383 345 309 276 155 138 69 Busan

 


AM/FM on the Road (Radio Frequencies )

Location FM AM
Seoul 102.7 FM 1530 AM
Camp Red Cloud 88.5 FM 1161 AM
Pajuri/Munsan 88.5 FM 1440 AM
Camp Casey 88.3 FM 1197 AM
Camp Page 88.5 FM 1440 AM
Camp Long 88.3 FM 1440 AM
Osan Air Base 88.5 FM 1359 AM
Camp Humphreys 88.3 FM 1440 AM
Kunsan Air Base 88.5 FM 1440 AM
Gwangju 88.5 FM NA
Camp Walker 88.5 FM 1080 AM
Camp Carroll 88.5 FM 1080 AM
Busan 88.1 FM 1260 AM
Chinhae 88.5 FM 1512 AM
Cheju-do NA 1512 AM
Pohang 88.5 FM 1512 AM

Expressway Tolls

Like most items in Korea, prices have been increasing.  Tolls range from as little as 900 Won for a short (3-5km) stretch to about 20,000 Won for a trip from Seoul to Busan. Prices are higher for multi-axle vehicles and buses.

Plan ahead and ensure that you have enough money to exit the Expressway system. 

As a passenger in a Taxi you are expected to pay for tolls in addition to your fare