Driving In Turks And Caicos – A Complete Visitors Guide


Driving in Turks and Caicos might seem daunting at first, but we can assure you, it’s easier than you think. We’ll walk you through the rules of the road and some essential driving tips to make your driving experience in Turks and Caicos as smooth as possible.

We've been navigating the roads of Turks and Caicos since 2014 and wouldn’t dream of being without a car while visiting. It’s truly one of the best and convenient ways to see the most during your vacation.

Driving in Turks and Caicos can feel intimidating at first, especially when navigating unfamiliar roads and when driving on the left side of the road. However, once you’re there and in the driver's seat, you’ll realize it’s not as nerve racking as you may have imagined.

With the right information and a bit of practice, you'll find that driving in Turks and Caicos is not only easy, it’s a fantastic way to explore the island.

From navigating roundabouts to understanding local road signs, we'll cover everything you need to know to drive confidently and safely around Providenciales.

A toy car, pictures of road signs and a drawing of a roundabout all show someone looking to practice up on their skill to drive in Turks and Caicos

Why Drive In Turks And Caicos?

Exploring Turks and Caicos by car offers unparalleled freedom and access to the islands' most secluded beaches, local eateries, and hidden gems.

For those aiming to fully experience the beauty of Turks and Caicos, in our opinion, driving in Turks and Caicos is undoubtedly the best way to explore.

Not only does it allow you to discover the islands at your own pace, but it also stands out as the most cost effective method of transportation, especially in Providenciales.

As highlighted in our article on Taxis in Turks and Caicos, taxi fares can quickly add up since rates are calculated per person, per trip. The cost of renting a car remains fixed, offering significant savings for those planning to explore the islands extensively.

Byron parking our rental car in Turks and Caicos off the main road to go and explore a new beach. There is a sandy off road patch with lush green bushes and a path that leads to turquoise water. One of the benefits of driving in Turks and Caicos is finding new beaches!

Is It Safe To Drive In Turks And Caicos?

Absolutely. Driving in Turks and Caicos is as safe as any tropical paradise getaway, with a few common sense tips to keep your adventure smooth and worry free.

Firstly, the roads here are generally in good shape, especially the ones you'll spend most of your travels on. However, like any island destination, some of the more remote areas might challenge your driving skills with less-than-perfect road conditions. It's all part of the adventure, and to be somewhat expected

Here are a few pointers to ensure your driving experience is both safe and enjoyable:

  • Don’t plan remote exploration on your own or at night. Bring friends along for the adventure. Not only is it more fun, but it's always safer to explore in groups.
  • Stick to well lit and familiar routes after dark. Remote areas can be a bit trickier to navigate without streetlights, so plan your explorations for daylight hours. 
  • Keep your valuables out of sight if you leave them in the car, though it's always safer to take them with you.
  • Have your rental company's number saved in your phone. They're your go-to in the unlikely event you need assistance.

Use any and all safety precautions as you would when visiting somewhere new for the first time. Be mindful of where you are and who you are with.

If you’re unsure of the area you’re exploring on the island, by all means, stop and talk to a front desk agent at your resort or chat with your villa rental owner for any extra tips and advice.

 Driving In Turks And Caicos Licenses And Requirements

Before you hit the road to explore the stunning sights of Turks and Caicos, it's important to understand the essentials about driving licenses and requirements.

First off, you'll need a valid driver's license to drive in Turks and Caicos. If your license is in English, there's no need for an International Driver’s Permit (IDP). 

As for the age requirements, the standard minimum driving in Turks and Caicos is 25. However, if you're looking to zip around the Grace Bay Area on a scooter, the minimum age drops to 18. 

Please note: We wouldn't recommend heading onto the main highway or other busy roads in a scooter, that’s why we specifically mention the Grace Bay Area.

While these are the basics, it's always a good idea to check with your car rental agency for any additional requirements they might have. A valid credit card and secondary ID, such as a passport are common requests when renting a car.

Left-Side Driving In Turks And Caicos

Driving in Turks and Caicos means embracing the British Overseas Territory practices of left-side driving.

If you're coming from a place where right-side (of the road) driving is the norm, this might sound like a recipe for a mini heart attack and likely what’s been holding you back about driving in Turks and Caicos. But fear not! You'll be navigating the left lane like a local in no time.

Important Reminder: If driving on the left is new to you, keep to the left lane, unless you're passing. The left lane is the slow lane and the right lane is passing lane.

Right-Hand Steering In Turks And Caicos

As we mention in our Renting A Car In Turks and Caicos article, you'll find a mix of left-hand and right-hand steering vehicles. However, most of the time, you'll find yourself behind the wheel of a right-hand steering vehicle, just like in the UK.

Now don’t let this put you off. Have an open mind and stay calm.

When driving in Turks and Caicos, your vehicle comes with a very innovative feature: The “Curb Sensory System.” You might be wondering, is it some high-tech gadget? In a way, yes, but it's more commonly known as your front seat passenger (this is us thinking we’re hilarious and keeping things light hearted for you LOL.)

As you adjust to left-side driving and right-hand steering, you'll naturally gravitate towards your usual (North American) position on the road, which might be a tad too close to the left for comfort. That's where your Curb Sensory System (passenger) comes into play.

The Curb Sensory System offers real-time feedback with a variety of sounds and reactions. From gentle reminders to more profanity laced alerts, your Curb Sensory System will ensure you maintain a safe distance from curbs, bushes, and other vehicles.

It's normal to experience a few “beeps” and “watch outs”. Just remember, it's all part of the learning curve as you get accustomed to your new road positioning.

Maintaining confidence and staying focused will make the adjustment period much smoother.

Mastering Roundabouts In Turks And Caicos

One of the first things you'll notice (or not notice) while driving in Turks and Caicos is the absence of traffic lights. Instead, the islands rely on roundabouts at most major intersections. 

Roundabouts in Turks and Caicos operate with the same basic principles as anywhere else in the UK. You'll be entering and exiting towards the left, in keeping with the left-side driving rule. 

Here's a few roundabout tips to ensure you’re prepared. Also, your above mentioned Curb Sensory System should kick into high gear on approach! 

Entering The Roundabout

First, as you approach, slow down and look to your RIGHT.

Traffic inside the roundabout has the right of way. If it's clear, proceed.

If not, yield until you can safely enter. Remember, you're looking to join the flow of traffic by merging left into the roundabout, which might feel a bit backward at first.

Navigating Inside The Roundabout

Once you're in, keep to the left lane if you intend to exit at the first or second exit.

If you're going further around, stay in the right lane (if there are two lanes) till exiting and be mindful of signs and markings that might suggest otherwise. Stay alert and maintain a steady pace.

Exiting the Roundabout

Signal your intent to exit using your left indicator. Make sure to check for other vehicles as you exit.

Signaling When Entering And Exiting A Roundabout

Navigating roundabouts efficiently and safely hinges on clear communication with other drivers, and signaling is a key part of this.

However, if you're driving in Turks and Caicos for the first time, especially in a vehicle with the steering wheel on the opposite side to what you're used to, it's not uncommon to reach for the signal and accidentally turn on your wipers instead. Trust us, we’ve done it so many times.

If this happens, don't panic! It's a common mistake. Simply correct your mistake and signal as soon as you can. 

Signals While Entering:

  • Right Turn (Third Exit or Beyond): Signal right as you approach the roundabout to indicate you're turning right. Keep the signal on until you pass the exit before the one you want, then switch to your left signal to indicate you're exiting.
  • Straight On (Second Exit): Generally, no signal is needed on approach. However, as you pass the exit just before yours, signal left to indicate you're leaving the roundabout.
  • Left Turn (First Exit): Signal left as you approach the roundabout to indicate an immediate left turn.

Signals While Exiting:

  • Always Signal Left: Regardless of your entry signal, always signal left as you pass the exit before yours, indicating you're about to leave the roundabout. This helps drivers behind you and those waiting to enter the roundabout understand your intentions.
A photo from VISIT TCI showing how to correctly use a roundabout while driving in Turks and Caicos. The image shows cars entering and exiting to the left to keep the flow of traffic moving along.
Photo source: Visit TCI

Tips For Navigating Two Lane Roundabouts

Two lane roundabouts are most commonly seen on the main Leeward Highway. You will encounter these when traveling from the airport to your accommodations. 

For the most part, you will be continuing straight through these roundabouts till it’s time to turn towards your accommodations.

If staying in the Grace Bay/Bight areas, you’ll be exiting directly to the left and if staying in Chalk Sound, Turtle Tail/Venetian or Long Bay Areas you’ll making a “right turn”, which means going all the way around the roundabout to exit.

Choosing The Correct Lane

  • Right Turns and Straight On: As a general rule, use the right-hand lane for right turns and going straight on. However, always check for local markings as exceptions can apply.
  • Left Turns: Use the left lane for left turns.

Within The Roundabout

  • Stay in Your Lane: Once inside the roundabout, maintain your lane until you need to exit. Do not switch lanes suddenly.
  • Be Aware of Exits: If the roundabout has multiple exits, be mindful of the exit you need and ensure you're in the correct lane well in advance.

Exiting A Two Lane Roundabout

  • Signal Timing: Start signaling left after you've passed the exit before the one you intend to take. This gives other drivers ample warning of your intention to exit.

Roundabout Tips And Reminders

  • Stay Calm: The first rule of roundabout club is don't panic. Take a deep breath, and remember that everyone else had to learn this dance at some point too.
  • Signal Clearly: Use your indicators to communicate your intentions to other drivers. It's not just polite; it's your best tool for navigating safely.
  • Eye Contact: Making eye contact with other drivers can help gauge their intentions, making it easier for you to know when it's safe to proceed.
  • Practice Makes Perfect: If you're staying near a roundabout, take a few minutes to watch how local traffic flows. Observing can be as valuable as doing when it comes to understanding roundabout etiquette in Turks and Caicos.

Remember, while roundabouts might seem terrifying at first, they're designed to keep traffic moving smoothly and safely. With a bit of practice and patience, you'll soon find yourself traveling around them with confidence.

An actual mini roundabout road sign in Turks and Caicos. It is a large blue circle with white curved arrows in a circle to depict the flow of traffic while driving in turks and caicos.

Common Road Signs In Turks And Caicos

The road signs in Turks and Caicos follow the same general principles used in the UK. 

Now, you definitely won’t come across heavily signed routes like you would at home, however, this won’t stop you from finding your way along main roads and popular attraction routes.

Here are some popular road signs you’ll encounter in Turks and Caicos

Before leaving your resort, take a moment to plan your route. Use a map or a GPS app to familiarize yourself with the directions and the road signs you might encounter. Knowing what to expect can significantly reduce stress, especially if you're not used to driving on the left.

Driving At Night In Turks And Caicos

The absence of streetlights on many side roads in Turks and Caicos means that driving at night in Turks and Caicos can be a little more daunting.

The darkness hides potholes and uneven road surfaces, so keep your speed down and stay vigilant. A cautious approach will help you avoid unexpected bumps and dips that are easier to spot in the daylight.

Also, it’s most likely you will see more local stray animals out at night due to the cooler evening temperatures. Dogs, cats and even goats can wander onto roads, so it's crucial to keep an eye out for unexpected jaywalkers.

Slowing down and giving yourself more reaction time can make all the difference. If you’re an animal lover like we are, you’ll be on high alert during your night driving in Turks and Caicos.

Driving In Turks And Caicos Is Easier Than You Think

Driving in Turks and Caicos opens up a world of exploring and adventure for your vacation. From the stunning beaches of Grace Bay to the hidden gems of Sapodilla Bay in Chalk Sound, having your own vehicle allows you to discover the islands' best kept secrets at your own pace.

Sure, it may feel a little awkward at first, but we can assure you, you will adapt to the left-side driving in no time at all. Pack a sense of humor, and an adventurous spirit, and you’ll be ready to safely explore the islands with ease and confidence.

Driving in Turks and Caicos really is easier than you might think. Don’t panic, keep to the left, always look both ways and watch your speed. If you can manage those, you’re well on your way to getting the most out of your vacation and driving in Turks and Caicos. 

Be sure to read our Ultimate Turks and Caicos Guide to start planning your epic adventures!

For more detailed insights and practical tips, we invite you to explore our other in depth transportation guides.

These resources are packed with valuable information to assist you in making the best choices for getting around Turks and Caicos.

Have a question? Email us at hello@corksandtacos.com or join our Facebook Discussion Group

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About The Authors

Hello, we're Kerry and Byron Glover, the founders of Corks and Tacos - Your one stop guide to the Turks and Caicos Islands.

We've been traveling to Turks and Caicos multiple times per year since 2014 and we created this website to share our love and passion for Turks and Caicos with you. We provide you with useful travel planning tips and give you a "real person" perspective on all the wonderful things this Island has to offer. We look forward to you exploring our site and gaining valuable knowledge within our resources for your next vacation. We’re sure you’re going to love Turks and Caicos just as much as we do! Read our full story...

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