My Car Quest

May 22, 2024

Tips For Driving Internationally

When you love cars, it’s natural to want to spend time driving them as much as possible. This passion can be explored while overseas too, and gives you the chance to make your own way around new countries and see things you might miss if taking public transport or a tour bus.

However, it does pay to ensure you feel comfortable driving abroad, especially if on the other side of the road or with very different road rules to what you’re used to at home. Here are some tips to consider.

Check Legalities

No matter where you plan to hire a car, you need to be sure you’re allowed to do so. This goes for any car rental, Seattle airport, Vancouver city, the middle of Australia, wine regions of France, or anywhere in between. For example, many car rental firms will only allow drivers of a certain age (typically over 25 or 30) to hire a vehicle or drive one of their cars.

Don’t just assume that because you have a U.S. driver’s license that you’ll be fine to get behind the wheel in any country globally, either. Check with the nation’s embassy or tourism departments to find out for sure and learn about specific requirements for travelers who wish to drive while visiting. You may be able to use your U.S. license in foreign lands, but sometimes you also have to get an international driver’s permit as well. These usually must be organized well before you leave home, so don’t leave this task until the last minute.

Learn all the details of the local driving laws in the place(s) you’re headed, too. While there will be road signs to check out, these aren’t always clear, especially if you’re not in a country that speaks your language. Ensure you know which side of the road you have to drive on, the speed limits, special signs and signals, and rules about headlights during the day and drinking and driving.

Learn regulations regarding pedestrian crossings, cell phone usage, driving in snowy or other conditions, carrying valid documentation on you in the car, and more. Plus, look up local police and emergency numbers for the areas you’ll be driving in just in case you have an accident or run into other trouble. You might be required to keep particular emergency gear with you in your vehicle, too.

Don’t try to multitask while driving

A lot of people get behind the wheel thinking that they’ll listen to some music or make a phone call while driving. While this may seem like it’s no big deal, trying to multitask is actually one of the most dangerous things you can do when at the wheel, and you definitely don’t want to become a part of the Thanksgiving car accident statistics!

Your attention should be focused exclusively on driving ahead and staying aware of what other cars are doing around you so that you don’t drive into them or cause any accidents! If there’s something really important (and safe) for you to attend to in your car, pull over somewhere where it won’t affect traffic patterns before taking care of whatever needs your immediate attention.

Rent from a Reputable Car Hire Company

A vital component of staying safe and not having issues on a road trip is driving a reliable car. As such, be sure to rent a vehicle from a reputable car hire company. Don’t just go with the first business you spot at the airport where you land or that you see online, etc. Instead, do your due diligence and read reviews and testimonials.

To save yourself some money, it’s worth investigating if you can get any discounts via motoring groups you’re a member of or your credit card provider, airline or hotel loyalty programs, and the like. Often such organizations will partner with international car rental firms to give customers preferred offers.

Check Agreement Fine Print

Before signing on the dotted line with a car hire company, read over the fine print in their agreement carefully. Whether you do this digitally when booking online or in-person when at a shopfront, be on the lookout for potential extra charges such as fees for returning the vehicle late, not filling it up with gas, damaging it, driving in unusual terrains, going outside of a specific area, etc.

You must have proper insurance cover in case you’re in a car accident or the vehicle gets damaged some other way, too. Before paying extra for this service via the car rental firm, check if you have included cover on your credit card or via travel insurance. Also, look over the vehicle carefully before driving it out of the lot as there could be damage already on it that you need to have noted in your contract. You don’t want to give companies any opportunity to try to pin destruction on you later.

Take Time to Get Used to the Car

Another tip is to take your time getting used to the car you rent before you go too fast, drive in super busy areas, or go on winding roads or other challenging terrain. It’s better to sit in the slow lane for a while as you get used to how the vehicle performs and build up more confidence. You’ll need to spend some time understanding tech components such as the GPS, audio system, and the like, too. Do this before you get on the road.

Some other tips include choosing as small a car as possible so it’s easier to handle and park and carrying a physical road map with you in case technology stops working or you lose service. Thinking through and planning for all eventualities will help minimize the risk of anything going wrong when you’re driving internationally.


Photo by Ashley Fontana on Pexels

Tips For Driving Internationally
Article Name
Tips For Driving Internationally
It does pay to ensure you feel comfortable driving abroad, especially if on the other side of the road or with very different road rules to what you’re used to at home.

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