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Tips to Drive Abroad for the First Time

If you’ve never driven aboard before it can be quite intimidating. These tips are here to help you do so without such problems. 

Girl on car

If you’ve never driven aboard before it can be quite intimidating. These tips are here to help you do so without such problems.

  1. Familiarise Yourself With The Vehicle

Before driving abroad, it is a good idea to take some time and sit in your car for a bit then familiarize yourself with it.

Make sure you know where all the controls are and ensure the mirrors and the seat have been properly adjusted.

If you want to be more confident with your driving, drive around a quiet parking lot because you are going to practice auxiliary controls, which makes you familiar with the car.

This is important when you sit on the other side of the car or driving on the other side of the road. This is a good way of getting used to those new conditions.

  1. Advanced Driving Courses

You should consider taking advanced driving courses because they are going to improve your control, position, and speed depending on the road conditions and traffic. You will be a more confident driver after taking such courses.

When you take such classes before you go on the trip, you will be in a better position because you are going to arrive in the country feeling confident about driving.

  1. Knowing the Laws and Speed Limits

Different countries have different speed limits. This is the same case with road signs.

Laws are also different, and this is why you should do a little bit of research before you can start driving abroad.

There are some countries that allow turning on red at many intersections, but there are some that totally prohibit it.

There are countries where traffic already on the roundabout has the right of way, while traffic entering the roundabout has right of way in other countries.

Check the side of the road you are going to drive on and also the documents you need to have when driving.

Make sure you read on things like traffic signs in the country, restricted areas, toll roads, etc. what child-seat regulations does the country have? How many drinks can you have before you reach the drive-limit?

You can find most of the information on embassy websites. You will know what you need to drive abroad. You can also get the information using a Google search. You will know whether you need to have an IDP or not.

If you are in the UK, you can get an IDP from the post office while you can get it from AAA if you are in the US.

A google search is going to help you get all the information for the specific location.

  1. Choosing an Automatic Car

You most likely feel nervous when driving in a foreign place, and this is why you should choose an automatic car. These cars are impossible to stall, which makes them a great option.

Keep in mind that not all car rental agencies offer automatic cars. If you have decided you are going to drive an automatic car abroad, make sure that the rental agency you have chances have the cars available.

  1. Paying Attention to the Road

There are countries you will notice the drivers being more aggressive than you are used to back at home.

Don’t let such drivers intimidate you. Don’t respond using gestures no matter how tempting that is.

If you start feeling overwhelmed, move to the slow lane or pull over so you can cool down a bit.

Your focus shouldn’t be on what other drivers are doing, but on the road.

  1. Staying in the Slow Lane

It is normal to feel anxious when driving abroad for the first time.

If you want to feel relaxed, then consider using the slow lane and going at your own pace.

Once you feel confident, you can now move to the faster lanes. When feeling nervous about switching lanes, just wait until there is a big gap in traffic before doing it.

  1. Don’t Drive When Tired

You should try your best to avoid drive when you are tired. It is important to remain alert when driving, especially when you are in unfamiliar territory. You shouldn’t drive after a long flight.

No matter how short the drive is, make sure you take breaks when your concentration starts to lap. A cup of coffee or a quick nap at a service station is going to go a long way in helping you feel more alert and ready to face the road.

  1. Do not be Over-Ambitious

When driving abroad for the first time, avoid being over-ambitious.

It is not a good idea to drive for long when in a foreign country. You should choose short drives until you are confident enough to drive for longer periods.

You should also try your best to avoid busy locations because they require more focus, which is something that can overwhelm many people when driving in a foreign country for the first time.

  1. Choosing a Small Car

If you are alone and not in need of much space to carry your luggage, then consider choosing a small car.

These cars are going to prove cheaper compared to the bigger cars. They are easy to park and maneuver.

If you find that a small car is not enough for your luggage, then consider going to the smallest option that fits your needs. The last thing you want is to maneuver a large carry in foreign traffic.

I usually drive in Spain and I can’t even imagine driving a big car through the narrow alleys found in historic town centers. Choose the smallest available option, unless you are traveling with more than two people. Always make sure that you over yourself with car hire excess.

  1. Requesting a GPS

The biggest concern many people when driving abroad for the first time is getting lost.

If this is something you are worried about, then you should ask the rental company to provide you with GPS.

When you have the GPS, you are going to avoid a lot of arguments about the destination. GPS is also great because you get the chance of finding some great attractions on your own.

Having a GPS is a great thing because you are going to enjoy your trip and not having to worry about getting lost in a foreign country.

Google Maps has become a popular option because you can download it on your smartphone and use it on the Go. If you choose to use Google Maps, make sure your mobile phone works in the country you are traveling to. Make sure you have enough data.


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