Driving on Indian roads is fine and we all are well aware of the rules system out here. But what if one decides to go on a holiday abroad? The rules out there in foreign countries are far stringent than what they are here. Hence, not only will the resident drivers have a problem with the newbies but also the newbies wouldn’t want to shame the name of their country there. We understand how hard it is to acclimatize to a new nation and its rules. Well, we wouldn’t be able to help you out with the other things, however, with the rules followed internationally is something with which we can help you out. Here are a few tips for new drivers on international soil. It is initially hard getting used to the wrong side of the road and also the driving sign boards and stuff.
Speed and Limits :
Unlike India, there is always a speed limit and one is required to observe it. Most of the countries do allow for some leeway to new drivers though. Some places like the expressway also have minimum speed limits where if the person is driving too slow, he has chances of disrupting the traffic and hence more the probability of getting fined. This is done to ensure that there is no one driving at a speed wherein he is at a risk of getting tail ended.
Correct use of signals :
Unlike India where drivers usually prefer to drive with their hazards on in foggy conditions or even failing to turn them off in normal conditions, driving with hazards will evoke a hefty fine in foreign countries. Even if there is fog in the international location where you are visiting, it is advisable not to use the hazard lights. A stationary vehicle is the only one wherein hazards should be used. Driving with head lamps on high beam is another thing which may attract a fine. Flashing the head lamps is meant to be a signal to a driver who may not have seen you and may cut into your path. At no time does it signal to him that you are about to overtake or have the right of the path.
Lane Discipline :
Strict discipline is to be maintained while driving overseas. Everyone drives in the designated lane and changing lanes is also done smoothly without cutting anyone off. Using all the mirrors inside the car to full effect plus an occasional glance over the shoulder is also recommended to make sure that one isn’t obstructing anyone while making the lane maneuver. Moreover, put on the indicators for the lane that one intends to be in. Driving slowly in the fast lane is something which is strictly abhorred. In most overseas countries, the fast lane is to be used strictly for overtaking.
Right side :
Only the Commonwealth countries follow the pattern of driving wherein one drives on the left side of the road. Most of the countries in the world follow the right side driving pattern with the steering wheel on the left hand side. It is major blunder that anyone from India would make in an overseas nation. If the road doesn’t have a divider, make sure that one is driving on the correct side of the road. By watching the other cars on the road, one can determine the correct side of the pathway.
Road Markings :
Apart from the usual signals, traffic signs and also the traffic police, overseas driving is mainly dependant on the road markings. One has to be sure that they are familiar with all the road markings of the particular country. As an example, if there is a barrier line or an unbroken line in the center of the road, then crossing over to the other side is something which is not recommended. A head-on collision or even a high fine would be the perils of not listening to this advice. The only instance where one is allowed to cross the road is when the separator in the center is a broken line. If there is a specific track in the middle of the road for cyclists, then car drivers or bike riders are dissuaded from treading that path.
Courtesy to the pedestrian is something which everyone is not used to in India. It is the pedestrians who have got to have checked out their way and not the other way round. In international countries, it’s the pedestrian who is put up on a pedestal. There the driver has to show some respect as also courtesy to the pedestrians. If a pedestrian has stepped off the sidewalk and onto the road, one must stop the vehicle. Even if this involves you to stop at a green signal. In many countries you will need to stop even if the pedestrian is crossing at a point that is not a pedestrian crossing.
International Police :
In India, one can get off with any traffic offense by paying the traffic havaldar some “kharcha paani”. However, in international markets, one cannot do so. The traffic police out there are very strict. If a policeman flags you down, it is necessary that you stop then and there on the spot. If one argues with a police officer on duty, it is taken as an offence. Answering to their questions patiently and politely is the key. More often than not, there are routine checks being conducted in foreign countries and the police would just let you off after verifying the details. Carrying the international driving license and also the passport is something which is for given. . For details on how to obtain an international driving license, do check this link.
Proper Parking :
In India, haphazard parking is fine as long as it is in the correct parking zone. In the West, parking a car properly is also required. Parking in a no-parking zone is a strict no-no, even if its for a moment. Checking out the other cars parked there would give a fair idea as to how the ideal parking for that nation should be done. If all the cars are parked parallel to the kerb, then just putting one’s car with the nose tucked in can call for a parking fine. Most of the times, parking lots have a designated line wherein which the car should be parked. Make sure that the car is parked within that limit and not outside it in the other car’s area.
Child Safety Seat :
If you are carrying a child along with you, it is imperative that the child is properly harnessed into the safety seat. Do check for the rules of that particular country regarding the child safety program. Also ensure that a child safety seat is put up for the kid in the car.
Keeping to the right of the road when taking a roundabout wherein people drive on the right side of the road is recommended. A vehicle which enters the roundabout from the left side has the right of the way. If one can’t enter the roundabout before the other vehicle, then stop at the line and wait for that vehicle to go first.
These are some of the rules and regulations that one needs to follow while traveling in a foreign location and especially while driving.