Can you drink and drive on St. John?
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I will be visiting St. John for the 3rd time this fall and am wondering...how much trouble do you get into if you are caught driving after consuming alcohol? It seems that everyone is at some point, drinking at the beach, then driving to another destination. Or, drinking at lunch/dinner, then driving to the beach, etc.
I asked around on the island before and most folks laughed it off, saying, "the only thing you'll get a ticket for here is not wearing your seat belt." Is this true? I saw lots of people with beer in their Jeep cup holders while there. Is that an ok thing to do?
I'm not planning to get wasted and drive while visiting by any means! But what if we choose to have a few beers with dinner and drive back to our villa? If we get pulled over, will we be arrested?
I hope that I don't sound like an irresponsible vacationer/driver. I'm just trying to be realistic about typical island behavior and potential consequences of behaving like everyone else! ha!
A much bigger concern to me were the driving conditions. Roads are really narrow, winding, steep grades up and down and most have no shoulder -- it's either mountain [uphill side] or cliff [downhill side]. Add to this the driving on the left and the fact that busses, taxis, trucks etc. drive fast [as do regular drivers...natives and tourists alike]. Oh one last concern, we encountered many vehicles driving more towards the middle than left [due to speed, curves, tourist etc] ...SO I didn't want to drink and drive...regardless of what the legal consequences are. Of course, this is my opinion only.
This is not to provide approval but like everywhere else, if nothing bad happens it's OK. A few beers are not going to be an issue unless you can't hold your liquor. The problem comes when you should stop at 2 and don't, thinking it won't make a difference.
Police don't stand around looking out for drunks, let alone tipsy drivers. They rely on people to be responsible. That's the key...be responsible.
All you all crazy? Why are you debating the concept of drinking and driving? Do you think it matters that you're driving on St. John? The answer is no no no and no. It is againste the law to drink and drive!
Have someone in your party be a designated driver as you would in any other place. Just because these are the Islands does not mean that you should sacrifice the safety of the people in your car and those in other vehicles for a couple of drinks. Did you forget that you will be driving on the left? On roads that are scary to sober people? Get real!
I certainly prefer that people not drink and drive. Alcohol never improved anyone's driving. Driving on STJ can be a challenge. To drive on unfamiliar roads--roads that are steep, narrow, winding, unlit, sometimes poorly maintained---in a vehicle that you're not used to driving--and drive on the left side (in a vehicle built to be driven on the right side)-----I really would hope that the people I'm sharing the road with are at least sober.
Also, fyi, it is illegal to drive with an open container in the VINP:
Thanks Chris for the honest and realistic information. I appreciate it. My upcoming trip will be the third time I've driven a Jeep on the island, so I'm quite comfortable with the driving conditions. I am a responsible drinker and would never drive when I couldn't drive safely. I was just curious about what happens in real life relative to these situations because during my previous trips I saw a lot of locals and tourists drinking on the go. Thanks again!
It is not illegal to drink and drive. It is illegal to drive WHILE drinking or drive when impaired AFTER drinking. On STJ it is also stupid.
But let’s be realistic. You’re out to dinner, you’re on vacation, you’re going to have a cocktail or two and maybe wine with dinner. Look at the people at other tables, think they’re all taking taxis back? Just use your head and figure you’ll need even more of your wits about you given the unfamiliar terrain. Frankly, that’s why we tend to cook in most nights and avoid the whole issue.
Most drunk drivers think that they can drive safely. They really don't realize how impaired they are. The people who drive when they feel they cannot drive safely are not called drunk drivers, they're called suicides. The designated driver is such a simple concept. The idea of not driving after drinking is so simple. What we're talking about is public safety. Since I may have to share the road with you, I'd hope that you would respect my safety and not drive if you drink. It's just safer that way and why take chances?
The terrain of the islands presents driving challenges that many stateside drivers have no experience with whatsoever such as steep inclines, hairpin turns, highly confusing intersections, etc., etc. Also, most of the roads are narrower than stateside roads and in many places they have little or no shoulder. (It can get real tricky when you have a large truck going around a sharp curve and crossing the yellow line because he has to and you have very little room to get out of his way.)
Bottom line is that driving here is a totally different experience and IMHO it takes some practice to get comfortable with it.
My husband and I were driving on STJ one day without a drop of alcohol in our blood. Suddenly as we were going around a very sharp curve, a car came at us head-on. I don't know if the driver had been drinking, had simply forgotten to drive on the left, or a combination of both. However, my husband needed to rely on his quick reflexes to avoid what probably would have been a fairly serious accident. If my husband had had even a drink or two, he might not have been able to respond as quickly as he did.
Highly challenging roads + Sharing the road with "the other guy" who can be quite unpredictable at times = The need for extreme caution while driving on any of these islands.
If at all possible, I vote for drinking during a time when you won't have to do any driving at all :)!
Be careful, but enjoy :). Island driving can actually be quite fun!
unfortunately people do drink and drive and they KILL ohters while doing it. All that matters is that people get killed by drunk drivers. who cares what may be technically allowed by a local law. I don't mean to attack you, but why even ask a question? What if someone has just one drink and gets into an fatal accident. A lives are lost and more lives are destroyed because someone wanted to have a drink or hold a beer while driving
My goodness. I was really just wondering what would happen to all of the people that I saw drinking and driving Jeeps, if they were to get stopped by the police. I saw so many people doing it that I thought maybe there weren't laws prohibiting it.
I did not have and still do not have any intention of driving while impaired. I'd like to make it home from my trip alive. Having driven the island a couple of times before, I understand the driving conditions. However, I hope the other members of my group don't see the detailed, terrifying descriptions -- I'm sure they'll want to cancel the trip! 🙂
Like many before me, I'm sorry I asked a question about the island out of simple curiousity. At least I didn't ruffle any feathers by asking about meat. hee hee 😉
Because they are answering a question. It is not against the law to drink and drive in St. John’s. Or as you spell it in your country -Against-Whatever your moral objections the question didn’t say is it advisable to drink and drive. Keep your opinion to yourself. Just answer the question or shut up