If you’re driving in a different country, it’s important to stay safe on the roads. From different laws to changing conditions, it’s essential to know what you’re dealing with. Research and prepare before you go, and follow these tips to help you stay safe when driving abroad:
1. Know the laws
Different countries have different legal requirements. Some require you to carry a spare pair of glasses or contact lenses, whilst others make it a legal obligation to carry a breathalyser or fire extinguisher. Check before you travel, and fill your car with everything that’s legally required.
You can research the laws, requirements and drink driving limits for the country that you’re planning to drive in. If you’re a young driver, make sure that you are legally old enough to drive in your chosen country!
2. Expect different weather
Research the climate of the country you’re visiting. It’ll help you to know what to expect, but you can’t completely rely on statistics. Be prepared for changeable weather. Prepare your vehicle with these in mind.
It’s important to check that your vehicle is ready for snow, ice, and bright sunshine. Your car should be able to handle whatever the weather can throw at it. From little things like checking your screenwash level to making sure that your headlights are working, there are many things to do before you start driving abroad.
Drivers are 30 times more likely to be seriously injured in rain than in snow, so don’t assume that you’re in safer conditions just because the roads don’t look icy.
3. Keep your doors locked
Crime happens everywhere. When you’re driving, keep your doors locked to avoid the risk of hijacking when you come to a stop. If you need to stop the car, do this in a built-up public space.
Plan routes that keep you close to main roads. An off-the-beaten-track road trip might sound wonderfully adventurous, but it also leaves you at risk of losing your way or ending up in a less safe location.
4. Check your insurance
If the worst should happen when you’re driving abroad, check that your insurance will cover you. Your existing policy may provide coverage for you as a driver overseas, but you’ll need to check the small print to make sure.
If you’re driving a different vehicle, there’s a good chance that you’ll need some additional insurance. If you’re in any doubt, call your insurer and clear things up before you go.
5. Use an updated sat-nav
To help you find your way around foreign roads, use a GPS device. Satellite navigation systems are incredibly useful, but only if they’re very up to date.
Make sure that you’ve updated your sat-nav before you use it for driving abroad. Any outdated information could put you at risk, whether you’re directed to a road that no longer exists or informed of an incorrect speed limit.
Always remember to keep an eye on road signs, rather than trusting your device alone. Even the most high-tech sat-nav gadget can let you down when you’re driving. Treat your sat-nav as an assistant, rather than an infallible navigator. With 15% of sat-nav users making risky manoeuvres to correct mistakes, it’s better to keep going and let your sat-nav reroute if you think that you’ve gone the wrong way.
When you’re driving abroad, stay safe by knowing the rules of the road. Though many things are common sense, and the same when you’re driving at home, those little differences could completely change your driving experience in another country.
To read more on topics like this, check out the Travel Tips Category.