Travelers that enjoy the open road are often seen driving in countries they’ve never been in. It’s fun to get lost and explore the world around you, but when driving laws are much different and you’re in a new location, it may also be a dangerous prospect.Four travel tips about how to have a safe road trip abroad.Check out this blog post to find my top tips about driving in a foreign country.
Driving is one of my favorite pastimes. When I went to Italy, I had a blast driving down the tight streets, avoiding people on scooters weaving in and out of traffic, and getting beeped at when stopped at a red light.
But there were a few things that I learned that I want to share with you.
1. Make Sure You Have Some Form of Insurance
Your insurance in your native country might not be acceptable in a foreign country. You need to call your insurance company to make sure that you have coverage. If you don’t have coverage, the rental company offering you a vehicle will almost always offer an insurance option.
Make sure that you’ve read all policies and insurance options so that you’re adequately covered in the event of an accident or vehicle theft.
An International Driving Permit may also be needed.
I had to get my International Driving Permit, which cost me around $20. I didn’t need to take a test or anything else, but it allowed me to drive legally when I was in Italy.
2. Plan for the Unknown
There are a lot of unknowns when you travel to a new country. Signage and language barriers are a major problem, so I highly recommend that you brush up on these topics before you get behind the wheel.
It’s scary when you see a new sign and have no idea what it means.
You’ll also need to be aware of other issues. Israel, for example, is known to have flash floods that the sewers can’t handle. Tourists have been known to drive right into these floods and get their vehicles stuck because they didn’t realize how deep the water was.
Research the driving conditions and signage before you plan on driving in any country that isn’t your own.
3. Carry a Map – Seriously
I’m lucky I can get to the grocery store without my phone, and when you’re in a new country, it’s very easy to get lost. Phone navigation are ideal, but they may not always be updated. Carry a map with you just in case.
All GPS and navigation systems always need to be updated, too.
For safety reasons, also share your planned route with friends or family. The idea is that if you get lost or something happens to you during your travel, the police or local authorities can use your route to try and help locate you.
4. Excitement Wears Off
The moment the plane lands or the boat arrives, it’s very exciting. You’ll be filled with energy, but this energy may wear off fast after a long journey. You’ll want to be cautious of:
- Driving tired
- Distracted driving
The NHTSA claims that over 100,000 collisions per year are a result of drowsy driving. It’s better to pull over and take a nap than to pull into traffic and cause a collision. Plan stops along your drive every 30 – 45 minutes, especially on your day of arrival, to allow yourself to wake up and stay alert.