Are there any special requirements for driving or hiring a car in Bahamas?
Driving in the Bahamas is straightforward, just be aware that most cars are imported from the US and so whilst you drive on the left, you'll be in a left hand drive car.
Seat Belt Laws
Everyone in a moving car in the Bahamas must be properly secured with a seat belt.
Drinking and Driving
The level of blood alcohol permissible for a driver in the Bahamas is 80mg per 100ml of blood; the same as it is in the UK. The roads around the Bahamas can get a bit tricky to negotiate in places and you’d be advised to stick to the law.
Must Have Documents
All you need to have is both parts of your EU drivers licence or an international driving permit if you are from outside the EU or the US and the registration document. It’s always useful to carry and proof of insurance too.
The speed limits for the Bahamas are as follows:
Open roads: 75 km/h
In Town: 40 km/h
These limits reduce in wet weather
Minimum Driving Age
You have to be at least 17 to be able to drive in the Bahamas. If you're renting a car the minimum age is 21 but with some companies, it's 23 or 25. You may also need to pay a young driver premium.
Safety Camera Warning Devices
Safety camera warning devices are illegal in the Bahamas and in any case the roads are such that speeding isn’t really that easy anyway. It’s always best to stick to the limit.
On the Spot Fines
If you commit a traffic violation, you will be given a ticket detailing the offence, the fine and when and where to pay it.
Child Safety Rules
In the Bahamas, no child under the age of twelve can travel in the front of a car. Children under nine kilos must be strapped in a rear facing suitable car seat in the rear of the car. Up to eighteen kilos, they must be in an appropriate child seat. Over eighteen kilos but less than 145cm they must be on a booster seat.
A minimum of third party insurance is compulsory in the Bahamas and it’s useful to be able to prove you have it with your insurance certificate.
Rules of the Road
Standard driving laws apply with one or two exceptions.
• Although you drive on the left, you’ll use left hand drive cars
• A first aid kit and a fire extinguisher are recommended.
• Warning triangles and a fluorescent jacket are also recommended but not compulsory
• In stormy weather, roads may become impassable
All that is required is the use of common sense making sure other drivers know that you are engaged in towing and that the vehicle is securely attached. Make sure too you have all round visibility.
There are currently no fixed speed cameras in the Bahamas but there are regular mobile speed traps that will issue tickets if you are breaking the law.
Using Mobile Phones when driving
You cannot use a mobile phone in the Bahamas without a hands-free kit. You will receive a ticket for doing so if caught.
In many parts of the Bahamas you can park just about anywhere you can find a space. In the cities like Nassau or Freeport, parking is more regulated and harder to find.
In most parts of the Bahamas paid parking isn’t necessary but in Nassau and Freeport, you’ll find parking garages and parking lots which are reasonably priced and safe.
Enforcement of parking is done by the police and you’ll get a ticket if you park inconsiderately or cause an obstruction. In extreme cases you may be towed away.
In the Bahamas, the disabled blue badge scheme isn’t recognised although it's useful taking it with you to prove you need help. Attended parking lots will often do their best to help you to an easily accessible parking space.
Motor Way Signs
There are no motorways in the Bahamas
In the Bahamas everyone speaks English so there'll be no need for translations
In the Bahamas, traffic lights follow the rules of the Vienna convention so there will be no confusion for most drivers. Occasionally drivers will jump a red light so be careful when moving off on green.
There are no toll roads in the Bahamas but you will pay tolls for using bridges.
The emergency number in the Bahamas is either 911 or 919. Most people use 911.
What to do in an emergency
If you encounter problems with your hire car, call the number given to you by the local agent, it’s often inside your windscreen.
If you are involved in an accident, call the police on 911 and whilst waiting for them, take photographs of the scene and details of witnesses. If possible, don’t move the vehicles until the police arrive.
As of August 2014, the average price of 95 octane unleaded petrol in the Bahamas is 87p whilst diesel is 82p. Prices can vary across the islands.