Driving in a foreign country for the first time can be a daunting experience, given the differences in signage, road laws, and speed limits.
Moreover, some countries drive on the right, others on the left, not to forget the variations in speed limits and measurements— some quote it in Km/h, and others in M/ph. As such, it’s easy to feel nervous and confused when driving abroad, especially on European roads.
But it doesn’t have to be stressful. When you have a grasp of everything expected of you plus a little practice, driving abroad can be a breathtaking experience. We have prepared these tips to help you drive safely abroad.
1. Know the Laws and Speed Limits
Laws differ from one country to another, so make sure to familiarize yourself with the driving laws in the country you’re visiting.
Pay close attention to signage and speed limits in particular. Did you know that carrying a spare tire, a reflective jacket, and a warning triangle is compulsory in Spain? Or that the maximum speed on motorways and dual-carriageways in Spain is 120km/h?
Also, make sure to check on child drive regulations as well as drink-drive limits (although it’s better not to drink and drive in a foreign country).
2. Carry the Required Documentation
Failure to carry the required documents can attract hefty fines in Europe.
Some rules are the same across Europe. Carry your driver’s license and an International Driving Permit (IDP) where necessary. In addition to your driving license, you may be asked to produce your original vehicle registration document—especially if the car has a personalized registration. Make sure to bring one along.
If you’re driving a borrowed or hired car, you will need a letter of authority from the registered keeper, so make sure to bring that as well.
3. Familiarize Yourself with the Vehicle You’re Driving
As they say, it’s better safe than sorry. Before you hit the roads, spend some quality time with the vehicle and familiarize yourself with it.
Find out where the controls are and make sure everything, (including the mirrors) is in the right position. Also, it’s recommended to do a test drive in a quiet park as it can help you acquaint yourself with the auxiliary controls.
4. If Possible, Get an Automatic
Getting an automatic can be more expensive than a manual vehicle but it makes things easier for you. With no clutch or manual gear-changing to divert your attention, you can concentrate more on the road. If you haven’t driven an automatic car before, it’s advisable to hire one before traveling abroad and familiarize yourself with the basics.
5. Consider Taking an Advanced Driving Course
An advanced driving course can help you become a better driver so it’s a great idea to take one. Among other things, it will help you improve your position, speed, and control which can go a long way in improving your confidence level as a driver.
Taking such courses before you travel abroad can help you feel more prepared to drive in foreign countries. You can apply for online classes on sites such as Driving Guide and enhance your driving knowledge.
We hope these tips help to prepare you for driving abroad. Feel free to comment and share.