Whether you're exploring Italy in an Alfa or cruising Route 66 in a Camaro, if you decide to rent a vehicle abroad, there are loads of different laws and regulations that you should be aware of. In this handy guide, we'll steer you in the right direction and help you avoid any potential potholes when securing the keys to your foreign wheels.
When preparing for a holiday, you wouldn't book your flights, transfers or accommodation at the very last minute, so why should your hire car be any different? By planning ahead, you'll be surprised at just how much money you could save, while simple online solutions will avoid any nasty queues or language barriers that await at almost every airport.
Preparation is nine-tenths of the law when organising a hire car for your trip away – so be sure to keep things like insurance documents and licence certificates in mind before setting off to the airport.
In the hierarchy of importance, your insurance policy should be placed right up at the top next to your plane tickets and passport. Although you may feel as though you're walking into a minefield of abbreviations, sub-clauses and small print when choosing a provider, you'll need to pay extra-close attention when securing a hire car, as features like 'super insurance' clauses may result in a voluntary excess package that ventures beyond extortionate and into the realms of ridiculous.
Licence 'check code'
What's commonly known as the 'check' code is really important, as without it, your firm won't be able to check all the necessary information they require in order to lease you a vehicle. Luckily, getting your hands on this code is really simple – all it takes is a quick call to the DVLA or a completed online application and you'll be provided with an active code that lasts for 21 days.
Driving in Europe
Regardless of whether you're heading to Italy's Amalfi Coast or the autobahns of Germany, the law between each European country varies slightly, meaning you'll have to brush up on your Latvian road signs before heading out on any Baltic adventures!
For example, did you know that in Italy, when the rain starts to fall, drivers are legally required to lower their speed to 55mph on dual carriageways while in Romania, it is illegal to drive a dirty car? Despite the laws surrounding drink driving, insurance and seatbelts remaining pretty similar throughout Europe, there are tons of smaller laws you're going to need to learn before turning the key in your new wheels.
Cruising the USA
As you'd expect, there are some pretty bizarre laws you'll want to take note of when driving in America. For example, in one town in Minnesota, if your car gets any mud or debris on the road, you could be handed a fixed penalty from the police! And if that's not bad enough, in Hilton Head South Carolina, it is illegal to have any trash in your car!
When renting a vehicle abroad, it's always important to acknowledge the laws of the county you're driving in – no matter how far removed or eccentric you deem them to be. From simple things like driving on the right side of the road through to mastering speed limits, if you're going to avoid trouble on the road, it's always a wise idea to scan your chosen destination's highway code while sitting on the plane or waiting in any airport queues.
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