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Thread: How bad can driving really be?

  1. #1
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    Default How bad can driving really be?

    I am heading to Boca Chica in March for a diving trip. I plan on renting a car at SDQ airport and using it durring my stay for trips into Santo Domingo and day trips out to Bayhiba. I have been reading everywhere that driving in the DR is not safe. I have heard about bad pot holes, confusing road signs and crazy dominican drivers. How exaggerated is this?? Looking at Google Earth, I can see the road for SDQ all the way out to Bayhiba and it looks fine. I have gotten similar warnings about driving in other countries and yet the reality never rises to the hype. Can someone familar with the southeast area who drives give me some realistic advise? I don't want to sacfice the freedom of driving for a few inconveniences.

    Thanks

  2. #2
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    its fine as long as you expect the unexpected- people tend to stick their head in the road to see if they have a flat tire at unexpected moments

  3. #3
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    1. http://www.dr1.com/forums/living/845...o-domingo.html

    2. Last year a friend (Dominican) hit a black cow in the middle of the road while he was heading home at night from Juan Dolio to Sto Domingo. Looking at the car, no one could believe he walked away from the accident. The cow didn't (think locals with machetes at midnight cutting it up for meat - really).

    3. I've been driving here for the last 8 years. Is it doable, yes. Is it like roads in North America, no.

    My suggestion... take a taxi from the airport. Perhaps also on your first trip into Sto Domingo or diving. At that point, you'll have your bearings and if you're comfortable with driving, rent your car on day 2 or 3.

  4. #4
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    The stretch between Las Americas and Boca Chica is among the most crazy in the entire country, after dark it's just insane. The potholes are not the problem, it's the way people drive. From Boca Chica to Bayahibe is a piece of cake compared to the other way, even through San Pedro and La Romana.

  5. #5
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    Is like driving in downtown NYC while the Yellow taxi drivers take to the streets!

    Diving in Miami in the expressways, driving local in Orlando's metro, driving in the m25 or m4 during manic time in Wales, driving in Paris' grand circle, "trying" to drive in Rome’s downtown...

    Just be extra cautious while you drive and always do so defensively no matter if you have the right of way. If you're an avid driver it will be a nice experience and a few "close" ones at worst to raise your HB...

    Most of the time it's more of aggressive driving and a rush to get from point A to point ? by people that in reality could get there the next day as things flow in the DR.

    If you can drive in the above listed places, you sure as hell can drive in the DR, save for metro Santo Domingo or some places in the west corners of the country.
    One Dominican at a time please!

  6. #6
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    All exagerated bull, if you are a good driver then you will beable to drive no problem. I reckon the people telling crazy tales are probably more likely to be of the age they cause more hassle by not getting on with it.
    My main tip is just get on with it, if you see a gap, go for it, always keep your eyes in your mirror in the city and towns. I find it easier to drive here than in the UK, it is a battle of confidence with a touch of gentlemanly charm for guys bigger than you. Just have a rest now and again, your eyes will begin to sting after 2 hours of pothole dodging, but please don't be put off. The driver won't see the road (to busy pothole dodging) but the rest will see much more of the oportunities on offer with a car.
    Good luck, and remember to take pictures of the panels on the car.

  7. #7
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    I think they drive a lot crazier in Santo Dom...........Change lanes as if they own the roads, with no signaling..............older cars have a lot of obvious dents and I mean multible.....as said before, expect the unexpectable.........I was riding with a Dominican friend there in his big yellow chevy, fueled by propane and as he was driving the wrong way, on the wrong side of a divided roadway , in the shoulder lane, heading towards his place of business.............He was shouting out to other drivers......DO YOU WANT SOME YELLOW PAINT ??????????????

    So, I advise that you rent at the Airport, from Hertz or one of the big boys, with full coverage and go for it...........


    When I go to D.R., I usually end up borrowing a friends car and play it by ear.......... but I'm brave and stupid...........And I can rent a room a lot cheaper than what I pay to rent a car..............and use public transportation, when nessassary...............

    But, I suggest, do drive, I do ........... When affordable............

  8. #8
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    billywinter,
    if you have the time, please let us know your thoughts of how it went.
    thanks

  9. #9
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    I’ve seen enough accidents so I don't really care whether someone think it's exaggerated bull or not. Can't see how it's comparable to Miami and NY. Just drive. Over and out.

  10. #10
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    I live here in the DR and have driven all over the DR. Here are a couple of quick rules.

    1. Don't trust maps or google to judge the quality of the roads or if they even go where they are supposed to. This isn't Europe or the US and you could get into trouble a variety of ways. It is best to stay on the major roads and their quality of safeness can be verified by other members on DR1.

    2. Don't drive at night oustside of the urban areas and when you do try not to stop between destinations.

    3. As mentioned earlier, drive slow and also be very aware of other traffic and expect the unexpected (like people pulling out in front of you unexpectedly). Driving "rules" here are different to say the least.

    I recently had some Dominican friends from the US vacation here for a month and I convinced them to rent a car as opposed to a taxi to travel much of the island. They did and followed my rules and everything turned out fine and they really enjoyed their stay.

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