Nothing is more exciting than going on a vacation, especially one to an exotic foreign country. While visiting a foreign country, many people like to rely on public transportation in order to avoid the necessity to rent a vehicle. If you will be visiting a foreign country soon and you would like to rent a car to drive while there instead of using public transportation, you need to familiarize yourself with that particular country’s driving laws, because most people would be surprised at how different the laws can be compared to the United States. By not knowing the laws of certain countries, you could end up in a great deal of trouble and even possibly go to jail if you’re not careful.
Driving in the United Kingdom –
If you don’t know how to drive a manual shift, it’s imperative to make sure that you request an automatic, since most UK drivers start out driving a manual shift, instead of automatics like in the US. If you forget to ask, you will most likely receive a stick, which you will be unable to drive.
Be wary of people making sudden and seemingly erratic U-turns, since U-turn laws are different than what they are in the US.
Watch carefully for “zebras” or pedestrians crossing the street. Anywhere there are “zebra” striped lines, pedestrians have the right of way and you must stop immediately and remain stopped until all pedestrians reach the other side of the street.
Driving in Germany –
Like many parts of the United States, cell phone usage while driving is illegal, so remember to pull over if you need to make or answer a phone call.
You need to study the important street signs in Germany, which are of course different than they are here in the US.
Ausfahrt – exit
Umleitung – detour
Einbahnstraße – one way street
Parken verboten – parking forbidden
Parkhaus – parking garage
Tankstelle – gas station
Benzin – gas
The German Autobahn allows you to drive as fast as you feel is safe, although authorities recommend the equivalence of about 80 mph. However, since you’ll be driving in unfamiliar territory, you might want to drive at a slower pace, one that is more comfortable for you.
Driving in Japan –
Since it’s usually congested in Japan, it is not recommended that tourists from other countries drive while visiting, but if you insist on doing so, you will definitely want to read the English version of “Rules of the Road” which is available throughout Japan and by visiting the Japan Automobile Federation website.
Be sure to obtain your international driving permit before driving while in Japan, because it’s required. Your travel agent should be able to assist you with this.
About.com Driving in Foreign Countries – http://gogermany.about.com/od/planyourtrip/p/driving-Germany.htm
Discover Japan Info – http://www.discover-japan.info/generalinfo_driving.htm