Driving in Turks and Caicos - Don't miss out on the adventure...
Updated: May 4, 2020
One of the best ways to see this beautiful Island is to rent a car and explore, explore, explore! So many beautiful beaches, restaurants and historical sites to be found, we’d hate for you to miss any of it. So, hop into your car rental and hit the streets! What could possibly go wrong?
Oh wait…. Did we mention you drive on the LEFT side of the road!!??
It’s true! Being a British Overseas Territory, Turks and Caicos drives on the left side of the road and follows most of the UK traffic laws.
Don’t let this stop you! Trust us, it’ll be worth it. Once you’ve got the hang of it, you’ll forget all the anxiety and cold sweats you had leading up to getting in the drivers’ seat for the first time. In fact, you’re likely reading this because you’ve googled “Driving in Turks and Caicos” while considering renting a car and maybe the fear of driving on the left is holding you back. Well we’re here to give you a little hope and encouragement.
As they say, if we can do it, anyone can!
Did you know: There are no traffic lights in Turks and Caicos? Only Roundabouts on this Island.
A Few tips to keep on the right track:
First Things First, Don't Panic - You’ll be fine. Remember, this is a relatively small Island. If you get stuck or need directions, you’re not far from anyone or any help. Unless of course you’re us, and you go on a road less traveled to the tip of Northwest Point National Park. You get your teeny tiny car stuck in the sandy road for a bit, drive into a bunch of bushes to let an oncoming car pass you by (only room for one car at a time on that side road) and lose a bumper on a mangrove root. Don’t worry, we managed a successful adventure by the end and laughed till we were sore. We also discovered a useful tip: Bumpers pop back on just as easy as they pop off! Who knew?!
You’re Not Alone - You’re not the only tourist out there giving left side driving a go. Thankfully the locals are aware of our excitement to be on vacation and are, for the most part, pretty chill when it comes to maneuvering around us/getting out of the way for their safety…ha! Remember that thing we told you about Island Time? Well it applies to driving as well. There’s no rush, if anyone wants to go around you, they’ll go around you. Just make sure you stick to the slow lane though, otherwise you’ll think you’re back in the big city with all the colorful hand gestures coming your way.
Keep To The Left - Your car might be right side or left side drive, both options available at most rental agencies. Doesn’t matter which side drive you have, you still drive on the left side of the road. And yes, we must mention that simply because we overheard a conversation at the rental agency asking that very question. We kid you not! The good news is, when driving on the left, you’ll notice your car comes equipped with a state of the art Curb Sensory System. Or as we like to call it, your travel companion. You’ll be inclined to position yourself on the road as you would when you drive on the right which means you may be a little too far left at times. Your trusty Curb Sensory System will activate immediately should you come too close to any other vehicles, curbs or bushes. The sensor reacts in many ways and with many sounds so try not to be startled as that could lead to further issues. Remain calm and gently steer your vehicle back to a safe lane position. Thankfully, you will get used to hearing the sensory alarm within the first few days. Just make sure it stays connected at all times and doesn’t let you down by closing its eyes or covering its face.
Look Both Ways Always - Whether at a round-about or stop sign, it’s best to be extra cautious and always look both ways. Remember, you’re not the only tourist on the road, trying to navigate your first few days of driving. You’ll get used to seeing the whites of other tourists’ eyes as their cars pull slowly forward, wondering if it’s safe to go, is it their turn, is anyone coming. It’ll become a familiar and comforting sight at each intersection. If someone starts honking behind you, still remain cautious when entering intersections and roundabouts, don’t just go for it. Trust us, you will get used to it. And for the most part, there’s not a lot of traffic so you’ll be fine. Likely the most adventurous part of your first drive will be when leaving the airport and you think you’re doing great till you see that car coming towards you in your lane. That’s when you remember to drive on the left and when you’ll hear your Curb Sensory System activate for the first time. You’ll learn fairly quick after that.
Don't Speed - Just take your time and go slow, people will go around you if they want. And quite often there’s another tourist on the road behind you who’s quite happy with the speed you're going. Be especially aware of your speed when driving at night. The roads are not lit up with hundreds of street lights as they may be where you’re from. You may be used to your roads at home and watching out for dogs and cats in your neighborhood. In Turks and Caicos you need to watch out for pot holes, speed bumps, chickens, dogs, cats, goats, donkeys, horses and flamingos… You think we’re joking, you’ll see for yourself... Always an adventure.
We always find humor in everything we do and we hope you do too. Another day, another adventure is how we roll. All in all, driving is super easy on The Island. You will be absolutely fine. You’ll have a manageable size car and you’ll be navigating around the island in no time. It’s not a big island and you’ll quickly get comfortable with your surroundings. Before you know it, you’ll be swerving potholes and goats like a pro!
Get out there. There's so much to see and do. Enjoy the adventure and see as much of the Beautiful By Nature, Turks and Caicos!