What you need to know about Driving In Grenada
So you think driving in Grenada is a good idea, but you are a little scared to get behind the wheel in a foreign country. Have no fear, just follow these tips and you will do just fine.
Yes the Right side is the Wrong Side
Keep Left. Keep Left. Say it often make it burn. That’s the biggest hurdle to driving in Grenada for most people. In Grenada the Right side is the Left side … sorry I could not resist, what I am saying is that you will be driving on the left side of the road, and NOT the right side as is the case in North America.
There’s more … now imagine driving from your car’s passenger seat … that means all the controls, are now to your left. That can be awkward if you drive a manual instead of an automatic. Ever try shifting with your left hand.
That’s exactly how it will feel driving in Grenada. The car’s are right hand drive.
Tips for North Americans driving in Grenada for the first time
Driving styles and regulations differ in every country. It usually takes between a few hours and a day to get used to a new driving environment, particularly if you have not driven in the country before.
- If you are use to an automatic, be sure to specify automatic when making your reservation
- When you drive the car for the first time, take it around the block at the airport a few times to get use to the controls and driving on the left-hand side of the road
- Try and avoid the narrower back roads, and rural areas for the first day or so until you are familiar with your car and the driving environment
- Get a good map, and have someone other than the driver to navigate
- If you cross the road to park or to visit a gas station, be sure to return to a driving position on the left-hand side after you exit the space
Look out here comes a mini bus …
If you are in Manhattan New York, you got to be on the look out for the yellow taxi cabs, they can easily raise your pulse. Well in Grenada it’s the mini buses … 15 passenger buses that shuttle people between the villages and towns.
These guys make their money based on the number of trips they can make, so they are always in a hurry.
They have gotten better over the years thanks in part to many installed speed bumps/dips (you should look out for these yourself). They are notorious for stopping anywhere, and anytime. So expect them to stop short, and expect them to want to go around you. My advice is to keep an eye out for them and give them the right away.
Keep your eyes on the road …
Many of the roads are along the coastline and it’s easy to get caught up in the beautiful scenery.This can be a mistake … the roads are narrow, and the corners tight. Stay alert.
Do not expect many road signs and traffic lights. There are a few in and around the city and in the south of the island, but the further you move away, the fewer there are.
Do expect to find the occasional dog, or rooster, or cow that also wants a piece of the road.
Round and Round the Roundabouts …
Roundabouts or traffic circles can be confusing. Even here in Washington DC where there are proper signs I sometimes get turnaround the wrong way. Grenada has a few roundabouts, in fact when you drive to St. George’s you most likely will encounter at least a couple.
Keep these two points in mind, and it will be a piece of cake
- Give way to traffic on you right
- Always keep to your left
Seat belts …
You would notice that most Grenadians do not wear seat belts. The police do not crack down on this, but as you know it is always safe and good driving practice to Always wear your seatbelt. Besides you still can get a ticket.
High Beam, Low Beam … night driving in Grenada
It can be unnerving at first but once you learn the code you will get use to it. Many drivers will drive with headlights on high, and then shift to low when there is on coming traffic. This is the custom, and you should follow suit, but expect sometimes that this won’t always be followed.
Hand signals and Horns
When turning in addition to indicating with the car signals, you will find that the courteous drivers will also indicate with hand signals, for example to say if he’s turning left or right or whether it’s ok for you to go pass him. Some of these hand signals are law, but not everyone practice them.
Make sure your horns are working before you leave the car rental. This is invaluable when going around the tight corners … a few toots or honks tell any unseen but approaching driver that you are coming around, and he would respond in similar fashion.
So there you have it. It’s really more about awareness, than anything else. If you know what to expect you won’t be caught off guard. A car really is the best way to see Grenada , so don’t let a few butterfly’s stand between you and all the great memories that you will create driving in Grenada.