Nicaragua - Rules of the Road

Driving in Nicaragua is an extremely different experience than traveling across the US, and travelers and tourists should realize that before hitting the Nicaraguan roads. As a common rule, there are merely a small number paved roads, mainly main highways, and still those are not in good shape. Secondary roads, if you can even consider them as that, are not paved and rough, containing potholes and hazards, not lighted, and have no shoulder.

Driving in the nation is done on the right-hand side, like it is in the U.S. Visitors are warned that when choosing to visit Costa Rica or the Honduras during their stay in Nicaragua, they are to cross the borders at the main border-crossing sites, Las Manos and Penas Blancas. Traffic laws are extremely different in the country as well. Travelers involved in a wreck in which someone dies is immediately arrested until the cause of the accident can be discovered. You must never move a vehicle involved in the accident until the police get there or the liability consequently falls on the person who moved the vehicle.

As the government is devoting money for infrastructure, including upgrading roads and bridges, the rainy season keeps on taking its toll on the roads. Even the best roads in the nation contain hazards that can cause a wreck. Visitors to the nation are intensely directed to carry insurance, make sure their vehicle is in total compliance with Nicaraguan transit law and to continuously carry a cell phone should your vehicle gets stuck has engine trouble in the countryside. Even better, visitors are advised to hire a trained driver familiar with the roads in the country and let him drive you around. At no time ride on a public transit bus, as they are in poor shape and riddled with crooks.

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