Driving in Jamaica

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While visiting Jamaica, it’s likely that your itinerary will be filled with trips to exciting places full of breathtaking sights and unforgettable experiences. Many times, public transport will not be able to assist in taking travelers to the exhilarating destinations they most desire to visit, making it necessary to rent a car.
Renting a car in Jamaica can be done online and in advance of your arrival. We most commonly arrange to have rental cars picked up at the airport. Some choose to rent a car at their chosen hotel (if the option is available), but this is usually more expensive.

To rent a vehicle in Jamaica, you must have a valid driver’s license that you have owned for at least two years and be at least 21 years of age, though additional fees may apply if you are under the age of 25. Be sure that as you rent your car in Jamaica, you are provided with unlimited mileage.

Many of the maps of Jamaica can be difficult to read. Ask your car rental agency if they have the Discover Jamaica roadmap instead. Developed by the Jamaica Tourist Board, this map is extremely detailed and easy to understand.

While on the road, please remember that they drive on the left hand side of the road. When driving and attempting to overtake other vehicles, only do so on the right side. If there is a single or double continuous white line, overtaking is prohibited. Moreover, honking the horn is not a rude practice in Jamaica. This simply alerts drivers of one another’s presence.

There are also other important tips to take note of. Always wear a seatbelt and carry necessary documents in your vehicle, including your driver’s license, passport (or passport copy), and vehicle registration. Additionally, if you are one to budget, consider that gas in Jamaica is measured in British units and is 25% more per gallon than it would be in the United States.

Never drink and drive and know the parking rules that must be adhered to.

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Remember these tips when parking:
• Look for obvious signs or markings in places you cannot park.
• Do not park 40 ft. (or less than 40 ft.) from traffic lights, bus stop, fire hydrants, pedestrian crossings and entrances to schools/hospitals, or 50 ft. from a road junction.
• Park on the road shoulder whenever possible.
• There is no parking on a main road or next to a vehicle that has stopped.
If your car breaks down while on the road, always call the agency you rented the car from for help and make your presence known to other drivers. Turn on hazard lights and pull onto the shoulder of the road instead of waiting in moving traffic. Lift the hood to signal that your vehicle is no longer running.

Make a mental note of places you pass along the way as milestones that can help roadside assistance to find you with less difficulty. Once you are safely out of the flow of traffic, wait inside with your seatbelt on as you call someone for help. In the event that your car is stuck on the road, safely exit while awaiting assistance. In case of emergencies, the police can be reached by dialing 119.

In Summary:
• Rent your car online in advance.
• Car renters must have a valid license for at least two years and be 21 years of age or older.
• Use the Discover Jamaica roadmap developed by the Jamaica Tourist Board.
• Always be cautious.
• Know the rules for proper parking.
• Wear a seatbelt at all times.
• In case of emergencies, call 119 for police assistance.