Are you planning to rent a car in the Dominican Republic? Everything you need to know about traffic rules in the Dominican Republic, about parking, about toll roads and a lot of other useful information will be here. There is a lot of information on the Internet about how terrible the traffic is here and how difficult it is to drive. The first time we came to the Dominican Republic and thought we would be shot down when we left the airport. I will tell the whole truth.
Table of contents:
- Rules of the road in the Dominican Republic
- About roads in general and toll roads in the Dominican republic
- Fines, speed cameras
- The whole truth about parking in the Dominican Republic
- Driving culture of Dominican drivers
- What you need to be afraid of driving in the Dominican Republic
If you found this article through a Google, and have not yet read about car rental. Then the article is all about car rental in the Dominican Republic, a great overview of all the subtle moments, difficulties, about gasoline in gallons and personal experience of car rental in this country.
Traffic rules in the Dominican Republic
In general, traffic rules in the Dominican Republic are similar to ours, and the signs are intuitive. Here are the highlights:
- The speed limit on the highway is 90 km/h. On toll roads 100-120km/h
- In any city or village, the speed limit is 50 km/h
It is important to know:There may be no signs that you are entering a settlement, as well as a speed sign. Just know that even 4-5 houses on the highway is a settlement. Most likely, if this is a settlement, then there will be a speed bump. And I will write about the Dominican speed bumps separately below.
- Cars in the roundabout have priority – this is the main road. Just like ours.
- Driving in the Dominican Republic is right-hand drive, cars are left-hand drive. Just like in Europe or USA 🙂
- Overtaking through a solid line, even a police car, even with a flashing light, even with a red one, is not considered a violation of traffic rules in the Dominican Republic, the locals constantly overtake like that. Psychologically, it is difficult for us, but you get used to it easily. It’s harder at home.
It is important to know:Although gasoline is sold in gallons in the Dominican Republic, distances and speed signs are in kilometers.
There are no special questions to the paragraphs of traffic rules in the Dominican Republic. The most interesting will come next.
About toll roads in the Dominican Republic
Let’s just start with usual roads.
Dominican Republic is an island state, small area. And on the territory of the country is the Cordillera mountain range. You can read more about the mountains in the Dominican Republic. It will be useful for those who are going to the central part of the country, there are a lot of serpentines.
In general, toll roads in the Dominican Republic and usual roads are of good quality. All year round summer, without frost and snow. But there are a few places where the road is just hell. One of such tourist places is the Bay of Eagles. Follow the link for a detailed review of this attraction.
Good to know:In cities and towns almost everywhere and almost always high traffic and traffic jams. But it is worth driving 2 km from the city and the roads are empty. It’s a paradox, but traveling around the country, along the ocean, is very comfortable.
All local roads, if it’s not a highway, are free.
Speed bump in the Dominican Republic
I guarantee you that you have not seen such tall speed bumps in any country in the world. In the Dominican Republic, they are of two types: as we have a slide, or pimples. The second option is not bad yet. But the classic speed bump in the country is so high that in order to pass it, the speed must be reset to 0. Not to 2-3 km / h, but to zero.
Often speed bump are not even marked in any way. Sometimes there is a sign, but there is no speed bump, but more often it is the other way around.
What you need to know about it:
- There are no speed bumps on toll roads.
- They are only in settlements, and in every village, even if the village has only several houses
- There are those that are painted yellow and have a road sign, and there are none at all. Watch carefully.
- In the Dominican Republic, it is not uncommon for an inattentive driver to stay near a speed bump on three wheels. And the fourth just gone into the jungle. You will understand this when you pass the first speed bump.
Therefore, there are few traffic lights, they are not needed here, just put three speed bumps at 500m of the village, and everyone will observe the speed limit. Just all without exception. There are cases: you are driving through a large village and there is a traffic jam for 10 minutes. It is not clear why. And it’s just that all the “speed bump” is passing by so slowly, and a traffic jam has formed.
Good to know:All free roads have only 1 lane in each direction. There are always many settlements along such roads. There are no bypass roads anywhere except Santo Domingo. The average speed of driving on such roads is about 60 km/h. Well, it doesn’t work any faster, although the roads are of good quality.
About toll roads in the Dominican Republic
There are toll roads in the Dominican Republic, they are also called highways. Here the speed is usually 100-120 km / h. These are excellent roads, with excellent coverage, 2-3 lanes in each direction. There are not many such roads, but they connect almost all regions of the country and greatly reduce travel time.
It is important to know:All sections of toll roads in the Dominican Republic are served by different road companies. That’s why prices are different everywhere. And don’t even think why you paid $2 for the last 50 km section of the road, and $10 for another 20 km section.
Below is a list of toll roads in the Dominican Republic, it is not the most complete, but we drive along these roads and know how much it costs. Prices in dollars for convenience. Prices are in pesos and you only need to pay in cash at the checkpoints. Important: you cannot pay by card or almost nowhere.
- Punta Cana – Santo Domingo – about 8-9 dollars
- Santo Domingo – Sanchez (Samana Peninsula) – $10
- Atlantico Boulevard (the most beautiful toll road). Road number 133 is only 20 km long and starts from Las Terrenas towards the airport. The fare is $10.
- Santiago – Santo Domingo. It used to be free, then paid, then again temporarily free. Just know that if it is paid, then the fare on the entire route will be about $ 9.
- Well, a small section of the Santo Domingo toll road – Las Americas Airport. Literally 5-7 km of the road and the cost is 1 dollar
How to pay?
Usually, when you enter a toll roads in the Dominican Republic, they take money there. The fee is always on a large billboard before 100-200 meters to the point of payment, and in front of the cashier. No vignettes, and then payment at the end according to the distance traveled, as in Europe there is none. If you want to go to a paid section – pay, and it does not matter that you leave the road after 3 km.
You can pay in both pesos and US dollars. But it is everywhere in the Dominican Republic.
Interesting to know:There is no such thing that you paid immediately for the entire 150 km section of the road. As I wrote above, there are many service companies and each has its own segment of the road. Therefore, usually payment points are every 30-50km. For example, from Santo Domingo to Samana, the length of the toll road is about 120 km. You will pay it three times for $ 2-4 and in total you get $ 10.
Fines, speed cameras
With fines, everything is loyal. They are, but relatively not high. For example, traffic violations such as speed, or crossing a solid line, even the police will not stop you. At the same time, there are a lot of speed cameras, but more than half of them do not work, and another problem is not clear what speed is set to.
We always take the usual road, if the traffic situation allows, we drive about 100 km/h. On the toll road – 120 km/h. For two years, we have not received a single fine for speed. But for the record, the fine for speeding is just over 1,000 pesos, about $25. Not a lot, but not like in Europe.
Three things that the police pay attention to:
- Fasten your seat belt
- Never drink and drive.
- All documents must be in order. This is especially true of compulsory insurance and windshield sticker. But documents in rental cars are always in order.
Bottom line: do not drink alcohol while driving, fasten your seat belt and everything will be fine. About the culture of driving and what you can do on the road, I’ll write below.
Good to know:There are also police posts with speed cameras. And they can also catch violators and fine. Therefore, it is always better to comply with traffic rules and speed limits. And if you were actually stopped for exceeding, then 1000 pesos is the amount that a police officer usually requires. 🙂
The truth about parking in the Dominican Republic
Almost all parking in the Dominican Republic is free, chaotic and not regulated in any way. Just leave the car where you want and it’s not bad. Locals park along the roads as they want and as they can. You can do exactly the same.
It is important to know:Often, in the parking lot of some kind of attraction, a local in a reflective vest will run up to you and say that parking is paid, and he is a “parking man”.
90% of the time it’s a scam and that’s how he makes his living. Here’s what you need to know:
- These guys always come to you upon your return, they will tell you about it
- If you don’t pay and just leave, nothing will happen.
- If you haven’t read about safety in the country, read it. There are also tips about the car.
- The standard parking fee is 50 or 100 pesos. I usually give either 50 pesos or 1 dollar. Therefore, you should always have small money in your pocket.
- Sometimes locals will even make an information sign with prices. You will understand for sure that it is self-made and that parking is actually not paid.
Good to know:Here is another moment. You can quarrel with this parking man at the very beginning and say that you will not pay. But for this dollar, he will really monitor the car, and he definitely won’t harm you, for example, he won’t let the wheels down, etc. Moreover, these illegal parking mens are not everywhere. The maximum that you give for the entire vacation is an extra $ 5-10 for parking at all attractions.
Traffic Rules in the Dominican Republic: Driving Culture of Dominican Drivers
They write a lot that locals drive terribly, dangerously, and in general it’s better not to go out on the road if you don’t need to. All this is greatly exaggerated. In general, if you live in a big city and regularly drive a car, then here you will be a nightmare for all local drivers 🙂
There are two types of drivers in the Dominican Republic:
- Car drivers.
- Bike/scooter/motorcycle riders
If the first ones are in no hurry, almost do not violate. Then motorcycle riders are the problem. You don’t need a driver’s license to rent a scooter in the Dominican Republic. Locals start riding mopeds from the age of 12-14. They can drive drunk. If all cars always stop at a red traffic light, then mopeds never stop. They think traffic lights and road signs are only for cars.
On the pros side: there are a lot of them in cities where the traffic itself is slow, and motoriders are very few on the highways.
Below is a list of points that you will definitely pay attention to, but you will quickly get used to. This applies to car drivers, as motorcycle drivers just drive as they want and there are no rules for them.
- It’s normal to drive 70 km/h in the second or third lane of the highway. We drove around it on the first lane and drove on. For me, driving on a toll road looks like playing chess. Left-right-left.
- Turn signals. It’s not at all clear what it was invented for. They are shown in 1 case out of 10.
- Solid line, double solid line. It’s just too much paint in the country. Why they draw it on the road, local drivers do not know for sure. Overtaking across a solid line is not a violation at all.
Interesting to know:Often on the road you can see a driving police car with red flashing lights on. They mean that they are working and are now patrolling the road.
- If you meet a patrol car with red flashing lights driving in your direction. Feel free to overtake. Even through the solid. Even with speeding, well, that’s not accurate. Here it is normal.
- At the same time, local drivers rarely use the sound signal.
These are all the main points regarding traffic rules in the Dominican Republic and driving culture.
Read more about public transport in the Dominican Republic here.
Traffic rules in the Dominican Republic: what drivers from Europe and the USA are afraid of
If you have read this article, then a lot of things should already be clear to you. You definitely don’t need to be afraid of the very fact of renting a car in the Dominican Republic. There is nothing complicated here, neither in the rental process itself, nor on the roads. Our driver needs to be wary of only two things in the Dominican Republic:
- Speed bumps. Be careful. Staying without a wheel is easy here. Radars, police posts, speed signs – all this does not any danger at all. But the speed bumps is just a disaster. You need to drive through it once to understand everything.
- Motorcycle drivers. Look both ways. They appear out of nowhere and disappear into the same place. Some of them drive normally and adequately, but exactly the same part, it seems that the first day on the road. And signs are not for them and traffic lights.
Unverified fact:When renting a car with full insurance, an employee of the rental company said that under our insurance we can knock down up to three people and we will not get anything for it if the police prove that they are the culprits of the accident. I am retelling it from his words. But it would be nice to put a large counter on the roof of the car so that everyone can see it. “Look everyone – I still have a limit of 3 people, go around me.”
In conclusion: traffic rules in the Dominican Republic, in general, are similar to ours. Traffic in the country is definitely not worse than ours. Watch out for speed bumps and be afraid of two-wheeled vehicles and everything will be fine.
Good luck to you on the roads in the Dominican Republic!
Thanks a lot for the articles. We used your advice and drove around the Dominican Republic, starring to different places. Perhaps something has changed, but on all sections of the Punta – Cana – Santo Domingo – Samana toll roads, it was impossible to pay by card anywhere.
Natalia, thank you very much for noticing. This is my mistake, I don’t even know how I wrote this. With cards, the trouble is big and almost everywhere you need only cash.
The site is excellent, a lot of useful information, inaccuracy about fines and cameras. They fine you for speeding, the cameras work (on the way to Samana for sure). The amount of the fine at the station is unknown (because they don’t issue a fine on the spot, they offer to drive to the station), if you pay on the spot, they charge $ 60, but apparently someone is lucky. Cameras along the road to Samana record the speed and you can see the result on the scoreboard.
Does it make sense to take a DVR with you for a rental car?
Well, only if for your peace of mind.