Sun, 10 Dec 2023

Driving abroad can be exciting, but it can also be nerve-wracking. Between traffic jams, unfamiliar road signs, and the strange driving habits of other drivers in other countries, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed during your trip.

When picking up your car and driving abroad, you hope for the best, but you expect the worst, as road accidents occur in over 27 countries every day.

Whether you're traveling for work or pleasure, the chances of running into trouble on a foreign road are high.

Even if you're a seasoned traveler, things like getting pulled over by authorities or being in an accident can go awry.

When it comes to driving abroad, extra caution should always be taken. If you're driving abroad for the first time, here are some helpful tips to keep yourself safe and sane. The more prepared you are, the less anxiety you are likely to experience.

So, before you leave, here are 8 driving tips to help smooth your trip.

1.  International Driving Permit

Driving abroad is a fantastic experience and a great way to explore a new place. However, before you book that rental car, it's essential to make sure that you have all the necessary documents and permits to drive in the destination country legally. One such document is the International Driving Permit (IDP).

Many countries require an IDP for foreigners to drive within their borders legally. It is important to check the local laws of the country you will be driving in to ensure you comply with their regulations. You can visit the country's tourism website for the most up-to-date information.

Having an IDP can be a lifesaver if you get pulled over by the police. Without an IDP, you can face stiff fines or even jail time. If you plan to drive in a foreign country, you must carry an IDP. Check the country's tourism website or contact their local automobile association to find out if you need an IDP to drive in the destination country.

2. Check local driving laws

Driving in an unfamiliar place can be both exciting and nerve-wracking. Before you hit the road, whether across the country or the ocean, it's important to know and understand the local driving laws. Failing to understand the rules of the road can put you in a very dangerous situation, so make sure to take the time to research and understand what's expected of you before you get behind the wheel.

When driving abroad, you must familiarize yourself with all the internationally recognized road signs and any country-specific signs. For example, in Norway, all drivers must drive on the left side of the road. If you're not used to this, it can be a bit disorienting, so make sure to take the time to get comfortable with the streets before you take off.

In addition to understanding the local driving laws, you should also be aware of the speed limits, the type of headlights you need to use during the day, and any unique signs and signals. For example, some countries may require you to use headlights during the day, but daytime headlights aren't necessary for other countries.

Reading the local driving laws before you get behind the wheel is always a good idea. This will not only help you stay safe on the roads, but it will also help you avoid any potential penalties and fines. To ensure a smooth experience, make sure you do your research and understand the local laws before you hit the road.

As per Teoriappen, "When driving abroad, it's important to remember that local driving laws must be respected. Not only do they keep us safe, but they also provide us with an opportunity to understand better the culture of the place we're visiting. Also, obeying the local driving laws is essential for safe and responsible driving abroad. Local laws provide the system for drivers to share the roads safely and protect against dangerous behavior such as speeding, ignoring traffic signals and drunk driving."

3. Hire cars from reputable companies

One of the most important things to consider is to hire your car from a reputable company. Booking ahead of time will help you get a better selection of vehicles and ensure you get the type of car that best suits your needs.

Many airports have a limited selection of rental cars, so booking ahead will ensure you get the car you want. Not only that, but you'll avoid the hassle of being stuck with a vehicle that's not right for your trip. That could mean waiting for a car to become available or getting a different type of car than you originally wanted.

But why is it important to book from a reputable company? First, these companies will offer more reliable vehicles and a better selection. If you're relying on a rental car to take you to your destination, you want to ensure that it's reliable and safe. A reputable company will provide you with that peace of mind.

Check the rental company's reviews and ratings. Check websites like Google and TripAdvisor to see what past customers have said about their experience. If the reviews are primarily positive, you can feel safe renting from the company.

It is also important to read the terms and conditions of the rental company. Make sure that you understand all the details, such as what kind of extra fees may be charged and how long you can return the car.

4. Make Sure You Have Rental Car Insurance Coverage

One important thing to keep in mind when planning a road trip is the need for rental car insurance coverage. Nearly every country requires some insurance, so you know the local insurance laws and you're covered!

Before you even start looking at car rentals, make sure you have the right insurance coverage. Most car rental companies require you to have at least third-party insurance before considering renting a car. Third-party insurance covers the damages you may cause to other people or property while driving. Beyond that, consider additional coverage such as collision and comprehensive coverage.

If you don't have any of these types of coverage, you may want to look into travel insurance. Travel insurance can help you get extra coverage, whether traveling within your own country or abroad. This can help cover potential medical expenses or damages in an accident or theft.

5. Find Your Way

If you're planning a trip abroad, navigation is the key to a successful and safe journey. Knowing where you're going and how to get there is essential - but it's also important to remember that you should never rely on following a route blindly. Doing so can end up with you in a sticky situation or, worse, lost!

The best way to ensure you're prepared for a trip abroad is to check the routes in advance and plan your journey accordingly. Selecting the best route can help you avoid traffic jams and potentially unsafe areas, and it can also help you make the most of your time and activities.

A GPS satellite navigation system is a great way to help you navigate overseas. These handy devices will provide you with up-to-date information on your route, including any changes that may have occurred. They'll also give you an idea of the best route and the estimated time it'll take you to get to your destination.

Though GPS systems are beneficial, having printed maps with you is also important. If you ever have any difficulties, you can always refer to these for a better understanding of the roads and potential pitfalls.

Navigation is the most significant help for you when you're driving abroad, but it's also important to remember that you should never rely on following a route blindly. Before hitting the roads, check the routes in advance and ensure you've selected the best route for yourself. If you ever face difficulties, don't hesitate to ask for help. A GPS satellite navigation system and printed maps are essential tools for a successful and safe overseas trip.

6. Check the Weather

The weather can significantly impact the safety and success of any journey. Heavy rain or snow can cause slippery surfaces and reduce visibility, making driving especially hazardous in unfamiliar conditions. Checking the requirements before you hit the road can help to reduce the risk of accidents or delays.

A great tip for driving abroad is to check the weather in advance. This can be done quickly with a simple internet search or weather app. Knowing the weather conditions can help to inform your journey planning and can help you to make sure you're prepared for any potential weather-related issues.

It is also important to check for potential road closures or diversions due to adverse weather. This information can be found online or through traffic reports or apps. Knowing about potential diversions or closures can help you plan your route effectively and to make sure you stay safe during your journey.

7. Limit Per Day Driving Distance

When driving long distances, it's important to take frequent breaks. Taking breaks will help you stay focused, alert, and refreshed to enjoy your trip. Take a few minutes to stop, stretch your legs, and refuel every few hours. This will help you stay focused and energized while you're on the road.

It's also important to remember that you will only be able to see some things in a single day. Instead of squeezing your entire trip into a single day, plan your route and stops. This way, you can enjoy the journey as much as the destination.

On average, driving at most 400 km per day is recommended. This lets you have a relaxed drive and enough time for impromptu stops here and there. You can also have time for coffee breaks and other activities that will make your road trip even more enjoyable.

When driving in fog, the best tip is to drive cautiously, be aware of your surroundings, and trust your gut. Drive slowly, stay focused, and use your headlights in foggy weather to make sure the road ahead is clear.

8. Safety

We all know that safety is a top priority when traveling and renting a car is no exception. Unfortunately, risks and dangers are always lurking in the shadows, and it is important to know how to protect yourself while driving around a foreign country.

The most important advice is never to drink and drive. As surprising as it may sound, this is still common in many countries, and you should never risk it. Always make sure to have a designated driver or use public transportation instead. Always use your seat belt while driving. This is true, especially if you are driving in a foreign country, where roads and traffic laws might differ from back home.

Make sure to lock your car correctly when you leave it. Whether you are simply parking it on the street or in a parking lot, you should always take the necessary precautions to protect yourself and your belongings. It is always wise to keep emergency contacts saved in your phone. This way, should the worst happen, you will have the necessary contact information to seek help.

In the event of an accident while driving abroad, According to, "it is essential to enlist the help of an attorney to ensure your legal rights are protected and that you receive the compensation you deserve."

Key takeaways

Driving abroad can be a great experience and full of potential risks. To stay safe and enjoy your journey, it is important to be aware of the different rules and regulations of the country you are visiting and the various driving habits of other drivers. Following the tips outlined in this article can help ensure the safety of yourself and your passengers while you are on the roads of a foreign country. With preparation and caution, you can enjoy driving abroad without stress or worry.

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