Dominican Republic Driving Advice and Car Hire Info
Driving In the Dominican Republic
You can drive in the Dominican Republic using the photo licence of most countries for up to 3 months, (I have seen 30 days mentioned but as of May 2020 the UK Foreign Office is saying 3 months) after which time you will need to apply for a local licence. Unfortunately this is not a simple process. First, you need a cedula or identity card to show you have residency. Then you may be allowed to convert your own licence, depending on your nationality. Some countries allow you to convert your driver’s license, and this apparently includes Canada but not the USA or most European countries. You need to go to your country’s embassy in the Dominican Republic and obtain a certificate saying your license is legal, and then take the certificate along with copies of your residency card and your license to the local driving license centre where you take a blood test and vision test, and your new Dominican license will be issued
In general, main roads are in good condition with an extensive toll -highway network covering most urban areas. Smaller roads are likely to be in a less well maintained condition. Main routes in the country are –
DR-1- Autopista Juan Pablo Duarte -Santo Domingo to San Fernando de Monte Cristi
DR-2 – Carretera Sanchez -Santo Domingo to Comendador
DR-3- Autovia del Este- Santo Domingo to Punta Cana
DR-4 – Carretera Mella -Santo Domingo to Higuey
DR-5-Carretera Navarrete-Puerto Plata – Las Galeras to Villa Bisonó
DR-6 – Autopista 6 De Noviembre -Santo Domingo to San Cristóbal
DR-7 – Carretera de Samana – Santo Domingo to Sánchez, Samaná
DR-12-Carretera de Constanza – Bonao to Constanza
DR-13 -Carretera de Yamasa – Santo Domingo to Yamasá
In rural areas, many vehicles are in a poor state of repair, often as a result of numerous collisions. Unlit vehicles – especially motorbikes – are common. Road accidents are common, especially at holiday periods such as Christmas and weekends when drink-driving related incidents are common. If you are involved in any accident you are liable to be detained by police until the circumstances of the accident have been investigated. It is worth bearing in mind that police tend to favour the motorcyclist in the event of an accident between a motorcycle and another vehicle. Travelling on Dominican highways and back roads at night can sometimes be dangerous. Your path may be obstructed by animals, pedestrians or vehicles without reflectors or lights. On the opposite extreme, drivers tend to favour driving with their lights on full beam which can be dazzling as they approach you.
Driving standards are usually good in cars, though may not conform to the same standards as North America and Europe. The main issue in DR is scooters and motorbikes, which are everywhere, particularly in non urban areas. Riders are often very young, have little training and travel at high speed. Cars will often swerve unexpectedly to avoid them. I’ve seen youngsters racing on motorbikes on main roads, sometimes laying flat on the seat. I’ve even heard that they do this AGAINST the flow of traffic after dark. Therefore be very cautious when there are a lot of motorbikes on the road.
Military road blocks are common – especially in the areas near the Haitian border. You should exercise caution if forced to stop whilst travelling on isolated stretches of road. There have been isolated reports of cars being forced to stop and their drivers/passengers robbed on the roads in the west of the country, towards the Haitian border.
In Santo Domingo keep an eye on the flow of traffic in addition to traffic signals. A green light may mean Stop if there is a police officer beneath it directing traffic in an attempt to speed things up. The road system in Santo Domingo is complicated and signs are poor -I’ve personally spent an hour lost there! Tolls are numerous on the main roads of DR, so be sure to carry enough cash to reach your destination.
Although I try and keep the information in the site updated as much as possible, in a rapidly moving world, situations can change daily. Therefore please use the site as an approximate guide, and in conjunction with other resources in order to form your view on driving conditions, roads, safety etc.
Dominican Republic Car Rental –
Sixt , Hertz, Alamo, Europcar ,National, Avis, Budget, Thrifty, Dollar,and National Car Rental have branches here. Also usually features on Car rental broker sites and Web discount sites such as Expedia.
We currently have no local car rental partners in the Dominican Republic. If you are a local car rental company who would like to feature on DriverAbroad.com please check details on our Partnering page or contact us on ADriverAbroad@Outlook.com
Dominican Republic Self Driving Rules-
None of the big international companies seem to allow vehicles to be taken into Haiti.I emailed a number of rental companies and asked this question but none responded, so I would guess the answer is no!