Rental cars are one of the things that most people automatically include in their vacation budget, but driving is not always a necessity. Before you make your official plans, take some time to learn about getting behind the wheel in the Virgin Islands.
On both the United States and British Virgin Islands, cars drive on the left side of the road as opposed to the U.S. standard of driving on the right. Other than that, driving conditions on the U.S. Virgin Islands are similar to those of the continental U.S., so visitors should familiarize themselves with general U.S. driving rules. Rental cars are particularly popular in USVI, as opposed to the British Virgin Islands, where few tourists bother to rent cars. Instead, tourists often opt to hop on the safari style buses, or hail a cab.
On the British Virgin Islands, road signs are scarce, and there are no seatbelt laws. Pedestrians should take extreme caution, as there are no right-of-way laws. Locals frequently drag race on main roads, and livestock wander the roads freely. On Tortola, watch for steep inclines. Expect to pay an extra $10(USD) for a local license when renting a car.
On both the BVI and the USVI, be careful of slick roads in the rare instance of rain. If you plan on driving outside of developed areas, be sure your vehicle is equipped for it. Request four-wheel-drive and make sure that brakes and tires are in good condition.
The U.S. State Department rates the road conditions in the British Virgin Islands as shown below:
|Safety of Public Transportation||Fair|
|Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance||Good|
|Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance||Fair|
|Availability of Roadside Assistance||Fair|
While driving yourself around may not always be the best option for getting around the Virgin Islands, sometimes it is unavoidable, and others prefer it no matter what the conditions. As long as you play it safe and stay alert at all times, you should no problem behind the wheel when you travel throughout the Virgin Islands.
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