Traveling abroad is as exciting experience that can get you out of your comfort zone and introduce you to other ways of life. You’ll get to try new foods and immerse yourself in different cultures, as well as navigate language barriers and unfamiliar laws. Driving abroad, in particular, is a unique experience that you need to be prepared for. If you plan to drive while overseas, be sure you practice these driving safety tips when abroad.
Get an International Driving Permit
While a United States driver’s license is valid in any of the 50 states, it doesn’t have the same legality overseas. Fortunately, an International Driving Permit will allow you to drive in over 150 countries. Since it acts as a direct substitute of your U.S. license, it will translate all your relevant information into ten different languages.
Educate Yourself on Local Driving Rules
Even if you’re equipped with an IDP, knowing the local rules of the road is crucial. Depending on where you visit, traffic signals could mean different things, and it can get confusing when you’re used to the American way of driving. Getting yourself accustomed to these differences and putting them into practice will keep you and other drivers safe.
Think About Insurance
Unfortunately, once you leave U.S. soil, your auto insurance won’t cover you in the event of an accident. Your plan may extend to nearby countries such as Mexico or Canada, but be sure to check with your insurance provider before you leave to ensure you’re protected. If you’re traveling further away, you can also look into buying a short-term plan at your destination.
Inspect Your Rental Car
Unless you want to pay for shipping your car, you’re probably going to end up renting a car for your trip. Though most foreign rental companies are reputable, just like the ones in the States, inspecting the rental car before you drive it off the lot is crucial. Make sure the lights work in various settings, test the windshield wipers, and check the oil levels.
Take Extra Care When Driving at Night
Driving after dark, especially in an unfamiliar environment, can greatly increase the risk of an accident. To ensure your safety, it’s important that you adopt safe night-driving practices and familiarize yourself with the area in which you’ll be staying. This will help prevent you from getting lost and keep you focused on the act of driving rather than on the worry of not knowing where you are.