What You Need to Know For Driving in a Foreign Country

Driving into the Sunset

While traveling abroad, you need to consider how you will travel from one point to another in your destination county. Some travelers like to have freedom in traveling and they don’t want to deal with pesky train timetables, overly crowded buses, and frustrating cabs. If you’re one of those, getting a car from a rental company will be your best bet. Although it is all exciting and fun, it comes with a few risks that you should be well aware of. Different countries have different driving and traffic rules. For instance, in Australia, if you plan to work on traffic-related work you need to attend a traffic controller course, but for driving all you need is a driving license and know-how of certain driving rules.

International Driving Permit

Although you will be required to keep your domestic driver’s license with you while you embark on your dream journey. You should also keep an international driving permit with you. An international driving permit is a document that contains information from your domestic driver’s license translated into other languages. However, all the rental companies may not ask for your international driving permit, but you will need to present it to the police in case of an accident or when filing an insurance claim.

Your driver’s license may not be valid in all countries. Therefore, you need to check your country’s embassy webpage as the information keeps updating there. Your driver’s license validity also depends on the visa status that allows you to drive for a certain time period then you have to apply for a local license.

Right-Side vs. Left-Side Driving

Most of the countries have different driving sides. For example, Thailand drives on the left while its neighboring countries drive on the right side. Similarly, China drives on the right side while Hong Kong drives on the left side.  

If you’re traveling by road to one of your neighboring countries, you need to keep in mind and stay focused that you have to switch sides and the same goes for international driving as well. This will save you from hefty tickets.

Kind of Vehicle

As you may already know, there are two main kinds of car transmissions: Automatic and manual. Most of the countries rely on manual cars, and it is quite difficult to get an automatic car from a rental company.

If you are one of those drivers who can barely ride a manual car, you need to rethink your options or practice it in your home country as much as possible as it requires more knowledge and practice. Or you can contact your rental company and ask them what kind of cars they offer before you depart, so you’re well-prepared.

Different Driving Culture and Laws

Some countries may follow aggressive driving culture while others may think honking is disrespectful. It’s better to do some online research before you are ready to go behind the wheel in a foreign country. You wouldn’t want the aggressive drivers to keep honking and cussing at you while you’re patiently waiting for the poor four-legged creature to pass by.

Also, you should keep in mind the different laws like in some countries it’s illegal to eat or drink or answer your phone while driving and some require you to keep your headlights on even during broad daylight. Otherwise, you may be fined, or you won’t be able to leave the country until the ticket is paid. So, it’s best to learn some basic driving laws.

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