Driving Abroad? Here’s What You Should Know

Traveling to another country is exciting, but sometimes you don’t want to simply be a tourist. Many adventurers want to experience the daily life of people in the country, which means going off the beaten path.

As a tourist, you might find everything you need within walking distance of your hotel, but to spend time where locals live and shop, you might need a car. That means driving in a foreign country, which can be nerve-wracking.

Fortunately, here are some tips from the car insurance experts at Freeway Insurance to help keep you safe while driving abroad.

Check the Licensing Requirements

Different countries have different rules when it comes to driver’s licenses. In some cases, a visitor can drive as a temporary extension of their current license in their home country. Other times, you’ll need to file for an International Driver’s Permit before you travel.

Because many countries in Europe drive differently than the United States, they may not accept a U.S. driver’s license. Make sure you check before you get behind the wheel.

Get the Car Insurance You Need

In the U.S., you can contact a company like Freeway Insurance to compare auto rates and find an ideal policy, but American auto insurance does not apply overseas. If you’re going to drive in another nation, you’ll need to get car insurance that covers you there.

You can buy international car insurance either before you leave or from the car rental company in the nation you’re visiting. Be sure to get the appropriate amount of coverage to avoid being caught up in a lawsuit if there’s an accident.

Understand the Roads and Local Drivers

Many Americans travel overseas expecting that their experience driving will be similar to the U.S. However, in many countries, that isn’t the case.

Some nations don’t have the infrastructure to maintain their roads, and you may find that roads are in poor repair or even made of dirt or gravel. You’ll need to be prepared for these driving conditions.

You might also find that road laws are not enforced or followed by local drivers. That can make things very dangerous, and it may be a good idea not to drive abroad in that nation.

Also, stay safe. This means being aware of crime in the area, locking the vehicle doors, and not responding to rude gestures even if you’re upset. You don’t want anything to interrupt your vacation.

Get Used to the Car You’re Driving

If you’re in a nation that drives on the opposite side of the road than what you’re used to, you’ll notice the car is arranged differently as well. The driver’s seat is likely to be on the opposite side of the vehicle. Your controls may not be in familiar places, either.

Before you hit the open road, take some time to get used to the car. Drive around a quiet parking lot and take the time to find the turn signal, headlights, and other essentials. Practice parking — it may be harder than you think from an unfamiliar perspective!

Once you’ve practiced and feel comfortable, it’s time to drive.

Driving Abroad Can Be Fun

If you take the right steps before you drive, taking the wheel in another country can be fun. It’s a great way to explore the country and discover things you never would if you stuck to tourist areas.

Stay safe and enjoy the ride!

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