Are there any special requirements for driving or hiring a car in Dominica?
Dominica is a fabulous place to explore by car and the capital Roseau and the countryside are equally enchanting.
What you'll need to be wary of is that on Dominica, you'll drive a right hand drive vehicle on the left hand side of the road which can take some getting used to.
Seat Belt Laws
In Dominica, every occupant of a moving car has to wear a seat belt.
Drinking and Driving
In Dominica, the maximum permitted blood alcohol level is 50mg per 100ml of blood – less than in the UK meaning that even one drink can take you over the limit. Our advice for driving in an unfamiliar country is always to avoid drinking before driving.
Must Have Documents
You will need to have your driving licence and also a local licence which can be obtained for the equivalent of around £8. You’ll also need the vehicle’s registration documents and proof of a minimum of third party insurance.
The speed limits for Dominica are as follows:
Open roads: 80 km/h
In Town: variable up to 50 km/h
Minimum Driving Age
You have to be at least 18 to be able to drive in Dominica. If you're renting a car the minimum age is 21 but sometimes 23 and if you’re under 25 years old, a premium for being an inexperienced driver may apply.
Safety Camera Warning Devices
There are very few speed traps in Dominica as the kinds of road don’t allow for excessive speed. Speed camera detection devices aren’t illegal but there’s really no point in bothering with one. We always recommend that you stick to the speed limit wherever you drive.
On the Spot Fines
If you commit a driving offence in Dominica, you will be issued with a fine notice detailing the offence and where to pay it. The police will often let minor offences such as a broken light pass with just a warning.
Child Safety Rules
No specific laws apply to child car seat safety in Dominica and it’s up to adults to ensure that children are safe. If you are renting a car you should let us know your requirements when you book and we will have the correct car seats fitted for you when you arrive.
A minimum of third party insurance is required by law in Dominica and you must be able to prove it with a valid certificate.
Rules of the Road
Standard international driving laws apply with one or two exceptions.
• In Dominica, cars travel on the left hand side of the road but in right hand drive vehicles so extra care is needed, especially when overtaking
• Roads are winding in many places and in the wet season can be muddy and occasionally prone to mudslides
• The lack of pavements means that pedestrians usually walk in the road – take care on bends
Towing is unregulated in Dominica and it’s up to you to ensure that anything being towed is securely attached and that you can still see behind it
There are no fixed speed cameras on Dominica but occasionally the police carry out random speed checks with hand held cameras. Roads can be tricky with many potential dangers so, if you drive as the conditions require, the speed checks shouldn’t bother you.
Using Mobile Phones when driving
It’ll illegal to drive whilst using a mobile phone unless you have a hands free kit.
Dominica is a quiet island with not much traffic outside of the capital and other towns. Even in the capital you’ll find the traffic generally languorous and parking easy to find.
Few pay for parking and in many places you wouldn’t find it if you looked. There are a few parking lots on waste ground but they’ll be nearly empty as most park where they find a space.
There’s little enforcement of parking as much of it is free. The authorities only get involved if there’s a vehicle causing an obstruction.
Disabled drivers won’t find any concessions for them but parking in a convenient place isn’t hard to do and if you need help, the locals will always step in with a smile.
Motor Way Signs
The island is very small and does not have any motorways. Most of the roads are single carriageway.
The official language of the island is English and so there should be few communication problems for tourists
There are only a few traffic lights on Dominica, mainly in the capital. The sequencing follows the international system and is easy to understand.
There are no toll roads on Dominica
The emergency number in Dominica is 999 for the police, medical services or fire, just as in the UK.
What to do in an emergency
Mechanical problems with your hire car can be resolved easily by calling the number given to you on your paperwork. You should also find the number inside the windscreen of your car. If you’re driving a local car, you’ll need to take along a number of a mobile mechanic just in case. Even though it’s a small island, the terrain can mean the island has many remote areas.
If you are involved in an accident that doesn’t incur any injuries and only damage to the vehicles then it’s not necessary to call the police. If someone is hurt or if there is significant damage then you should call the appropriate services and await their arrival. Take photographs of the scene if you have to move the vehicles and collect details of any witnesses.
As of December 2014, the average price of 95 octane unleaded petrol in Dominica is 93p whilst diesel is 88p. Prices can vary across the island.