You may have heard horror stories about driving in the Dominican Republic, but I’m happy to report our trip was a total success. As ever, you can’t account for other drivers on the road (or cows or goats), but as long as you go slow and stay switched on, you should make it in one piece!
Of course, be sure to wear your very best sensible hat.
It’s not advisable to drive at night, so be sure to set off with plenty of time before sunset. You do not want to have the stress of racing to get somewhere before it gets dark.
Be aware of motorbikes. I’ll say that again, BE AWARE OF MOTORBIKES. They will come out of nowhere. They will drive the wrong way up a one-way street. They will weave like crazy through any space they see.
Expect motos to be a big part of your hazard perception on a DR road, and stay super alert to them. Especially in cities, where there can easily be 20 motos elbowing their way through one traffic light.
Accept that potholes are a fact of life. Go slow.
Take your time, no matter how much you get honked by locals. It helps to remember than honks here don’t just indicate road rage.
In my experience, a Dominican car honk can communicate any of the following:
‘Hi, friend, how are you?’
‘I’m going to overtake you now, just a friendly warning!’
‘I’m gonna go slow, so you go ahead and overtake me!’
‘What a good looking lady.’
‘Hey man, you’ve got a puncture!’ (This one did happen to us)
These are just a few interpretations, since car honks are infinitely expressive.