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Driving in Kingston

Driving in a new country can be daunting. These tips offer insight into what to expect when driving in Kingston.
|-Driving in Kingston

1. Understanding the Driving Culture

Driving in Kingston can be a challenging experience for expats. The driving culture is quite aggressive with drivers often ignoring traffic rules, overtaking without warning, and rarely using indicators. It’s important to drive defensively and always be aware of your surroundings.

2. Type of Car to Use

It’s recommended to use a car with a powerful engine due to the hilly terrain of Kingston. A 4-wheel drive vehicle would be ideal, especially if you plan to explore the rural areas. However, for city driving, a compact car would be more suitable due to the narrow roads and heavy traffic.

3. Parking in Kingston

Finding parking in Kingston can be difficult, especially in the city center during peak hours. However, there are several paid parking lots available. The cost of parking varies depending on the location, but it’s generally affordable.

4. Driving with an International License

Foreigners can drive in Jamaica with an International Driving Permit (IDP) for up to 12 months. After this period, you will need to obtain a Jamaican driver’s license.

5. Obtaining a Jamaican Driver’s License

To obtain a Jamaican driver’s license, you will need to pass a written test and a road test. You will also need to provide proof of identity, proof of address, and pay the required fees. It’s recommended to take a few driving lessons to familiarize yourself with the local driving rules and conditions.

6. Road Conditions

Road conditions in Kingston can vary. While major roads are generally well-maintained, some secondary roads can be in poor condition with potholes and lack of proper signage. Be cautious when driving, especially during the rainy season when roads can become slippery.

7. Safety Precautions

Always lock your car doors and keep windows closed when driving, especially at night. Car theft and break-ins are common in certain areas of Kingston. Avoid leaving valuables in your car and always park in well-lit, secure areas.

Joshua WoodJoshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

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