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First time renting a car in Barbados?
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- First and foremost, we drive on the LEFT hand side in Barbados. Yup, to Americans the “wrong side” of the road but the Brits would beg to disagree!
- As you drive your way into the countryside of Barbados, you will find that some roads are slightly narrow.
- As a tropical island, Barbados can pack some heat where the weather is concerned. When renting/hiring a car in Barbados, make sure to request Air Conditioning if you’re not accustomed to the heat. Also, make sure to carry sunscreen with you if you’re planning on operating a vehicle without a top! Peak sun times around midday can leave one a little “overdone” and spicy-crispy if you’re not careful.
- Rental cars and vehicles normally come equipped with maps in the glove box. Navigating Barbados is pretty simple for the most part and is all part of the fun and adventure of traveling on the island. If you ever have issues with reading your map, you can always follow the Barbados bus stops (on them are marked “To The City” and “From The City”) to give you a sense of direction. Another option is to simply stop and ask one of the many friendly locals where to go.
- Barbados roads are packed with Zebra Crossings/Pedestrian Crossings indicated by black and white stripes in the road. These are found regularly by Round Abouts, both leading into and out of them. It is customary in Barbados to stop to allow the pedestrians to cross, especially when one is standing at a crossing. Always be mindful of these pedestrian crossings as they can become faded from the sun over time. Keep an eye out for your surroundings always!
- In the capital of Barbados, Bridgetown, the road operates on a One Way System. This can sometime be a little confusing for the first time driver in Barbados so make sure to be cautious, take your time and follow the traffic. You’ll get the hang of driving in Bridgetown in no time. Also, as always, simply ask a local a question!
- When heading towards the North or Eastern side of the island, always make sure to have enough gas in your vehicle as gas stations tend to get a little sparse in those areas. It’s a good idea to gas up and be prepared for longer drives so that you can get back to where you came from without having to add unnecessary walking and car pushing.
- In Barbados it is not customary to pump our own gas. Most petrol pumps are manned by attendants, so there really is no need to get out of your vehicle. Always remember to specify whether you wish gas or diesel and tipping attendants isn’t something of the norm.
Why in the world do roundabouts even exist?
Roundabouts are designed to make intersections much safer and more efficient for all road users. As roundabouts are so prevalent in Barbados, they are truly an integral part of the traffic system so it’s of utmost importance to know how to use them correctly.
The Main Things To Remember
- Always yield to drivers already in the roundabout
- Once you’ve entered the roundabout, ALWAYS stay in your lane. Do NOT change lanes in the roundabout.
- Do not stop in the roundabout. Roundabouts are meant to keep the flow of traffic moving orderly.
- Avoid driving next to oversize vehicles.
Additional Driving Instructions in Barbados
What side of the road do I drive on in Barbados?
We drive on the left hand side of the road in Barbados. Due to the fact that we were once part of the British Colony, we have kept the English way of driving on the island. You will also notice that the majority of rentals cars and cars in general have their steering wheels situated on the right hand side of the vehicle.
How many lanes are there in a roundabout?
Roundabouts in Barbados generally have two lanes: 1) The Outside Lane (the lane furthest to the left) and 2) The Inside Lane. The Outside Lane is generally used by vehicles who wish to exit at the first left side lane. The Inside Lane is generally used to go straight, or exit at a second or third exit road. Please note that some drivers in Barbados practice “Jam Busting” where they also attempt to exit on the second exit. Always be mindful, cautious and take your time on roundabouts. Makes sure to take a moment to look over the diagram provided above.
What is the flow of traffic? How do I navigate roundabouts?
All traffic in Barbados roundabouts flows in a clockwise direction. Once you have selected your lane, be vigilant for pedestrians in the crossing as you approach the roundabout. Look right and wait for a break in traffic before merging with the oncoming vehicles. Remember, in a multi-lane roundabout, you must yield to both lanes of traffic. Leave the circle by using your indicator and turn left onto the road of your choice. If there is no traffic in the roundabout, you may enter without yielding.
If you have any questions at all, please feel free to ask us at Surf & Ride Rentals when collecting your rental car/vehicle and surfboards or contact us HERE via our Contact Page. We want you to feel comfortable and be safe!