For many visitors coming to Grenada, driving on the left side of the road may be intimidating.

The biggest difference is arguably not on the roads, but inside the car – it’s like Opposite World in there.

Not only are you driving on the “wrong” side of the road from what you’re used to, but all the controls are on the wrong side, too. The blinkers are where the light switch should be, the window controls where the radio should be, the mirrors – well, it’s hard even to describe what happens when you look into a rear-view mirror when everything is already backward.

If renting a vehicle while in Grenada, take these tips at heart:

Take it easy

There is defensive driving, and then there is extra-cautious “I don’t know which side of the road I am supposed to be on” driving; opt for the latter. If your defensive driving habits are generally solid, add another layer of care to your usual approach. If you tend to be an aggressive driver, this is a good time to press “pause” on habits like speeding, tailgating and weaving in and out of lanes.

Get to know the car

It’s always wise to familiarize yourself with the pedals, buttons and other operations of your rental car before pulling out of the lot, but it’s even more important if these functions are on the opposite side of where you expect them.

Be careful at the beginning of each day

The first few minutes in the car may be the most uncertain. After a few turns and maybe a roundabout, you feel more confident, but before then it’s almost like starting over each day.

Allow extra time

Even under normal driving conditions, many traffic accidents are caused by people who are in a rush. With your reaction time rendered unreliable by so many changes in variables, you could use a few extra minutes on almost all your drives, even short ones.

Don’t distract yourself

Driving while impaired is never a good idea, whether that means being drunk or tired, eating, fiddling with your phone or keeping an eye on a child in the back seat. Adding such distractions to the already challenging task of driving on the opposite side of the road is just asking for trouble.

Put your co-pilot to work

On a related note, have fellow passengers take on any tasks not directly related to operating the car, such as reading maps, changing radio stations, checking road signs and giving reminders at stop signs or traffic lights.

Beware the roundabout

Known as “traffic circles” in most other countries, roundabouts are all over the place in Grenada. Anyone who has driven on the opposite side of the road will tell you that circles are the single most confusing thing you will encounter; take these slowly and get your wits about you before entering one.

Be careful about pedestrians

The instinct for folks who drive on the right side of the road is to look right for pedestrians stepping into the street very close to the car. While driving on the left side of the road, it is pedestrians on your left who could step in front of your car unexpectedly.

Use caution with mirrors

Getting used to the mirrors may be the trickiest task you will face; everything is reverse of reverse. It can be jarring to look out the left-side mirror and see parked cars whizzing by.  When in doubt, turn around and look out the back window to get a direct, unmediated view of what’s actually happening.

Accept that you’ll make mistakes

You should assume you are going to make a mistake of some kind at some point and try to anticipate what you might do in that case. Freaking out, compounding the problem with another error, and succumbing to road rage are generally not your best options when you do. Instead, get yourself into a safe spot, and then figure out how to get yourself back on the correct side of the road.

Buy the insurance

Even if you normally don’t purchase insurance when renting a car, it’s not a bad idea when you are driving in Opposite World – if only to give you extra peace of mind. To learn more about your options, see COLLISION DAMAGE WAIVER on the Terms and Conditions.