With American-made rental cars and British-style laws, driving in the Bahamas can be confusing for some. The important thing is to take your time and learn the rules of the road before you get behind the wheel.
A U.S. Driver's license is valid in the Bahamas for up to three months. Simply present your license to the rental car agency before picking up your vehicle, and you will be ready to drive off. It is, however, illegal for passengers under the age of five to travel in any vehicle without the proper child passenger seat holding them in place.
One of the most important factors for drivers from the U.S. to keep in mind is that traffic in the Bahamas moves on the left side of the roadway, although rental cars may come with steering wheels on the left or right side of the car. Even as a pedestrian, this is important to remember. Pedestrians have been hit by cars after failing to check properly for oncoming traffic to the right.
Roads in Nassau and Freeport are generally adequate, but traffic congestion in those cities is rather frequent. Rural roads can be narrow and winding. Flooding occurs on roads in low-lying areas throughout the islands, including Nassau and Freeport.
The U.S. State Department rates the road conditions in the Bahamas as shown below:
|Safety of Public Transportation||Good|
|Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance||Good|
|Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance||Fair|
|Availability of Roadside Assistance||Fair|
If you don't feel comfortable getting behind the wheel in a place where driving is done on the opposite side of the road, there are plenty of other options in the Bahamas. Buses can get you around at little cost to you, although the buses in the Bahamas are not known for their reliability. Taxis, meanwhile, are a great transportation option for vacationers staying in the more populous areas of the Bahamas. Unfortunately, they are all but non-existent in the Out Islands, so if your top priority during your trip is seclusion, a rental may be your best bet.
True, driving in a foreign country takes some getting used to, but knowing these tips about driving in the Bahamas will diminish the shock value that most vacationers experience when they arrive on the islands.
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