When we’ve booked a trip abroad and are looking to hire a car, understanding the roads of that specific country can be challenging. Not only are you often dealing with a language you don’t understand, but there are also unfamiliar routes to deal with and, of course, often driving on the opposite side of the road thrown in to make it even more of a strange sensation.
Driving In France
If you’re taking your own car through the Eurotunnel from the UK, you’ll need to know that driving rules are different when you enter France. Firstly, you must carry a high visibility vest for each passenger who will be involved in the journey to use in the event of a breakdown. While it sounds a tad far-fetched, be sure to follow it as it’s common for French police to spot check British-registered vehicles — not having one to hand could lead to a hefty fine.
Interestingly, warning triangles are a requirement in your car. So, although most modern cars have one fitted as standard, it’s certainly worth double checking before you venture into France! Spare bulbs must also be present, and your headlights must be adjusted to ensure you don’t blind on-coming traffic.
For speed, kilometres are what you must take notice of. On trunk roads, 90kph is the limit, unless stated otherwise, and it drops to 80kph in the wet. Similarly, motorways are traditionally 130kph, or 110kph if it’s raining.
Driving In Germany
Believe it or not, drivers in this country must have a sticker on their vehicle that states their emission rating. In many cities across the country, you can only enter if your vehicle has a Euro 4 green sticker. The stickers were introduced to limit emissions, and failure to have one on your car, truck or bus could land you an 80 euro fine.
As well as this, drivers must have a first-aid box at all times in case of any accidents. For those thinking about driving after drinking, anyone who has a reading over 0.05% will be charged. Also, if you’re taking your own car over for the trip, check your tyres! It’s compulsory to have winter tyres, or all-season tyres, on all axles during the wintry conditions. Snow chains should be carried in poor conditions as well. If you are stopped and aren’t in possession of this tool, the police may forbid you from continuing your journey.
Driving In The USA
Although the UK and US don’t have a language barrier, driving in this country is very different. If you are in Scituate, Rhode Island, you simply can’t carry alcohol in your car – even if it’s unopened! And don’t think about screeching your tyres in Derby, Kansas – unless you want to spend 30 days in the slammer! Then, if you’re in Marietta, Georgia, be sure you don’t spit from your car; you’re only allowed to do so from a truck.
Driving In Dubai
If you don’t want points on your license, don’t overtake another car on the right side. But, make sure you don’t drive too slowly, otherwise you could be charged, too. Also, unlike in the UK where some drivers choose to ‘jazz up’ their car with witty and comedic stickers, this is not allowed in the UAE. The same goes for ‘for sale’ ads in your car.
For your next trip with the family, make sure you know the rules of the road. While you may think it’s just a case of getting behind the wheel of your VW California and taking to the road, often there’s much more to consider.