Essential Things To Know When You Drive Abroad


Driving abroad can be difficult at the best of times. There are many things to consider before you go in order to ensure a smooth road trip. Local laws and speed limits, top tips for driving on either side of the road, keeping safe, what to do if you’re pulled by police or get in an accident. This essential checklist will tell you what you need to know when you drive abroad.

Brown campervan on the road

Photo by paje victoria

First of all, there is the possibility of having to read road signs in a different language. Then there will be all sorts of customs that you might not be aware of, simply because you need to know about them in advance. Add to that those times when you are driving on the other side of the road, and before you know it, everything can become very confusing indeed.

If you are due to drive abroad at some point in the near future, there are a lot of things that you should bear in mind in order to make it easier, safer, and less stressful. Let’s take a look at some of those right now.

Campervan road trip in New Zealand, south island

You Need To Research

First of all, you should make sure that you are researching what you need to know about the specific destination where you will be driving. When setting out on a road trip, driving the right car, SUV or campervan can make all the difference.  If you fail to do this, there is every chance that you will end up breaking some rules without meaning to, or even putting yourself in danger. Every country is different, and sometimes states or regions within a country will vary too, so remember that this can be very localised indeed. The more you research about the rules of a specific place, the more equipped you will be to drive there.

Take Your Driving License

Even if you don’t usually need to have your license in your home country, you should take it with you when you go abroad if you are hoping to drive a car. That’s because some countries might demand that you see it when you are driving and pulled over, or when you hire a car for example. You should also check beforehand that your license is accepted in the country you are traveling in. In some places, you might need to apply for an international driving permit instead, so it’s best to take care here and plan ahead so you don’t get caught out.

Fiat 500 C S Convertible city car

Consider Taking Your Own Car

In some cases, you might be able to take your own car, and when that is possible this is something that you might want to do in preference to other options. After all, having your own car means you are driving a vehicle that you already know well, and that in itself makes driving much easier and less dangerous. You can also ensure that you know which car is yours. Bear in mind you might need to change plates in some countries, so be sure to look for Number Plates for sale if you do need to do that, so you can get a good deal early on.

Check Your Insurance

On top of all that, you will also need to make sure that your insurance is appropriate for the country you are driving in. If you are hiring a car, you might also need extra insurance for that – or in some cases, you might be able to use the hire company’s own insurance, which may or may not be included in the cost of the hire. If you fail to get insured, you could not only land yourself in serious legal trouble, but you could end up in real financial straits if you end up in an accident too. You never know if you might have an accident, so it’s important that you keep on top of this documentation as best as you can, and as early as you can, to avoid any trouble that you might otherwise come across.If you ever are involved in an accident, be sure to contact a car and motorcycle accident lawyer immediately.

Hiring A Car

Hiring a car is one of the best ways to drive abroad, but you need to make sure that you are doing it right. First of all, make sure that you shop around for the different providers in the city you are visiting, as it might be that some are clearly better than others. You will also need to think about looking at the small print, or asking an advisor about it. Some companies, for instance, will ask you to put down a huge deposit, whereas others might just ask for a small upfront payment on hold. It’s important that you know about what you are expected to do here, so you don’t get caught out in any way.

Fiat 500 red car in Monti neighbourhood, Rome, Italy

Have A Breakdown Plan

You should do this whether you are driving at home or abroad really, but it’s especially important abroad. From time to time, cars breakdown – it’s just something that happens. When it does, you need to have a clear and detailed plan of what you will do in order to ensure your safety and to get through the situation as easily as possible. This is something that you should work out before you travel, so that you and your travel companions are clear on the plan. You might be surprised at how much this can help if the situation arises.

Stay Calm When You Drive

When you do start driving, it’s easy to get stressed out because you are in another country. But this is just pointing to the fact that you need to do all you can to remain calm. Being calm is hugely important if you want to keep safe, so even if it is hard to do you should make sure that you are going to try your hand at it as best as you can. This is vital, and could make all the difference in the world when you are driving abroad.

An empty road in Yosemite national park, USA

Practice First

If possible, take your car for a short spin around the block or in the local area before taking it on a longer trip. It’s good to get some practice in, especially if you are driving on the other side of normal. You might want to do this a few days before you are due to drive, if possible. You should find that this is a very effective means of being able to feel more confident about your driving, so that is something to think about too.

Disclaimer: this is a collaborative post.

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