Tips For Driving In Other Countries
If you’re heading abroad and are planning to drive your own car or hire one it’s vital that you make a thorough check of the driving laws of the country you’re visiting to ensure you’re not hit hard by fines or worse.
What follows are some top tips for driving in other countries, but please make sure you complement these with some thorough research into the driving laws of the country or countries you will be driving through. It’s always better to be safe than sorry when behind the wheel on unfamiliar roads.
Let’s start with some tips on driving in Europe. The rich differences between the countries in the EU are something to be celebrated, but the differences in road laws can be a real headache! However, common sense plays an important role. Making sure all everyone wears their seat belt and the driver doesn’t drink any alcohol is a good start.
Likewise, ensuring you have all your documentation present and correct when driving abroad will keep you within the law. Here is a useful checklist:
- Have a full and valid driving licence with you, including a paper version if you have a photocard
- Carry the original vehicle registration
- Have your passport to hand
- Keep your motor insurance certificate close by, or the hire car documentation (original V5)
- You may also need to carry a visa and/or International Driving Permit in some countries
It’s always a good idea to have breakdown cover valid in the country you are driving in. Many European countries have toll roads that require a fee so keeping some loose change in the national currency is a smart way to be prepared. Always refrain from using a mobile phone when driving and make sure you’re compulsory GB sticker is prominently displayed.
It’s compulsory in many European countries to carry a reflective jacket and a warning triangle in the car at all times, so make sure you have them. Speed trap detection devices are illegal in many countries across the globe and are not a good idea. The fine for having one can be more than the speed ticket they are supposed to help you avoid. The answer is not to speed.
Check the internet for unusual signage flagged up for the country you are driving through. You really can’t have too much information and should share it with a passenger who can remind you.
If you’re crossing the Atlantic to the USA the pointers listed above apply. As with many countries in the EU, Americans drive on the right side of the road. Remember that each state has its own set of traffic laws and regulations. The US highway system can be quite complex and daunting so do your homework before attempting it.
There are some tolls and turnpikes, many of which are free, but keeping some loose change is a good idea. The speed limit in most of the states is 65 mph and traffic cops are quick to come down hard on drivers breaking the law.
The Australian outback can seem quite a challenge to even the most experienced drivers. One particular law to remember is that hitch hiking is illegal. At night time animals such as kangaroos can be attracted by car lights and road conditions can worsen during the wet season so take care.
It’s also important to be aware of fatigue if you’re the driver. The extreme heat can make it very difficult to concentrate, so be responsible and take regular breaks.
If you’re to be driving across Africa you must remember to have your passport stamped when crossing country borders and research the specific laws of each country you will be driving through. It’s crucial to be prepared for being stopped at an African roadblock.
Remain courteous, ask to see identification from the official and demand to be taken to the local police station if they can’t provide it. Needless to say, refrain from travelling during periods of unrest.
Follow these basic tips to stay within the law, but make sure you conduct some thorough research into the specific laws of the countries you will be driving through before embarking on your travels.
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