Driving abroad for the first time can be an intimidating prospect; from differing rules and regulations to driving on the opposite side of the road, there is a lot to consider. But it doesn’t need to be a stressful experience, in fact, driving abroad can provide you with the freedom to discover remote locations that may have otherwise gone unnoticed when using public transport. To help you feel more confident behind the wheel, we have collated seven of our top tips when driving abroad for the first time.
Familiarise Yourself with the Car
Before you set off on the roads, we recommend familiarising yourself with your hire car in a safe environment. Find a quiet car park to practice the auxiliary controls like the indicators, headlights and windscreen wipers. Once you’ve gained some experience, venture out on some quiet suburban roads to get a feel of what it’s like changing gears on the opposite side. Factoring in time to practice driving before exploring main roads will help build your confidence quickly and safely.
Build Your Confidence
It’s normal to experience anxiety when driving abroad for the first time, therefore, it’s important to travel at your own pace. When using dual-carriageways or motorways, we recommend staying in the slow lane until you feel confident enough to pick up your speed. You may also want to avoid driving through city centres. Instead, plan your journeys in advance so you can take more scenic routes through suburbs or quieter parts of the country. If at any time you do feel flustered, simply take a deep breath to regain your composure.
Why not hire a small automatic car if you feel particularly nervous about driving abroad? These cars do not have a clutch, so there’s no need to worry about changing gear or stalling, making them much easier to drive compared to manual cars.
Do Your Research
Different countries will have different road laws and speed limits, so it’s integral you do your research before driving abroad. We also recommend checking embassy websites before travelling to find up-to-date information on any essential documentation – such as International Driving Permits (IDP) – or equipment that may be required in the car when driving.
Use a Satnav
Getting lost when driving abroad can be a cause of concern for foreign road users. Therefore, we recommend asking your rental company for a satnav to help you get around your holiday destination. A satnav will help you find all the exciting, must-see attractions and reduce your anxiety when navigating your new surroundings.
Staying alert when driving is always crucial, but it’s even more important when driving somewhere unfamiliar. Avoid driving after a long flight, and remember to take regular breaks if you do feel yourself getting tired. A quick nap or energy drink can help you feel more awake when driving long distances.
Take Advanced Driving Lessons
Advanced driving lessons are designed to improve your maneuverers, speed awareness and car control, helping you become a confident and competent driver no matter where you are in the world. Before driving abroad, why not get in touch with us here at Get Set Driving to speak to one of our friendly driving instructors to discuss the affordable driving courses we have on offer.