If you want to travel abroad, it's a great idea to hire a car, as can you do things at your own pace and plan your own itinerary. However, once you have decided to hire a car, there are some things you should be aware of before you go so that your trip will be as incident free as possible.
If you're hiring a car in Europe, remember that different countries have different laws. If you're hiring a car in the USA, make sure that you find out about the driving regulations in the specific states that you'll be driving in, as different American states have different laws.
Here some hints and tips on some of the things to consider before you set out on your hire car holiday:
- Make sure that you know and understand the driving laws that apply in the country that you're visiting.
- If you are a young driver, make sure that you are old enough to legally be able to hire a car in the country that you're intending to visit.
- Check to see what documentation you'll need to carry when driving in the country that you're visiting and make sure that you carry these documents, together with your credit card, with you when you're in your hire car so that you can produce them if you get pulled over by the police.
- Make sure that you know what side of the road you should be driving your hire car on!
- In some countries, if the police stop you for a driving offence they can fine you on the spot and you will need to be able to pay up, so make sure that you are prepared for this.
- Make sure that you find out the speed limits for each type of road in the country that you're visiting before you set out in your hire car.
- If you are travelling with young children, you make sure that you check the safety laws for them, particularly as to whether they must sit in the back seat and whether they need to sit in a child seat. Make sure that you book any child seats or infant seats that you need when you're booking your hire car!
- It's always handy to know what is expected of you if you are unfortunate enough to be involved in an accident or if your car breaks down. In some countries, you are legally required to carry a warning triangle in your car for use in such circumstances.
- If you don't know the laws regarding the use of mobile phones in cars in the country that you're visiting, don't use one whilst driving your hire car.
- Holidays are for having a good time and thoroughly enjoying yourself. However, don't drink alcohol if you are going to be driving your hire car. You'll already be at a disadvantage as you'll be driving on unfamiliar roads, and drink-driving laws in other countries can be extremely tough.
- Research some of the road signs that you're likely to encounter in the country that you're visiting before driving your hire car.
- Make a note of the relevant emergency telephone numbers for the country that you're visiting and keep the details in your hire car so that you know who to contact if you need help.
- Make sure that you wear you and your passengers wear seatbelts when you're travelling in your hire car. Seatbelts can save lives in the event of an accident, and you could face a heavy fine if you're stopped by the police and you aren't wearing them.
- Some regions of the USA are occasionally hit by earthquakes or hurricanes; although you are unlikely to experience one of these, it's worth know what to do if you should be caught in one when driving your hire car.
- In some countries, such as the USA, you'll need to pay for your petrol before filling up your hire car. Always find out what type of fuel your hire car takes before filling it.
- Most countries have toll roads, so make sure that you have money with you when driving your hire car so that you can pay any necessary tolls. If you try to drive through a toll booth without paying, you could face a heavy fine.
- Find out if you need to use any lights on your hire car during the day or in rain when driving in the country that you're visiting.
- Find out about parking regulations in the country that you're visiting, as in some countries you can only park your hire car facing in the same direction as the traffic.