The US Virgin Islands Best Guide

Keep Left – USVI Driving Tips

Driving with Donkeys
Driving with Donkeys

Essential Guide to Driving in the Virgin Islands: Tips for Safer Road Travel

Driving in the Virgin Islands can present some adventures. There are windy roads, social stops, scenic pullovers, and animal crossings. In this article, you will find pointers to help you get your bearings before you hit the road in your car rental.

What are the roads like in the Virgin Islands?

Public roads in the Virgin Islands are paved; most are two-lane roads (one in each direction), and some have road markings on both sides and down the middle. On St. Thomas, there is a short segment with four lanes in the downtown area. On St. Croix, the Melvin H. Evans Highway is a four lane, divided highway; it runs from mid-island to within one mile of Frederiksted.

The islands are mountainous, and flat roads are few on St. Thomas and St. John. Windy and steep roads are many. St. Croix has more flat areas and flat roads than its sister islands.

Street Signs, Stop Lights, Sidewalks, & Crosswalks in the Virgin Islands

On St. Thomas, St. Croix, and St. John, there are street signs including stop, yield, speed limit, school zone, speed bump, and no turning on red, among others. On St. Croix and St. Thomas, there are stoplights. Crosswalks with lights or crosswalks with just road markings are available mostly in towns and high pedestrian traffic areas of St. Croix and St. Thomas. You won’t find stoplights on St. John or Water Island unless there is road work in progress that is blocking a lane. Sidewalks are available in some areas, but they are not commonplace in the Virgin Islands.

Do I need a Car when visiting the Virgin Islands?

The answer to whether you need a car while vacationing in the Virgin Islands varies by island, by where you are staying, by the number of people in your group, and by your vacation plans. That probably doesn’t help you answer your question, but the answer really does depend on these factors.

Having your own vehicle is a great option, particularly if you plan to explore a lot. You can go shopping, go beach-hopping, and try different restaurants, all at your own pace and schedule. Renting a car or jeep is possible on St. Thomas, St. John, and St. Croix. On Water Island, visitors can rent a golf cart. If you would rather not drive on St. Croix, St. Thomas, and St. John, you can plan accordingly and use taxis and public transportation.

Avis Budget Car and Truck Rental

Avis Budget Car and Truck Rental

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Avis Budget Rent a Car has the largest selection of cars, jeeps, mini-vans, SUV's and trucks at the most competitive rates. Three locations island wide to serve you: the Airport, Downtown Charlotte Amalie and the Havensight Cruise Ship Dock. Whether it's shopping, beach hopping or sightseeing that is in your plans, let Avis Budget show you how. Free pick-up and drop-off. Serving the U.S. Virgin Islands for over 30 years with outstanding service.

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Centerline Car Rentals

Centerline Car Rentals

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Centerline Car Rentals has been serving St. Croix since 1990. We provide personalized and professional service seven days a week from three convenient locations: we meet all flights at our St. Croix Airport Terminal location; we have a location in downtown Christiansted, next to the seaplane dock; and our Mid-Island – La Reine location is right on Centerline Road. Centerline has a wide variety of well-maintained, reliable vehicles ready for you to explore St. Croix — including cars, Jeeps, SUVs, trucks and vans.

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Discount Car Rental

Discount Car Rental

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Discount Car Rental is "Your Transportation in Paradise". We offer clean, new cars, jeeps and SUVS. Our free pick up and drop off service will ensure excellent customer service you deserve! We are conveniently located right at the entrance road to the Airport. If your destination is St. John you can pick up your 4WD vehicle when you arrive on St. Thomas and take it by barge to St. John. Contact Discount Car Rental for all your transportation needs!

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Tropical Adventure Group Car Rentals


Ready to explore all St. Thomas has to offer? Check out our car rentals which include economy vehicles, jeeps, sedans, and SUVs. Our commitment lies in delivering a superior car rental experience with modern, pristine, and high-spec vehicles. We’re proud to hold the top ranking in St. Thomas for transportation; notably, we’ve been honored with Trip Advisor awards in 2021, 2022, and 2023. That's a testament to our commitment to excellence. At Tropical Adventure Group, we’re committed to extending a warm welcome to our guests, providing personalized service, the best value, and helping you to explore the beauty of St. Thomas.


Keep Left While Driving in the Virgin Islands

We drive on the left in the Virgin Islands. If this is a challenge for your memory, sing a cadence if you must every time you get behind the steering wheel: left, left, left, left, left! In the Virgin Islands, we drive on the left side of the road; in American cars, the steering wheel is also on the left. It takes a little getting used to. From time-to-time, visitors forget, and drive on the right side, causing confusion and sometimes accidents.

How to Use Your Horn in the Virgin Islands

The horn is used for friendly communication in the Virgin Islands. A short single “beep” or double “beep, beep” means “thank you,” as in thanks for letting me into traffic at an intersection. Sometimes the same quick honk might mean “hello” as a driver passes someone they know on the road. The short honk can be used when someone is stopped at a stop light that has become green, but the driver hasn’t moved. A longer honk should be used at blind corners, particularly where driveways meet public roads. Seldom do you hear long-extended honking. Long honks are usually reserved for large trucks, like water delivery trucks, to warn other drivers that they are coming. Of course, road rage does sometimes occur, and long honks are definitely also used as an expression of driver frustration.

Animal Crossings in the Virgin Islands

Why did the chicken cross the road in the Virgin Islands? Or the donkey, deer, iguana, cat, horse, or even the cow? It is common to see chickens pretty much everywhere in the islands, from the beach to the post office parking lot. Seeing chickens on the road is a given. Iguanas sometimes cross the street, too. Donkeys are often seen on roadsides in St. John. A shy deer might be spotted along grassy or forested roadsides, mostly on St. John and St. Thomas. On St. Croix and St. Thomas, very occasionally, you see a horse or cow on the side of the road. Also, many people have outdoor cats in the Virgin Islands. If you are staying at an Airbnb in a residential neighbourhood, take special care to look out for kitties running across the street.

Stopping in the Middle of the Road: Social Greetings, Avoiding Potholes & Taxi Tours

Besides livestock and pets, be aware that other cars might stop unexpectedly, particularly in busier areas. It is not uncommon for drivers to stop when they see someone they know for a quick hello, or to buy a newspaper or bottle of water from a roadside vendor. Also not uncommon are taxis slowing down or stopping along scenic roads to show their passengers the view. Finally, drivers in the Virgin Islands sometimes swerve from their own lane into the opposite lane to avoid a pothole.  Almost always, the car veers back into their lane quickly.

To Yield or Not to Yield While Driving in the Virgin Islands

Yielding to let people in is one of the niceties of driving in the Virgin Islands. Drivers are good about yielding to let people out of parking spaces, out of driveways, into traffic at an intersection, and so forth. And how do you say thank you if you are the driver that receives the courtesy—a short, quick “beep” with the horn! I’m glad you were paying attention earlier in the honking section.

Additional Driving Tips for the Virgin Islands

  • Speed limits are posted on street signs.
  • Turning at a stoplight on red is only applicable to left turns, since we drive on the left side of the road and only when it is safe to do so.
  • Left turns on red are only permitted at some stoplights, where its prohibited, there are “no turning on red” signs.
  • Many residents give directions using well known landmarks. These landmarks may be unknown to you, so its a good idea to have a map so they can point out the route.
  • Google Maps and GPS-based directional apps work pretty well in the Virgin Islands.
  • Eliminate distractions while driving.
  • Designate a driver when your family or group when going out to drink.

What does safe driving in the Virgin Islands look like? St. Croix car rental company Centerline Car Rental partnered with the Virgin Islands Office of Highway Safety to create safe driving videos for the Virgin Islands, including a great video for St. Croix for proceeding at intersections and exiting from the St. Croix airport parking area into the main road. Watch some of these short videos at: Driving Safely in the Virgin Islands.

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