Driving on roads in foreign countries can be a stressful experience. Apart from having to overcome an often-tricky language barrier, you are tasked with unfamiliar routes to handle and, more often than not, driving on the other side of the road.
Nonetheless, while Britain’s driving laws are indeed very strict, other countries around the world have their own laws too. In this guide, alongside VW California campervan dealers, Lookers, we explore some of the driving laws you must ensure you obey on your next international road trip.
Certain rules across the pond can really throw you off. If you are in Scituate, Rhode Island, you simply can’t carry alcohol in your car – even if it’s unopened! And don’t think about screeching your tyres in Derby, Kansas – unless you want to spend 30 days in the slammer! Then, if you’re in Marietta, Georgia, be sure you don’t spit from your car; you’re only allowed to do so from a truck.
United Arab Emirates
Moving across to the Middle East, in the United Arab Emirates it is forbidden for a driver to overtake a fellow road user on the right-hand side and can lead to penalty points on your license if you disobey this rule. But, make sure you don’t drive too slowly, otherwise you could be charged, too. Also, unlike in the UK where some drivers choose to ‘jazz up’ their car with witty and comedic stickers, this is not allowed in the UAE. The same goes for ‘for sale’ ads in your car.
Closer to home, in Germany, you are legally required to display a sticker that features your car’s emission rating. In many cities across the country, you can only enter if your vehicle has a Euro 4 green sticker. The stickers were introduced to limit emissions, and failure to have one on your car, truck or bus could land you an €80 fine.
It is also obligatory to carry a first-aid box in your vehicle at all times and as for drink-driving limits, these are much stricter than in the UK, with fines given out to anyone reading over 0.05%. Also, if you’re taking your own car over for the trip, check your tyres! It’s compulsory to have winter tyres, or all-season tyres, on all axles during the wintry conditions. Snow chains should be carried in poor conditions as well. If you are stopped and aren’t in possession of these, then the police may forbid you from continuing your journey.
Although you are able to drive to France by means of ferry or the Channel Tunnel, there are some key differences in laws and regulations to those in the UK. Firstly, you must carry a high visibility vest for each passenger who will be involved in any the journey to use in the event of a breakdown. While it sounds a tad far-fetched, be sure to follow it as it’s common for French police to spot check British-registered vehicles – not having one to hand could lead to a hefty fine.
Warning triangles also a legal requirement to be carry in your vehicle. So, although most modern cars have one fitted as standard, it’s certainly worth double checking before you venture into France. Spare bulbs must also be carried, and your headlights must be adjusted to ensure you don’t blind on-coming traffic.
Speed is something else to consider. Like many countries outside of the UK, kilometres are what should be followed. On trunk roads, 90kph is the limit, unless stated otherwise, and it drops to 80kph in the wet. Similarly, motorways are traditionally 130kph, or 110kph if it’s raining.
Wherever you go on your next international road trip, it’s important that you fully understand and adhere to different countries’ driving laws and regulations if you intend to drive a motor vehicle, whether that be your own car or a hired one. While you may think it’s just a case of getting behind the wheel and taking to the road, often there’s much more to consider.