If you’ve never driven abroad before, the idea of driving on the wrong side of the road or getting lost in a country where you don’t speak the language can be a little scary. Here are a few tips if you’re ready to take your sense of adventure to the next level.
Before you catch a plane to your dream location, you should do a little research on driving internationally. Checking road conditions and laws in the country of your choice can give you peace of mind. In addition, you should secure IDs and auto insurance before you take off.
Research International Driving Permits for Driving Abroad.
In most countries, it is illegal to drive without a license, just like in the U.S. While some countries will recognize a valid U.S. driver’s license, it’s a good idea to get an International Driving Permit (IDP) as well. This internationally-recognized form of identification, when carried along with your U.S. driver’s licence, will allow you to travel from country to country. It also allows you to meet the U.N.’s requirements for travel set way back in 1949. To get one, you must be a permanent resident of the U.S., be over 18, and have a valid U.S. driver’s license. The best thing about this ID? There’s no written or driving test involved, and it’s inexpensive, generally costing about $20.
Even if you never get behind the wheel, picking up an IDP might be worth it. It’s recognized in over 150 countries, and it can provide a valid, easily accepted form of identification as a fail-safe in case you need it.
Double-Check Auto Insurance Requirements for Your Destination.
Unless you’re driving to Canada, your U.S. auto insurance policy will not cover you when you travel. So, you’ll want to secure a valid insurance policy in your destination country. Your credit card or rental company may offer insurance options you can use abroad. However, keep in mind that if you are crossing borders, the insurance policy you purchase may not be enough! Educate yourself first, and make sure you’re covered before you set sail.
Get Familiar with the Rules of the Road in Your Destination Country.
If you haven’t driven abroad before, you’ll soon discover that the rules of the road, whether officially on the books or unspoken, may be different! A little familiarization can go a long way.
Ascertain, first of all, if drivers use the right or left lane. If you need to drive on the opposite side of the road, consider spending some time in the parking lot getting used to the gears before you drive. Because it might be hard to acclimate yourself to the change, be sure to give yourself plenty of time to get from point A to point B.
Be sure to get maps as well and read up on the area, especially if you plan to drive in rural parts of the country. The roads may not be well marked. Finally, watch your alcohol intake. It’s never safe to drink and drive. Plus, the legal blood-alcohol limits in some countries are awfully strict.
Above all, be patient, prepared, and sensitive to other cultures. Stick to the slow lane and don’t get too flustered by customs that are different than yours.
Want to Take Your Own Car With You? We Can Help.
Remember, if you prefer to drive your own car in a foreign country, PreOwned can help get it there. Give us a call for information about international car shipping!