Learning to drive in Trinidad

I’ve never driven in Trinidad, even though I have had every opportunity to and have been here more times than I can count.

You see, Trinidad was a British colony up until 1962, so the country still retains many British customs – one of which is driving on the left hand side of the road in right-hand drive cars. This is the main reason why I’ve never really bothered to drive in Trinidad. I mean why would I? The driving customs here are completely opposite to that in the States. It was always too much to think about during my summer vacations to the island, when the only thing on my mind was having a good time.

Now that I’m living here though, things are different..obviously. Unfortunately, I don’t have the option of using public transport, because it isn’t safe – especially for women..leaving me no choice but to learn to drive all over again. Damn.

So..for the past couple of weeks I’ve been studying Trinidadian driving rules and regulations in preparation for my drivers license test. Thankfully, my US license exempted me from the driving portion of the test (cause I would’ve for sure failed!), so I only had the written portion to master (score!!)

Driving in Trinidad

My examination study guide..

While I was going through the examination study guide, I came across a few things that really stuck out.

Take Exhibit A:

Driving in Trinidad

Suddenly, I have an urge to buy a horse.

The first time I saw this question, I immediately thought of the man my man could smell like:

Smell like a man, man

He's on a horse.

and Exhibit B:

Driving in Trinidad

Hand signals? Isn't that what indicators are for?

Can’t say I’ve ever had any use for hand signals in the 8 years that I’ve had my license. But who am I to say that hand signals are totally obsolete? This is Trinidad after all..things are different here!

So..I practiced and memorized.. memorized and practiced.. until I got the hand signals (and the fact that any person in charge of an animal can legally stop traffic) down pat.

Driving in Trinidad

Practicing my hand signals at my Dad's shop. This can mean to things, either it's unsafe to pass, or I'm making a right turn. Go figure.

Driving in Trinidad

I'm supposed to be waving my arm up and down on this one, which means that I'm preparing to stop.

And I am proud to say that my hard work paid off! I am now officially licensed to drive in Trinidad and Tobago! Hurray for the small victories.

Now about that horse..

(Trinidadians say that if you can drive in Trinidad,  you can drive anywhere in the world. They obviously haven’t driven in Beirut!)


Filed under Life in Trinidad

20 responses to “Learning to drive in Trinidad

  1. didn’t you get a driving license in Beirut ? 😛

    Now that would be a story ! :p

  2. what they were thinking about when they said any animal ! its not like you could face a man riding a dog and stopping you!:P
    Hand signals ?? when i see someone doing the hand signal in front of me i would say that he is preparing to fly !! 😀
    so i think you are going to fly a lot in Trinidad ! 😀
    enjoy 😀 and congratulation

  3. Glad to see that you’ve started a new blog! While I’m definitely going to miss following your adventures in Lebanon, I’m excited to hear all about Trinidad (a place I know nearly nothing about)!

    I wonder how driving in Trinidad compares to Beirut… I’m sure it’s probably so crazy to be driving on the other side of the road, but I can’t imagine it being harder than in Lebanon with all the madness of traffic and insane drivers. It took me a while to get used to driving in Lebanon, but I definitely didn’t have to go through any tests or anything formal like that! haha.

    • Well, even though I have my license, I still haven’t driven yet! If you can believe it! I’m putting it off for as long as possible. haha.. In the process of looking for a car now, and when I actually start driving I will be better able to answer your question. Although, I really do think that NOTHING absolutely NOTHING compares to the driving madness in Beirut! What do you mean you didn’t have to go through any tests? They just gave you a license?

      • Yeah, I can imagine. I don’t know if I’d be able to drive on the other side of the road after driving on the right for so long. Definitely make an update once you do start driving!

        As far as driving in Lebanon… the first time around, I just came with my California driver’s license and a few days later my dad came home with some paperwork that had copies of my passports and CA license, some official stamps and a note saying I was allowed to drive (I guess that’s only because I’m Lebanese). The next time I came more prepared with an International Driver’s license (which I got for like $10 from AAA in California) and that was that. I never got pulled over, luckily. I’m sure the police would have hassled me a bit for not having a Lebanese driver’s license if I did, though!

  4. Caroline

    Even though I am sad that your blog is no longer about Lebanon, I am still enjoying reading about your life on the other side of the world. Even though it’s so far from Lebanon, it seems very similar… Hand signals to drive? That is classic Lebanon hehe. What do these new car manufacturers know? You don’t need a signal on your car, just use your hand 😉

  5. OMD! HAHAHAHAHA! This is EPIC, surpasses Fashal in levels of funny!

    Miss you Danielle! ❤

  6. I suggest getting a tribe of goats 🙂

  7. lizzie

    im studying for my learners and when i saw that question with the person in charge of an animal can stop ur vehicle, i swore that was a typo.

  8. mark

    To get a work permit here in trinidad and tobago the company hiring you has to apply for you and to apply they are charged 1050tt dollars and when the work permit comes through you even though you are paying taxes the company is charged 500tt per month. Which company going to go through all that process to hire you….human rights needs to step in its discrimination

  9. Oh my god! Thank you for putting the hand signals up here. I was looking everywhere for them! I have my regulation test today!

  10. I have my Trinidad licence and cant even remember that question…

  11. Excellent post. I’m dealing with a few of these issues as well..

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