Driving your hire car in the city can be a challenge. When youre on holiday, unfamiliar roads and traffic systems add to the usual stress of city driving, and the experience can become quite nerve-wracking at times, especially in countries where not all drivers are good at signalling their intentions.
Driving a hire car in Italy for example, can sometimes be testing. It can sometimes seem as if Italians drive all over the place and keep too close to the cars ahead, so just take it slow and be observant when driving in places such as Rome, Naples and Milan.
In contrast, driving a hire car in locations like Los Angeles and San Diego is easy. Roads are wide, speed limits sensible and you dont have to worry about roundabouts, although rush hour traffic is as congested here as it is anywhere else, so try to avoid driving at these times.
Foreign signs can be confusing if youre unfamiliar with them, so when hiring a car in places such as Berlin, Madrid, Nice or Paris, make sure that you know what the road signs mean before starting out.
Here are some tips for driving your hire car in the city:
- Have a route planned out before you start your trip. Use an up to date map or ask for directions at your hotel or at the airport when you hire a car.
- When driving your hire car, always signal in advance of changing lanes or turning corners, so that your intentions are clear.
- If you miss a turning or an exit, dont try to pull across traffic in a last ditch attempt to make it. Carry on until you can find an appropriate way to get back on course.
- Cities can get clogged with traffic. Allow enough time for the journey in your hire car, or accept the fact that you will be behind schedule.
- Keep well within the speed limits; nothing can spoil your holiday more quickly than an on the spot fine or - even worse - an accident.
- Cities are full of preoccupied people going about their business. Be aware of pedestrians, children and cyclists, especially fast-moving couriers.
- New cities can be exciting, but dont get distracted by shop windows or landmarks. Park up your hire car first so that you can sightsee in safety.
- If you know that most of your holiday will be spent in built-up areas, keep this in mind when choosing a hire car. Remember that the smaller the car and engine, the easier it will be to park and the less petrol it will require.
- Check with your hotel or watch the local news to see if there are any road works or major delays on your route, so that you can choose an alternative course if necessary.
- Keep some change handy in your hire car for parking meters.
- Keep calm, check your mirrors and be observant.
- Dont drive your hire car in lanes designated for other vehicles such as buses.
- Dont chop and change lanes constantly; the fewer unnecessary manoeuvres you make, the easier and safer your journey will be.
- Always stick to local laws when driving a hire car, but dont assume everyone else will.