Do you think that navigating our 4-lane freeways and extra wide junctions in the US is difficult? How about driving in the UK, where there’s a roundabout every couple of miles, or in Egypt where roads can actually have up to 8 lanes – but no road markings to separate them!
Driving abroad is fraught with perils if you’re expecting it to be like driving back home. Everywhere has their own laws, which can be very serious – things that might get you let off with a misdemeanour back home can lead to hefty fines in stricter countries, and things you might not even consider things can lead to jail time, like hitting one of the many cows you’ll find crossing India’s roads.
Equally important to the laws, however, are the customs – those unwritten rules that all the locals seem to know, and which make driving so much more relaxing if you know about them. Things like driving ‘aggressively’ in India (seriously, allow people to pull out in front of you and you’ll never move forwards), braking and changing lanes at the last second on Italian motorways, and that you’re expected to use the shoulder of a 2-lane highway in Mexico to let a faster vehicle pass.
Reading up on both the local laws and customs before you head off abroad and hire a car can save you frustration, fines and possibly even an accident. You can find out all about driving in particular countries from the Traveller’s Guide to Driving Etiquette at http://www.accidentadvicehelpline.co.uk/driving-etiquette/
The day of the trip my Dad and I took a taxi to the Airport to rent a car. We then picked up the family in an awesome Mercedes and headed off for Mestre, Italy, about a six-hour road trip. I had printed directions at home before we even left for Austria in hopes that we would make the trip. We also bought a road map once we were there.
In the future I will definitely read the Traveller’s Guide to Driving Etiquette so that I can be better prepared and informed for my driving and traveling needs. Information is power, especially when it comes to driving in a foreign land!