Learning to Drive
I am considering relocating to St. Thomas, and I am starting to get nervous about driving - how hard is it to get used to the left side, and what do people drive like? I am a wonderful driver with a good track record, but "wonderful" in the sense that I go the speed limit and am considerate. Is it crazy driving and fast paced around hills and stuff? I'll be living in the Red Hook area, so if you could answer specifically to that area...that'd be great! Thanks so much 🙂
I live on St. Croix, so I can't give you advice regarding the Red Hook area, however, I can tell you my experience. I was pretty apprehensive about driving on the left, but someone said to me always remember to keep your left arm in the ditch. That seemed to help. Also, it used to take me 30 minutes to get from my house to Christiansted--now it takes me 15 mins. You really get used to the curves and hills and will be whipping around them in no time.
The drivers on St. Croix are pretty polite--we have a habit of stopping and letting cars in from the side roads, let people turn right, etc, I don't know if it's the same in St. Thomas--I think it's quite a bit more congested there as opposed to St. Croix.
Best wishes! KJ
You'll do fine. Just concentrate when you make turns because you tend to automatically go in the other lane or when you turn into parking lots. It'll be second nature in no time.
you've made me feel better Trade. thx!
You're welcome & for the most part, you don't drive really fast here anyway so it's not like you're going to be on a freeway. Don't be surprised if cars stop in the middle of the road to talk to pals or pass you with a yellow line in the road. That said, most drivers are very courteous about letting you onto the road, etc.
I agree with what's been said but let's not make this a total cake walk. There are plenty of things you need to be alert for on STT. Red Hook should not present too much of a problem for you.
Parking lots and U turns - I was warned about these and darned if it wasn't true for me - you'll frequently end up in the wrong lane when you first start out. Extra caution should be exercised.
Many places have no shoulders. Huge rocks (actually part of the mountain) are hiding in the grass, DON'T leave the roadway.
Lots of folks negotiate the twisty roads doing racing turns. Taxis are notorious for this. They come around blind turns partly in your lane and your lane is narrow to begin with. Be alert.
Drunk drivers - day and night although worse after dark.
Some of the hills are very steep. Have your brakes serviced often and make sure your emergency brake works. If you're considering driving a standard, you need to be DAMN good with a clutch.
Roads flood after brief downpours. Lots of rocks and gravel wash into the roadway.
If it's been dry for a while and you get a light rain, the roads can be darn near as slippery as driving on ice from all the oil that has built up on the roads.
Again, you should be OK in the Red Hook area. As you start to explore, don't be nervous, just be cautious - especially along the north shore.