Driving Overseas

When traveling overseas, it’s a good idea to carry an International Driving Permit (IDP). The permit contains your name, photograph and other important information translated into ten languages, and is recognized as an official form of ID in more than 150 countries. This is useful even if you’re not planning to drive!

In order to obtain this, you must be the holder of a valid Jamaican Driver’s License. The request may be made at any Tax Collectorate where you will need to present your Driver’s License and a passport size photograph to the relevant officer. You will also be asked to fill out an application form. Once these criteria are filled, the International Driver’s License can be issued, and is valid for one year or until the Driver’s License expires, whichever is less. There is no extra cost to obtain an International Driver’s License.

Here are some more tips from the JAA, your worldwide travel companion, for you to keep in mind when driving overseas.

In an emergency, call:
In the USA: 1-800-AAA-HELP or (1-800-222-4357)
In Canada: Call 1-800-CAA-HELP/1-800-222-4357 OR *222 on your mobile phone
Anywhere in the European Union, call 112.

Check with automobile member clubs in other countries for the emergency numbers before you travel or when you just arrive. If renting a vehicle, request this information when they hand over your keys and information package.

Don’t leave handbags or other attractive items in view at any time, even when you are in the car.

Drinking and Driving
There is only one safe rule – if you drink, don’t drive. Laws are strict and the penalties severe in many countries. In addition, the lack of familiarity with your environment, combined with use of alcohol increases your risk of judgement errors on the road.

Credit Cards
Jamaican issued credit cards are not always accepted at stores or petrol stations in other countries. Check with the card company before you go, particularly if you plan to rely on the card for most payments.

Mobile phones
Use of a hand-held mobile phone while driving is prohibited in many countries.

Show Your Card and Save
A JAA personal membership card includes the ‘S‘ symbol on the reverse which gives access to hundreds of discounts in Europe, the USA and 50 other countries. See Discounts section.

Think right
Depending on which country you are in, it’s easy to forget to drive on the right, particularly after doing something familiar, such as leaving a petrol station or car park.

Don’t overload the vehicle as, safety risks apart, this can incur fines and possibly invalidate insurance.  Overloaded vehicles can also be affected by:

  • damaged suspension
  • burned out clutch
  • punctures or uneven wear on tyres

Speed-trap detection devices
The use or possession of devices to detect police radar is illegal in most European countries. Penalties can include fine, driving ban, and even imprisonment.
Some countries now also prohibit the use of GPS based navigation systems which have maps indicating the location of fixed speed cameras, meaning that you must deactivate the ‘fixed speed camera PoI (Points of Interest)’ function.

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