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The definitive guide to living and working in the Cayman Islands
Apr 24, 2014 

Rules of the Road

Last updated: 14th August 2013

The most common mode of transport in Cayman is definitely by car, though many people have turned to scooters or riding bikes to get around. There is also a bus service that can be helpful. According to Government records there are 43,873 cars registered on Cayman roads as well as 727 scooters and 119 motorbikes. Where you live on the Island can dictate what form of transport will work best for you, since the bus service is not offered everywhere (see the Public Transport section later in this chapter for more information on this). If you are a couple or have a family then the discussion will arise as to whether you need one car or two. In our experience, you will need two cars unless you are prepared to be entirely beholden to the person that has the car! Many people do not walk here, one reason being that it is hot and in the summer it rains torrentially, but also because roads have little or no verge way for walking along. Riding a bicycle may be an option, but many motorists don't give cyclists the respect they deserve and many roads don't offer much of a shoulder to ride on. Lights and extreme caution are essential if cycling at night. Please note that some people ride their bikes on the right-hand side of the road (the wrong way) believing that they will be more visible to oncoming traffic. However, this is illegal and a huge liability for the cyclist and any motorist exiting a road or car park and turning left.

This section provides detailed information on the legal criteria for driving in Cayman; how to license your vehicle to make it legally roadworthy, how to get a driving licence, how to import or export a vehicle, how to clear your car through Customs including the duty costs, how to buy a new or used car in Cayman, a list of Cayman car dealers and what they specialise in, recent developments regarding the use of hybrid and electric cars in Cayman, alternative transportation possibilities and more.

Rules of the Road 
  • In Cayman, people drive on the left-hand side of the road.
  • Seatbelts must be worn by all passengers.
  • Turning left on a red light after a full stop is allowed and legal.
  • Texting and using a mobile phone (unless hands-free) while driving is illegal.
  • Roundabouts seem to be particularly confusing. Always drive around a roundabout in a clockwise direction and give way to traffic approaching from the right. Once on a roundabout, do not stop to admit cars entering the roundabout from the left.  
  • We have a few four-way stops. These work on the basis of whoever gets to the four-way stop first, proceeds first.
  • The speed limit on the Island varies between 25mph-50mph. Speeding tickets are freely dispersed to people who go over the limit! However, it is also an offence to drive too slowly, though road conditions, weather and pedestrian traffic must be considered.
  • All drivers must give way to pedestrians on pedestrian crossings.
  • You cannot overtake if there is a solid single or double white or yellow line in the centre of the road.
In Cayman there are drivers from all corners of the world where traffic laws can be quite different. For this reason drivers should be alert and watch for what they may consider to be unusual driving. Please exercise care.

Other Rules
  • Headlights must be fitted to dip left. This is particularly important for cars imported from the US. You will need to get a garage to adjust them.
  • The use of fogs lights is not allowed. The wattage has been deemed to be too high.
  • Accidents: The law requires that in the event of an accident involving injury to a person, animal or property/vehicle, you must exchange names, addresses, date of birth, registration numbers and your insurance details. Or report the accident to the police within 24 hours. 
  • Tinting: window tinting is a very good idea as it helps keep the heat out; however, there are very specific rules to how much tinting you can do. Front windows can be tinted to allow a minimum of 35% light transmission through. Rear windows can be made darker to a maximum of 15%.
  • Tyres on the same axle have to have the same tread. You cannot mix a radial tyre tread with a cross-pile tread. Also the tyres have to be the same size.
  • A vehicle carrying an overhanging load must mark the load with a red flag of at least 1ft x 1ft. If the object overhangs by more than 3ft then the vehicle must be accompanied by a police escort.
Roundabouts
If you are not familiar with roundabouts then read on, as roundabouts are a frequent occurrence in Cayman and have proven to be a great way to control traffic flow. Every time you approach or enter a roundabout you must give it your full attention. Be aware of the traffic around you and don't just rely on your mirrors.
The rules are really very simple:
  • Always travel around a roundabout in a clockwise direction. Never turn right onto a roundabout or you will turn into the oncoming, one-way traffic!
  • All traffic approaching a roundabout must yield to the traffic that is already in it. Make sure you slow or come to a complete stop as you approach the roundabout because all vehicles in the roundabout have the right of way.
  • Use your indicators when approaching or exiting a roundabout. When turning left this should be obvious. When going straight across or turning right, you should indicate as you approach the roundabout and then as you approach your exit indicate left.
  • Observe the movement of other cars. Don't just use your mirrors. Watch the traffic around you for positioning and be aware of blind-spots. Also, look out especially for scooters and bicycles.
  • Keep in formation. If you are on a multi-lane roundabout don't change lanes and don't overtake on either side.
  • Cars in the right-hand lane have right of way. Watch out for cars in the right-hand lane. If they are to your right and slightly ahead and they want to turn left, they have the right of way.
  • Be courteous to other drivers. Assume drivers around you are not familiar with roundabouts and give them lots of space. Remember that you can always go around the roundabout again to avoid a confrontation!
  • When using multi-lane roundabouts. Keep in the left-hand lane if taking the first or second exit. Keep in the right-hand lane if taking a subsequent exit and maintain your position in the centre lane until the exit prior to the one you will be taking. When moving from the centre lane to the outer lane prior to exiting, look over your left shoulder to ensure someone is not overtaking you on the outside. 
  • For a very useful little video on how to negotiate roundabouts see this YouTube video which the Cayman Islands Department of Transport produced: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qBDM6XmTjQs
Using the Centre Turning Lane 
The turning lane in the centre of some roads is designed to help drivers turn right across traffic. The lane should never be used for overtaking.

School Buses & School Zones 
Under the traffic law, when a school bus has its lights flashing and has stopped to allow children to get on or off, drivers are NOT permitted to pass the bus. This applies to vehicles approaching the bus from the front as well as those at the rear.

In addition, you should pay attention to the 15mph speed limits in dedicated school zones to ensure the safety of youngsters. At certain times of the day, warning lights flash outside the schools, indicating to drivers that they need to reduce their speed to 15mph or less.

Children & Car Seats
Cayman Islands law (Traffic Law 2003 (revision) section 70 states that any child travelling in a motor vehicle must wear a seatbelt and if under the age of 14 must sit in the rear of the vehicle. It also states that a rear facing child's car seat must not be fitted in a seat with a front airbag. Children's car seats can be bought at The Baby Shoppe, Little Darlings and sometimes at PricedRight.
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