Driving Tips

Drive defensively is the most valuable advice we can give you – but this is applicable to operating a car in any country of the world. What is really specific about traffic in St. Maarten - Saint Martin? You will notice that residents are very courteous drivers and will stop to let someone enter the road, even when you don’t expect it. Be prepared for this sudden stops! But also enjoy the fact that you will be allowed to join traffic on the main road without a fuzz – even on busy intersections.

Gas station next to Paradise Car Rental Road at the St. Maarten Airport runway

This is the islands and that means that people will stop to chat, even if traffic will be held up. Be sure to always remind yourself that you are on vacation and impatience will not always work in your favor. It normally doesn’t take long to get underway again.

There are many “sleeping policeman” or speed bumps on the road and they are not always marked clearly. Unless you don’t mind hitting your head against the ceiling of your car (and damaging the suspension), it is wise to navigate them cautiously, especially when 3 or 4 people are in the car (some of the speed bumps are too high and a car's muffler might get caught on a heavily loaded vehicle).

Intersection on St. Maarten road Road on French St. Martin

St. Maarten has implemented the roundabout system for a couple of years and this seems to confuse visitors a bit. The rule is simple: The vehicles that are ON the roundabout have always the right of way. If no one is on the roundabout you don’t have to come to a complete stop, but if traffic is occupying the traffic circle you better stop. Anything less than 3 quarters for your direction, stay in the outer right lane, else use the left lane.

One more little advice on roundabouts: Watch for pedestrians crossing the road. They have right of way!!! and may cause a sudden stop of the car in front of you exiting the roundabout.


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