Tips for Driving in Other Countries

Posted on by Defensive Driving | in Defensive Driving Online, Everyday Driver, Road Trips

 

 
There is nothing quite like traveling abroad and experiencing a new country, a new culture. And while some cities have excellent public transport, sometimes the only way to get around is to rent a car and drive yourself. However, when you are driving on unfamiliar roads, you can soon find out that there is a whole new set of driving rules and conventions to follow. So how do you make sure that you get around safely in a foreign country, and come home in one piece?

Booking a Rental Car

There is a good chance that your destination will have a similar rental car procedure to this country, but always, always, always book everything in advance. Whatever you can book and pay for ahead of time should be taken care of before you leave. Rental companies tend to jack up prices when you are there in person, and you’ll also have to deal in a foreign currency. You also want to look up rental car age limits and restrictions in that country.

international driving permits

A lot of English-speaking countries will allow you to drive for a limited period of time on your US license, but certain countries will require a International Driving Permit (IDP). It’s worth research whether you need one or not, and bear in mind that you’ll need to be at least 18.

check gas prices

When driving abroad, you may find that gas costs you a lot more than what you are used to. Do some research before you leave, and set aside a part of your budget for gas.

check driving laws

This is perhaps the most important thing to do before driving in a foreign country. Essential driving laws are usually the same from country to country, but there are always unique differences and even just driving customs that are specific to each nation, and it never hurts to know these ahead of time. You should also check the age limits, and make sure that you are old enough to drive in your destination.

know where you are going

These roads will be unfamiliar, and the signs will probably be in a different language, or maybe even less efficient than American signage. If you have one, bring a gps, or see if that is an option offered by your rental company. Bear in mind that you may not be able to use your phone in the given country, due to surcharges or poor reception. If all else fails, there is nothing like a good, old-fashioned map to fall back on.

err on the side of caution

If you are not sure that you have the skills to drive safely on foreign roads, perhaps it really isn’t for you. There are usually options for public transportation or, at the very least, taxi services available. At the very least, do some thorough research, but if you have any doubts, err on the side of caution.
 
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