Overseas Driving Tips for Nervous Drivers

If the idea of a driving trip abroad terrifies you, you are not alone. The idea that right is right and left is wrong can be both confusing and scary. However, a driving tour can be very rewarding and with a bit of preparation, you will find it is a lot more manageable than you imagine. Here are some ideas other nervous drivers have found helpful:

Driving on the wrong side

Orientate yourself to the “wrong” side of the road by sitting behind a local driver during a bus or taxi ride. Imagine you are driving and you will very quickly adjust to the mirror image of what you are used to. Left turns are most perilous, as you can easily make the mistake of steering into the path of oncoming vehicles. A reliable co-driver can be your extra eyes and constantly remind you to stay on the correct lane. Exercise caution too when you are reversing. As you turn your head around, it is easy to lose your bearings, slip back into reflexive driving, and forget that the bulk of the car’s mass is now on your right, not on your left.

Crossing the street in Hanoi

Choosing your car

The familiarity of driving your own car can be comforting but your right-side driver’s seat is a major problem when overtaking along narrow European country roads as your view of oncoming vehicles may be totally obstructed. Rent a local car instead and choose one with automatic transmission. While a manual gives better control when negotiating bends and climbing hills, if you are unaccustomed to sitting on the left side you may find yourself reaching for the window winder each time you change gear. Rent from bigger companies like Alamo, Hertz and Avis, as they are all over the world and have better resources in an emergency.

Additional Insurance Coverage

Insurance paperwork for rental cars is less of a hassle compared to arranging for your own. Many first-time overseas drivers learn the hard way how expensive even minor repairs can be in a foreign land but taking up optional coverage will remove a load off your mind when you know you can literally walked away from an accident without having to pay for anything.

Plan ahead

Plan your route before you embark on your journey to reduce the anxiety of being in an unfamiliar place. You can then focus on driving carefully. Use a route planner like Michelin’s, which provides maps, information on hotels and restaurants, as well as the fastest, shortest, or most economical routes to take. A good satellite navigation device takes the guesswork out and gets you there with certainty.

When in Rome

Each country has its local idiosyncrasies. In France, you must carry a breathalyser. If you wear spectacles, have a spare pair in Spain, and if your car is dirty in Belarus you can be fined! Visit the AA website to get advice on local requirements and check what documents you need to carry with you before you venture overseas.

[ Tagged In ] , , ,

Comments are closed.