First time left-hand driving - is it wise in Tobago?

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Pupuce
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First time left-hand driving - is it wise in Tobago?

Post by Pupuce » Sun Nov 18, 2012 1:10 pm

Hi all,

Good to be back in paradise! :) We were tinking about renting a car for some days to visit the island on our own. But...Coming from France, we've never driven on the left-hand side. We've read the article on this website about driving in Tobago and were encouraged but after talking to some people we know here started having second thoughts...

Does anyone like to share their experiences having been in the same situation than us?

RyanGel
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Re: First time left-hand driving - is it wise in Tobago?

Post by RyanGel » Sun Nov 25, 2012 4:07 pm

I too would like know as I am in the same boat, travelling from Canada. A co-worker of mine tried it while in Scotland and said that it was tricky at first, especially if you are starting from a major city centre, but that your brain eventually just reverses your driving logic and you get the hang of it after that. Not sure what the road conditions are like in Tobago but we're going to be taking an island tour when we get there and that should give us an idea if what we're up against. Has anyone tried this and been successful?

Thanks for your input,
Ryan

Carol G
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Re: First time left-hand driving - is it wise in Tobago?

Post by Carol G » Tue Nov 27, 2012 3:12 pm

Hi All,
Regarding driving "on that other side"....yes, your brain does make the switch. A friend from Denmark suggested this reminder...the driver is always seated on the side of the car closest to the middle line. But be prepared you will turn on the swipers instead of the turn signals least once or twice, until the brain thing clicks in...always gets us laughing. And fortunately most rentals are now automatics...one less thing to deal with.
At first it's a little difficult navigating the turns into town, if you happen to luck out at a time when there are no other cars to follow, which is unlikely these days.
The problem driving in Tobago is not so much switching sides of the road, it is once you leave Scarborough/airport the roads are narrow in places (a lot have been improved), breathe taking/holding views of drop offs, coming around a blind corner and seeing a car on your side of the road because of a pot holes that no ones want to do (sometimes with good reason), cars/delivery trucks parked; blocking part of the road (no where else to park), road taxis making sudden stops to pick up people, the big trucks that take up the whole road and some very aggressive drivers. It's nice to get out on your own to explore, lots of people do. I just always expect the unexpected....normal Tobago!
Cheers,
Carol (a.k.a. the family's wimpy Tobago driver)

PS Don't forget your sunglasses or forget it will be dark promptly at 6:00...not a time to be navigating strange roads. It will take longer than you would think from the maps to get to Speyside, Castara and beyond.

Carol G
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Re: First time left-hand driving - is it wise in Tobago?

Post by Carol G » Tue Nov 27, 2012 3:17 pm

And added thought...didn't mean to scare people; just mentioned things that can happen, your trip may be uneventful!
Cheers, Carol

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Re: First time left-hand driving - is it wise in Tobago?

Post by Joanne Green » Wed Nov 28, 2012 8:01 pm

Just make sure to check the condition of your tires at the rental office!! Also, go with a reputable firm. We think Sheppy's is the best (great prices, too). And, just for your peace of mind, go ahead & purchase the Collision Damage insurance, in case you do sideswipe something! Most people don't drive that fast up north, mainly because of the potholes, so you have time to react. I personally can't imagine staying up north, Castara, etc. without a car! Taxis are too expensive & busses too infrequent. Just don't forget that the gas station in Roxborough isn't open on Saturday -- the owners are Seventh Day Adventists & that is their Sabbath.

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Re: First time left-hand driving - is it wise in Tobago?

Post by Jane H » Fri Dec 14, 2012 8:57 am

A long time ago my father gave me a tip for driving "on the wrong side" wherever you're from.

"Always keep your passenger in the gutter!"

Never fails........

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