5 Tips to Help Drivers Feel Safe in a New Country

Traveling to a new country can be an exciting experience whether for business or pleasure, and often the most efficient and enjoyable way to get around a new place is by car. However, even for the most experienced drivers a new country will bring new challenges. It is important to remember that each nation has different road signs, languages, driving habits and even different sides of the road which they might drive on. Before you get behind the wheel of a car overseas, read this guide and become familiar with everything you need to in order to stay safe.


1. Confirm Auto Insurance

Before you even turn on a car in a new country, it is vital that you are properly covered by some form or auto insurance. Before you depart on vacation, call your auto insurance provider at home and ask about any regulations overseas and to inquire about whether or not your policy covers you in each particular country. If not, ensure that the rental car agency abroad has adequate insurance for you and the car.

2. GPS

In a foreign country where you don’t speak the language, driving can be a tricky situation. If you get lost, you may not be able to ask for direction. Even foreign maps can be difficult to understand as they often have city names written in the native language rather than in English. To ensure that you can safely find your way in a new location, get a GPS, or global positioning satellite system, for your car to give you clear English voice instructions to each of your destinations.

3. Road Signs

Every country has road signs that look a little different. Check online before you travel to familiarize yourself with the most basic signs, especially those for stop and yield, along with the exit signs on major highways. If you can, learn a few key words like exit, left, right and straight ahead to better understand the road signage.

4. Proper Licensing

Most foreign governments will allow visitors on vacation to use their home country licenses to drive for short periods of time. However, not all countries will, and some will have restrictions or time limits on how long you can do that. In order to be safe, invest in an International Driving Permit, or IDP, that will be accepted in hundreds of different countries around the world and costs a mere $20 to purchase.

5. Follow the Rules

Although it may be obvious that you should never drive while under the influence of alcohol or ride in a car without your seatbelt on, in a foreign country it becomes even more important to do so. Heavy fines or even jail time can apply and ruin your vacation, so always be safe.

By paying close attention to each of these tips, any driver should feel safe driving in a foreign country. Be sure to follow all signposted road rules and speed limits in order to avoid fines while traveling abroad.

Charlie Sullivan is an insurance consultant for autoinsurance.info, where you can find everything from Auto Insurance Companies in Missouri to the best deals for Car Insurance Companies in Arizona.