What to Know Before Driving Abroad
October 19th, 2020 by Fix Auto USA
When you imagine traveling abroad, you probably picture yourself at the Eiffel Tower, in front of the Pyramids, or even better, kicking back on a sandy beach with a tropical beverage in hand.
But here’s the rub: Driving in a foreign country can be very stressful if you are not familiar with the roads, the language, the weather, and most importantly, the rules of the road. If you are not prepared, in best case scenario, you will spend a good chunk of time getting lost and being sneered at by the locals. Worst case, being unprepared makes a car accident much more likely, and that’s a surefire way to ruin your picture-perfect trip abroad. The way to avoid this scenario is to research your destination before you leave for your trip thoroughly. The rules for driving abroad vary from country to country.
Here a few things to consider:
Not every country drives on the right side of the road like we do in America. As you plan your trip, find out what countries drive on the right versus the left side of the road, so you will know what to expect.
When you’re researching different countries and destinations, look into whether having a driver’s license and passport is all you need to drive.
How to get international driver’s license
In some countries, you may need to get an international driver’s license or permit. This license is basically a replication of your U.S. driver’s license, but adapted for use in another country. You should be able to get one at your local AAA for a minimal fee. An international driver’s license is usually not needed if you are driving Europe, but it can vary depending on the country.
How to avoid collisions when driving abroad?
Here are some ways you can minimize the chances of getting into a car accident when you are driving abroad:
Store a local map in your glove compartment
It’s important to know where you are going. When you are lost or indecisive, that’s when accidents happen. Don’t rely on your smartphone’s navigation app. Who knows how well it will even work in that part of the world or how expensive the cellular network fees will be? This is where having an old-school physical map of the area you are visiting could prove invaluable.
Know the rules
When the rules of the road are not followed, accidents are more likely to happen. Take time to research the local laws that regulate driving. For starters, what is the speed limit, what lane do they drive in, and can you turn right on a red light? Also, what are the informal rules of the road that everyone follows even though they’re not written down in a statute?
Avoid driving in inclement weather
Driving in the rain at night in Paris may sound romantic, but avoid it if you can. Driving in the rain in general always increases the potential for a collision with another car; driving in the rain in a foreign country that’s unfamiliar creates even a bigger risk.
Avoid driving at night
If you are worried about the potential of a car accident ruining your trip abroad, then it’s a good idea to be extra cautious. Don’t take it out at night. Driving at night is always more challenging, and it is much easier to make a mistake that could result in an unfortunate collision. Use your car for day trips and plan to take a cab or use a local ridesharing service for the night out.
Don’t drive impaired
Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is never okay, and in a foreign country it could very well lead to a vacation-ending car accident. Even a small amount of alcohol can impair your vision and coordination. Don’t drink and drive at home and certainly not in another country. If you want to go out and party, better to walk into town or call a taxi.
The more familiar you are with the road’s local rules, the more confident you will be driving in a foreign country. This helps minimize the risk of an accident and gives you peace of mind, which is what a vacation is all about, right?
This blog post was contributed by Fix Auto Lindon, a leading industry expert and collision repair shop serving Lindon and Utah County.
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