Staying Safe While Driving Abroad
If you want to really experience a new country, hiring a car and getting off the beaten track is an excellent way to do it. The independence that a car gives you means that you can stay in more out of the way places.
Using websites like AirBnB gives you the option to find a nice bed for the night even in small villages, and do so in as many as 191 countries. At the time of writing this post, this accommodation website has listings in over 57,000 different, cities, towns and villages, and the lit is growing every day.
However, if you are going to hire a car and drive abroad you need to be careful. Unfortunately, every year, thousands of driver’s who are not used to driving in foreign countries have accidents, or mishaps. Most of them are not serious, but, sadly, some are. Either way you want to do what you can to avoid them happening to you, which is the main aim of this post
Learn the signs
One of the biggest mistakes foreign drivers make is assuming that the road signs in all countries are the same, or very similar. Whilst, some, like the stop sign are almost universally recognised, others mean something very different in each country. If you are going to drive in a new country you really should take 20 or 30 minutes to familiarise yourself with the local signs and road markings.
Understand the differences
It also makes sense to understand the main differences when it comes to the rules of the road. Doing so will stop you from responding in an unexpected way at a junction, which could cause a local driver to misinterpret what you are going to do, and crash into you. Usually the motoring organisations in your home country provide good guidance about driving in various countries, or parts of the world.
Hire your vehicle from a reputable firm
Hiring your car from a reputable firm that has a long and good reputation is always a good idea. You may have to pay extra, but it is worth it to make sure that you are driving a safe and road legal vehicle.
Do a safety check
In addition, you should always do a safety check when you pick up the car. This is the case even if you hire the vehicle from a good company. In most countries, you are responsible for making sure that what you are driving is roadworthy. Just like you would with your own car you should examine the tires for bald spots, check that the seat-belts are working, and test the brakes. If you hire a child car seat, make sure that it is secured properly.
When you are driving in a strange environment the fewer distractions you have to cope with the easier it is to stay safe. To help you with this it is always worth using some sort of GPS system. However, bear in mind that in some parts of the world the mapping is not yet comprehensive. As a result, it is worth having a paper map to use as a backup.