Are there any special requirements for driving or hiring a car in Martinique?
Compared to other Caribbean islands, driving on Martinique is a pleasure. The roads are in excellent condition and the traffic laws are the same as in France.
The main thing to watch out for when driving are the speed cameras dotted around the island which collect thousands in fines each year. make sure you stick to the speed limit at all times.
Seat Belt Laws
Everyone in a moving car on Martinique must, by law, wear a seat belt.
Drinking and Driving
In Martinique, the maximum permitted blood alcohol level is 50mg per 100ml of blood – less than that in England and Wales. This means that even one drink can take some people over the limit so, for that reason, we recommend that you don’t drink any alcohol before getting behind the wheel, especially at night.
Must Have Documents
You will need to have your driving licence and an international driving licence. You should also carry your insurance certificate and your registration documents. It’s also useful for you to have a copy of your passport to hand.
The speed limits for Martinique are as follows:
Open roads: 90 km/h
In Town: 50 km/h
Highways: 110 km/h
Minimum Driving Age
You have to be at least 18 to be able to drive in Martinique. If you're renting a car the minimum age is 21 and you must have held your licence for at least a year. If you’re under 25 years old, a premium for being an inexperienced driver may apply.
Safety Camera Warning Devices
Safety camera warning devices are not illegal in Martinique but we recommend that you stick to the speed limits instead as the road conditions and the standard of driving mean you should consider safety first.
On the Spot Fines
In Martinique, you’ll find that if you’re stopped by the police you’ll receive a notice of the offence and details of the fine and where and when it is to be paid. You can challenge the fine or ask for a court appearance but as the police are fair, most people don’t question the tickets and simply pay.
Child Safety Rules
In Martinique, children under 12 must not travel in the front seat of a car whilst children under six must be secured in an appropriate seating system. Tell us your requirements when you book and we’ll ensure the correct seating is fitted prior to your arrival.
A minimum of third party insurance is compulsory on Martinique 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 Martinique, cars travel on the right hand side of the road
• Weekend nights are notorious for drunk drivers and foreign drivers are recommended to avoid driving at those times where possible.
There are no specific towing rules on Martinique, just ensure that you are securely attached and that you can see behind you.
Speed cameras, both fixed and mobile are regularly used on Martinique and you should remain aware of the speed limits as you travel around the island. If you are stopped by a mobile unit, you’ll receive a ticket. If caught on a fixed camera, the ticket will be sent to the registered address of the vehicle – if this is the rental company, they will forward on the ticket.
Using Mobile Phones when driving
It’s illegal to talk or text on a mobile phone on Martinique unless you have a hands free kit.
Parking regulations are almost unnecessary on Martinique as there is usually plenty of unrestricted parking. It’s only in the capital Fort de France that you’ll need to be more sensible over parking
Most parking in Martinique is free of charge but in the capital Fort de France and at tourist attractions, those arriving under their own steam may find they’ll have to pay parking fees. These aren’t hugely expensive but are more costly in areas frequented by tourists.
It’s only if you are inconsiderate that you’ll find yourself on the wrong end of enforcement by the traffic police. The usual offence is obstruction and you’re likely to receive a fine if you do so.
Martinique is so laid back that difficulties over accessible parking for disabled drivers are negligible. If you do require assistance, head for an attended car park or ask a local to direct you to more convenient parking.
Motor Way Signs
There are no motorways on Martinique although there are a couple of decent highways, notably the ‘N’ routes.
Driving licence- Permis de Conduite
Insurance certificate – Carte Verte
Beware roadworks - Attention travaux
Petrol - Essence
Unleaded - Sans plomb
Diesel – Gazole
Town centre – Centre Ville
I have broken down - J'ai décomposé
Where is the police station? - Où est le poste de police?
I have a flat tyre - J'ai un pneu à plat
I have been in an accident - J'ai été dans un accident
Where is? - Où est?
Where can I buy petrol? – Où puis-je acheter de l'essence?
No pedestrians - Interdit aux pietons
Exit – Sortie
One lane road - Voie unique
Turn on your lights - Allumez vos feux (lanterns)
Closed - Ferme
You’ll encounter very few sets of traffic lights on Martinique and those you do will always follow the European system on sequencing – something almost all drivers will be familiar with.
There are no toll roads on Martinique.
The emergency number in Martinique is either 17 for the police, 18 for the fire service and 15 for the medical services.
What to do in an emergency
If you have mechanical trouble with your hire car you’ll need to call the emergency number that you’ll find on the rental documents or inside the windscreen. If it’s a private car that you’re driving then you’ll have to contact a local mechanic and ask him to attend the breakdown.
If you’re involved in an accident you can simply sort it out amongst those involved if the damage is light and no one has been hurt. If the damage is serious or someone is injured, you must call the emergency services and await their arrival. Whilst doing so, try to collect witness details and take photographs of the scene if the cars need to be moved. You will need a copy of the police report for your insurers or for the car hire company.
As of December 2014, the average price of 95 octane unleaded petrol in Martinique is £1.25 whilst diesel is £1.17. Prices can vary between the capital and the smaller resorts.