New adventures bring new challenges. Here are some fantastic tips that you should be clued up on before you go driving outside the UK for the first time.
- Drive on the right side of the road. Or the left side. Depends where you are. Our European friends have ridden or driven on the wrong other side of the road ever since the Napoleonic era. It’s easy to get right at first, but taking corners absentmindedly, or swinging your way round roundabouts, is where you are most likely to come unstuck. So until you’ve truly got used to it, take great care!
- Have change, will travel. There are plenty of tolls in Europe and the States, so it’s very useful to be prepared with a bit of spare cash in the local currency. Keep it all to hand so you’re not left scrambling around suddenly when a series of toll booths appear on the horizon.
- Brush up on the rules. There is always some variation on the traffic laws that you’re used to back home, so brush up on these before setting off. Be aware that if in the US, some of these can change from state to state. For example, know which countries require you to keep your headlights on all day; where you can make a turning even if the lights are red; where you need to park in the direction of the flow of traffic; and where you’d need to place traffic cones should you break down.
- Know your limits. Not just speed limits (famously there are none on the German autobahn), but also drink driving These can vary considerably from country to country, so while the best advice is not to drink at all if you know you’re going to be driving, it pays to be aware of local blood alcohol regulations. Did you know that Scotland has a stricter drink driving limit then the rest of the UK?
- Get to the route of it all. The advent of the GPS will forever be remembered as a watershed moment in driver-passenger relations. Nonetheless, there’s something to be said for all those A-Zs. As tempting as it may bet to set off without any foreknowledge of how you’ll arrive at your destination, instead relying on your GPS’s instructions as they arise, you’ll save yourself much anxiety if you have a strong plan in mind. So use it, don’t abuse it. The GPS is a wonderful tool for any traveller, but information can on occasion be ambiguous, last-minute – or even suddenly unavailable due to limited coverage – and so cause avoidable issues.
Now that you’re ready to head off, have a fantastic road trip! Take good care, don’t drink and drive, prepare well, and get ready to enjoy a great adventure!