Tips for Driving in Jamaica

June 9, 2021

There are various warnings about driving in some countries. And of course, Jamaica is one of them. With countless potholes, curves, and hard terrains, car owners might prefer to be in a taxi or a bus than dealing with the road themselves. 

Yet, if you want to drive by yourself, it saves quite a lot of money. For more information, the cost of private transfer for two people was almost the same cost as renting a car. Yet, the added benefit, or as we say the best benefit, is the freedom. To be more specific, having the freedom to stop and visit any nearby sights on our own schedule made it an easy decision.

So if you decide to drive in Jamaica on your own, this article is for you. Down below, we will provide you with the knowledge of what you are getting into. Not to mention, we also share some tips if you really want to take on the challenge of driving in Jamaica.

Tips for Driving in Jamaica

The Insurance when Renting a Car 

Unless you have the Discover, your credit card cannot help you cover the insurance when you rent a vehicle. For that reason, you need to find the insurance first before even planning to go to Jamaica. And if you are a lazy tourist, at least check the insurance out before you actually rent a car. Not to mention, this could save a lot of money, even half the car’s price rental. 

Jamaica is not a right-hand-side country (Photo Source: Pexels)

Choose the Right Company

The company that you decide to rent a car is also crucial. You must not choose the cheap compact automobile since it cannot handle the pothole situations. Therefore, Island Car Rentals is the company that we recommend. 

Drive Slow and Careful

It will be a very rough journey, so take your time to get used to the road, as well as the potholes on it. However, if the sky is grey and the rain starts to fail, it is gonna be a huge issue. To be more specific, the heavy rain will fill the whole roads with water very quickly, and it is impossible to see the potholes.

This might be not a problem with the Jamaican locals since they know all the roads. You can rent or buy an used car in Jamaica. Yet a new driver with a not-so-good vehicle might be in trouble. So if you find another local driving, follow their lead. However, in the case when there is no one in front, drive slowly and be careful. 

Driving with Care on The Left Side

Yes, Jamaica is the left-side driving country. And it is strange to have all the oncoming traffic on the right side of the road. It is really hard to gauge how close you are to the both right and left side of the lane while you’re driving from the right side of the car.

However, the worst thing while unfamiliar driving is the be more specific, driver with left-hand turn when having sudden contact will usually follow the natural instinct, which lead you into the right lane. And that is where we have oncoming traffic. This leads us to the next tip:

Careful of Unexpected Objects

Just like in the United States’ road, only much more unexpected objects will appear in front of you. For example, you may encounter dogs, cows, carts, goats, pedestrians… To make it simple, you need to forget all the driving experience from before and drive like it’s a video game.

To be more specific, avoiding obstacles and making decisive moves, and not driving fast like in racing video games.


Get an App for Navigation or Have a Map

Along with the terrible road conditions, Jamaica has many roads that are poorly marked. With a map, it is easier to get back on track. For navigation, drivers should use an app to move around easier.

It is wise to download an app before going to different countries since you can use your smartphone GPS without wifi or a cellular network. Mapfactor Navigator is the app recommend.

Do Not Afraid to Ask a Local

It is nice to prepare both the navigation app and Google Maps (or the actual map). However, there are many times that they cannot work like they are supposed to do.

If you have a question about roads, the locals know them all (Photo Source: Pexels)

For example, you decide to go on a normal road appearing on a navigation app. Yet when you reach the opening of the road, the local stops you since there is a huge pothole in the middle of the road. This is the thing that navigation apps do not have, so it is wise to ask the locals first before making any move. 

Hire a Driving Assistant

Last but certainly not least, if you are having too much trouble with driving in Jamaica, it might be a good idea to hire a driving assistant.

Not only that person is a local, he can help you drive when you are tired or having any problems on the way.  

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