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The definitive guide to living and working in the Cayman Islands
Oct 25, 2014 

Rules of the Road

Last updated: 24th September 2014

The most common mode of transportation in Cayman is by car, though many people take advantage of scooters or riding bikes, as these are a great way to save money and reduce your carbon footprint. There is also an inexpensive bus service that may be a good option for some. According to Government records there are 47,464 cars registered on Cayman roads as well as 1,119 scooters and 306 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. 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! Most 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 for walking along. Riding a bicycle may be an option, but many motorists don’t give cyclists the respect they deserve and roads don’t offer much of a shoulder to ride on. 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. Lights, a reflective vest and extreme caution are essential if cycling at night.

This section provides detailed information on the legal criteria for driving in Cayman; how to licence 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, rent or lease a car in Cayman, a list of Cayman car dealers and what they specialise in, including hybrid and electric cars, alternative transportation possibilities and more.


Rules 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 exercise care.

  • We drive on the left-hand side of the road
  • Seatbelts must be worn by all passengers, including those in the back
  • Turning left on a red light, after a full stop, is allowed and is legal
  • Mobile Phone Use: Using a mobile phone (unless hands-free) while driving is illegal
  • Four-Way Stops: We have a few four-way stops. These work on the basis of whoever gets to the four-way stop first, proceeds first
  • Speed Limits: The speed limit on the Island varies between 25mph-50mph. Speeding tickets are freely dispersed to people who go over the limit! 
  • Pedestrians: All drivers must give way to pedestrians on pedestrian crossings
  • Headlights must be fitted to dip left. Cars being imported from the US take note!
  • Fog Lights: The use of fog lights is not allowed
  • Overtaking: You cannot overtake if there is a solid single or double white (or yellow) line in the centre of the road
  • 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 have. 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 of the same size.

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 and Cost-U-Less.
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