Posted: November 4, 2013 in Uncategorized

Heartline Ministries

Driving in Haiti


 Initially, and even longer, it may seem to you that driving in Haiti is like the demolition derby or like a swarm of bees buzzing around.   But don’t worry, after a few days, you’ll fit right in with the rest of Haiti’s drivers.  Below are several suggestions to help you as you learn the art of driving in Haiti.

 1. Be sure that your driver’s license, and the insurance and plates for the vehicle are current.  And be sure that you have your license with you when driving.

 2. Police checks are common and generally the police want to see your license and the vehicle’s papers (insurance and registration).  If the papers are expired, you very likely will get a ticket.

 3. Tickets can be given for a number of reasons and recently Heartline folks have received tickets for: Not using the seatbelt/talking on cell phone while driving/having lights out.  If you get a ticket, the police will take your license until the ticket is paid.

 4. If in an accident, don’t panic and don’t allow yourself to be intimidated by the driver of the other vehicle or by those who have gathered around.  Call us for help.  Do not, if in an accident with significant damage, move the vehicle unless instructed to do so by the police or by an official from insurance.

 5. Use your horn

 6. When making a left hand or right hand turn, ALWAYS check your side mirrors.  Vehicles, motos, and bicycles, will often pass you on the side that you will be turning, even if your blinker is on or even if you are hand signaling like a wild person.

 7. Be sure of what fuel the vehicle uses: Diesel or Gasoline.  And check the dollar amount pumped before you pay.

 8. Be aware of what is happening around you.  A vehicle that has its right blinker on only means that the right blinker on.  The driver could turn left.

 9. If the vehicle has an issue, or if you have an accident, please let the Heartline office know.

 10. Vehicles are expensive; please drive carefully.

 11, Lastly, remember in Haiti it doesn’t matter until it matters and then it matters. You may be stopped for not having a seatbelt on as one hundred cars pass on by without the drivers’ having their seatbelts on. Well, for you, at that moment it mattered.  When the police stop you DO NOT ACT ANGRY OR RUDE, just go with the flow, and be polite.  Most time the stop is just routine, others times it may matter.

 QUIZ:  (20% is the required passing rate)

1. If a driver has his arm out the window and is signaling as if he will turn left, what does that mean:

a. He will turn left

b. He will turn right

c. The window is open

d. He will go straight


2. How many people can fit in a taptap:

a. 25

b. One more

c. 20



3. When driving, make sure that the vehicle has:

a. A motor

b. A steering wheel

c. Brakes

d. A horn


4.  A rock is used for:

a. An emergency brake

b. A hammer

c. To put under the jack when jacking up the vehicle

d. All of the above


5. Some of the best entertainment to be found in Haiti is:

a. When stuck in a big time traffic jam

b.  At the theater

c.  On television

d.  At a concert


ANS:  1-C, 2-B, 3-D, 4, D, 5-A

  1. Gail says:

    Having lived in Haiti for almost 7 years, while reading this article, all I could think was how right on it is!!! My first ride in Haiti found me wondering if I would survive to the evening. I almost wore a hole in the floor board of the passenger side slamming on my “brake!” I did learn to relax and eventually drive in Haiti. Gratefully, I never hit anyone or got hit. Thanks for the article…..it made me miss Haiti!

  2. butlermc47 says:

    Terrific. Funny and true.

  3. karen canniff says:

    ;loved the question about how many people can fit in a taptap one more. how true that is

  4. Agnes says:

    One of my favorite things to do when I lived in Haiti was to drive! Mostly because I like the idea of driving in a demoliton derby without actually being in one! Got 100 percent on the test. :o)

    • John says:

      Driving should be an experience and I must say that almost every time I drive I have experiences. I experience close calls, giant potholes, traffic jams…. 100% bravo!

  5. I thought this was going to be all in fun, but you had lots of practical advice as well! Thank you and I also got 100:)

  6. Eric Rather says:

    I was in Haiti for the first time last July, and was immediately stunned by the driving conditions. I have never seen anything quite like it. That being said, I am proud to announce that I ACED this test!!! I can’t wait to go back to Haiti, but I think I will still leave the driving to someone else.

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