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Safety Tips When Driving Abroad

By: Tracy Whitelaw - Updated: 28 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
Safety Tips When Driving Abroad

Travelling abroad in your own vehicle can be an amazing way to see a new country. You can set your own pace, discover areas of interest to you and your family and of course be in charge of everything from where you stop to where you drive by. One of the main concerns for many people however is road safety in a new country. Often, traversing new roads and unfamiliar landscapes means that you may not be fully aware of safety issues that are relevant to the area you’re travelling in. Learning these before you set off is important and should be considered essential.

Car Insurance When Driving Abroad

Before you set off on your journey, you should always make sure that you have adequate car insurance to cover you for driving abroad. While you may never need it, it’s better to be safe when it comes to insurance as there are a number of hazards and potential dangers you may encounter when travelling overseas.
  • Check with your own car insurers first to see if your existing policy covers you
  • Speak to specialist overseas travel insurers if your own policy doesn’t cover you
  • Make sure you’re covered for breakdown, theft, accident and any other extras they feel may be beneficial for the area you’re travelling to

Blending in With the Locals

Particular areas around the world are well known as high crime spots for those in cars. If you’re a tourist, you’re seen as more gullible than locals and will often be targeted first by criminals who are looking to either steal your car or your possessions. There are a number of ways to try and minimise this:
  • Remove all stickers or identifiable symbols that your car is foreign or a rental (where legal)
  • Do not pile your car high with possessions if possible, make sure they all fit in the boot
  • Try not to have your map out during travel. Only use it at rest areas that are well lit and public
  • If you get lost on the road, try to stop in a public area to check your map. Don’t pull over at the side of the road and get your map out

Common Cons for Car Travellers

There are a number of common traps that tourists will often fall into when travelling abroad. Many people get caught out simply because they’re not aware of the cons that criminals use in order to steal from you. When you’re in your car there are many tricks used to try and play on the fact you don’t know the area or local customs well. Dependent on where you are, these may differ, but generally some of the most common are:
  • Keep your windows and doors locked. This is extremely important at night, or when you’re stopping at traffic lights. These are prime times for criminals to try to carjack you
  • Remove all valuables from sight. Make sure you’re using your boot or your glove box. Criminals will take the chance to smash your window when they can to get to your valuables
  • If your car is bumped from behind, don’t stop. Wait until you’re in a public area before you do. Many carjackers will do this to get you to stop your car and then rob you
  • If a car behind is flashing their lights at you constantly or shouting at you that something is wrong with your car, carry on until you get to a public area. This is a common trick that gets unsuspecting visitors to stop and then they are easier to rob
  • Always check around your car before you get back in if it’s been parked. Some criminals will be waiting for you to unlock your door before they rob you or steal your car

Although all of these sound quite terrifying, it shouldn’t put you off travelling abroad as these are common crimes that could happen in the UK also. The trick is to ensure you mingle in as well as possible and are constantly aware of your surroundings.

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Thanks for some great advice.I'm going to the USA next month and have never driven over there before, I wouldn't want to single myself out as a clueless tourist (even though I am) and I will certainly be following some of the tips given on this website!
Ruby - 15-Jun-12 @ 2:50 PM
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