Dominican Republic Driving Advice and Car Hire Info
Driving In Dominican Republic
With the completion of the Autopista Duarte in 1998, the Dominican Republic enjoys the largest and one of the better highway systems in the Caribbean and Central America. Most roads are in good condition and, in my opinion, for the Caribbean, driving standards are quite good when considering 4 wheel transport. 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.
Motorways can be poorly lit and lanes are badly marked. In rural areas, many vehicles are in a very poor state, 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.
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 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. There have also been reports of people throwing rocks at cars to force them to stop with a view to robbing them on the Autopista Duarte.
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! A particular source of frustration is the route to the Samana area if travelling from the East Coast around Punta Cana. The signage is non existent when arriving at Santo Domingo so you will invariably miss the turn off and end up in the centre of town. If this happens, head for the coast road and travel back towards Boca Chica, where you will see a small sign directing you off the main road. To avoid the centre completely, come off Highway 3 at San Pedro De Macoris and pick up highway 4, follow this towards Santo Domingo and you will hit the Samana Road after around 50 km. Tolls are numerous on the main roads of DR, so be sure to carry enough cash to reach your destination.
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 such as Argus Car Hire and Web discount sites such as Expedia
Local companies include-
Dominican Republic Self Driving Rules-
None of the big international companies seem to allow vehicles to be taken into Haiti.I emailed the local companies and asked this question but none responded, so I would guess the answer is no!