Tuesday, February 9, 2016
Driving in Aruba
Driving in Aruba can be a little bit of a challenge for a newcomer. That's why it is important to understand the rules and regulations when driving on the island. Those driving with a foreign or international driver's license issued by a member country of the Geneva Convention, are valid.
Unless otherwise posted, the speed limit in urban areas is 30 km/h, out of town it's 60km/h and on faster roads its 80km/h. There are some occasions where school or residential areas specifically indicate a lower speed limit; hence you should be careful in these areas. In Aruba, car speedometers and road signs are in kilometers.
Much of Oranjestad's traffic is one-way. When there's a two lane street you drive on the right hand side of the road and you overtake on the left hand side. If you happen to encounter an intersection with no road signs, the rule is that traffic on your right side has the right of way. When turning onto the left at an intersection the opposing and upcoming traffic has the right of way. When there is traffic on all sides of an intersection then the courtesy rule applies. Keep in mind that a sand road in an intersection is considered to be an actual road.
Roundabouts in Aruba are very common. That's why it's very important to know the roundabout traffic rules. On roundabouts the traffic approaching the roundabout must yield to traffic that's already on the roundabout. In other words traffic on the roundabout has the right of way and drivers entering the circles must wait for an opening.
On major roads traffic lights are present; the amber light is used when changing from green to red, and is not used after red when changing to green. Unlike in certain parts of the US right turns on red are prohibited.
In Aruba drivers of vehicles have priority over non- motorized vehicles. When riding on a bicycle, be careful of the traffic since most drivers on the island are not used to having bicycles riding around and there aren't many bicycle lanes available. It is also not advisable to ride bicycles during the night because there aren't enough street lights on the roads.
Aruba is a very small island, which makes everything of interest close to everything else of interest. If you don't know where you're heading to, just keep driving, since eventually you will end up where you need to go. A good trick when getting lost is to look at the direction in which the Fofoti trees are bent, since they will always point west towards the hotel and resorts area. For driving directions look at Aruba's road map.
Gas stations work differently in Aruba since it is not custom to pump gas for oneself. Usually most gas stations on the island offer attendants that are available to pump the gas for you. Some gas stations offer self service lanes. When encountering a self service gas pump, you will need to pay inside the gas station and then you will be able to use the gas pump. Gas stations in Aruba only offer one type of benzene, in which most cars on the island drive on. Gas prices are all the same on the island, since it is being regulated by the Government of Aruba. Gas pumps for your car register in liters, which is 1.06 quarts to 1 liter. 1 Gallon would equal 3.78 liters.
There are many areas for parking on the island, yet you have to keep in mind where parking is prohibited. Parking is prohibited: along a yellow stripe of the road, on a bridge, and along a continuous line in the middle of the road. Aruba recently introduced parking meters in the area of Oranjestad. They have an hourly charge of 2 florins ($1.15) and operate from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm. All parking spaces are numbered. This number is required to enter when paying for the parking or when recharging for the parking space. After your parking time is over, you will be given a grace period of 15 minutes and after the 15 minutes you will be given a violation ticket of 75 florins ($42.85). After three hours the vehicle will be towed and other fines, such as towing charges, will incur. Please keep in mind that parking spots with yellow stripes are only available for permit holders.
Car rentals are easy to get on the island. To rent a car on the island the driver must be at least 25 years of age. Driver of ages 21 through 24 may be accepted with special conditions depending on the car rental company you're renting from. All rentals include Basic Third Party Liability Insurance as mandated by the Government of Aruba. Some rental vehicles also carry a Collision Damage Waiver, which covers theft of the vehicle and vehicle parts in case of a break-in. Keep in mind that personal vehicle contents are not covered. Check with your rental company for more information on insurance types and availability.
Aruba's north coast plains are well worth seeing but they are only accessible by rough, dirt roads. For these areas off-road vehicles are highly recommended! If you're up for an exciting adventure through the back roads of Aruba try exploring Andicuri beach and the Natural pool. They're all on the Northern coast, in an area that is hilly and deserted, so we recommend that the adventurers be fit and experienced riders before they tackle it. Keep in mind that most car rentals are not allowed to drive on dirt roads to inaccessible areas such as behind the California Lighthouse and the road to the Natural Pool. Insurance companies will not cover any damage to the vehicle. Additionally please remember that the use of cars or other motorized vehicles on and off Aruba's sand dunes locations, such as near the California lighthouse, is strictly prohibited, as is driving on the beach except for licensed boat operators.
On wet roads be extra careful and reduce your speed when there is rainy weather. Infrequent rain causes build up of oil and dust causing very slippery conditions. When renting a vehicle it is important to test the direction indicators, horn, handbrake, lights, wipers, etc. before you drive off. You should always check the condition of the tires and the spare tires. Make sure that your tires are not excessively full because they can become overly rigid and will not be able to absorb as much impact. Try to keep your eye on the road since there are sometimes iguanas, dogs, or even goats that are along the middle of the road. Arubans are convivial drivers. They may stop at any time to greet, converse or give right of way to another driver. So please be alert!
Should you be involved in an accident, do not move your car! Notify the police immediately by dialing Tel. 100. Both parties involved in the accident should also contact their insurance companies as soon as the accident occurs.
Most of the road signs on the island are international road signs, yet here are a couple of the road signs you should familiarize yourself with when driving in Aruba.
Traffic Road signs
|Priority road and end of priority road|
|Crossroad with priority and give priority|
|Do not enter|
|Road narrows on both side|
|No overtaking and end of no overtaking zone|
|No right turn|
Download the Aruba Driving Guide including main roads signs.