Tips for Driving in a Foreign Country

When planning a trip overseas, many people choose the pleasures of zipping through the vineyards or along a scenic coastline in a rented car over facing a crowded, noisy tour bus. If you are planning to drive a car during a future visit to a foreign country, however, be aware that unfamiliar roads and confusing street signs are just a few of the challenges. With a little preparation, however, you can take the challenges in stride while enjoying the sites firsthand from the comfort of your own car.

London-StreetsCarry an International Driving Permit:  Even if you don’t end up driving while abroad, having an international driving permit (IDP) is a valuable document that can prove useful for identification and other various issues that might arise. An international driving permit contains your name, photo, and driver information and translates that information into ten different languages. More than 150 countries recognize international driving permits for tourists, and foreign authorities often recognize this as an acceptable form of identification.

For more information about IDPs see this AAA Auto Club website article at

Check with your insurance provider and credit card companies before leaving: If you are renting a car, it’s a pretty fair bet that the company will offer you extravagant insurance options you may not need. By knowing in advance the type and amount of international coverage you may already have with your current company – and even credit cards – you’ll save yourself a lot of stress and money.

Don’t assume the street signs will be in English: While taking a wrong turn always seems to lead to fun and adventure in the movies, getting lost in real life is never a good thing. Always make sure that you know ahead of time where you are heading and review your directions with an English speaker if possible to double-check your route.

Finally, here are a few more tips for driving safely in a foreign country:

  • Always wear your seatbelt.
  • Do not pick up hitchhikers or strangers.
  • Carry your IDP, your state driver’s license and insurance information with you at all times.
  • Familiarize yourself with the country’s driving rules beforehand. You can often find materials about this online, via tourism offices or from the rental company you will be using.
  • Be familiar with precautions you can take to avoid injury in an auto accident.
  • Always know the route you will be traveling. Have a copy of a good road map, and chart your course before setting out.

Whether you’re across the pond or back here at home, if you are in a car accident that results in injuries, it’s important to have expert guidance for what comes next. If you or someone you know was in an accident that was the result of someone driving carelessly or through some other act of negligence, we are here to help you work toward a positive outcome.

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