International road laws to adhere to when driving abroad
There’s no denying that driving abroad can be stressful at times. Once you’ve got past the local lingo, you are tasked with navigating unfamiliar roads and frequently having to drive on the opposite of the road too. All in all, it can be an interesting experience to say the least.
Yet, although the UK’s driving laws are very strict, it’s important to note that other countries around the world have laws of their own that need to be followed as well. In the following guide, with VW Transporter dealers, Lookers, we delve into some of the international driving laws you must abide by when embarking on your next road trip abroad…
In Germany, you’re legally obliged to show a sticker that displays your vehicle’s emission rating. In many cities across the country, you can only enter if your vehicle has a Euro 4 green sticker. The stickers were introduced to limit emissions, and failure to have one on your car, truck or bus could land you an 80 euro fine.
Carrying a first-aid box at all times is also enforced and drink driving carries stricter limits compared to those in Britain, with anyone reading over 0.05 per cent facing a fine. Also, if you’re taking your own car over for the trip, check your tyres! It’s compulsory to have winter tyres, or all-season tyres, on all axles during the wintry conditions. Snow chains should be carried in poor conditions as well. If you are stopped and aren’t in possession of this tool, the police may forbid you from continuing your journey.
Heading across the pond can certainly throw you off in some towns. If you are in Scituate, Rhode Island, you simply can’t carry alcohol in your car – even if it’s unopened! And don’t think about screeching your tyres in Derby, Kansas – unless you want to spend 30 days in the slammer! Then, if you’re in Marietta, Georgia, be sure you don’t spit from your car; you’re only allowed to do so from a truck.
Despite the fact that it is indeed possible to drive from Britain to France, their rules of the road do have some fundamental differences. First, you must carry a high visibility vest for each passenger who will be involved in the journey to use in the event of a breakdown. While it sounds a tad far-fetched, be sure to follow it as it’s common for French police to spot check British-registered vehicles — not having one to hand could lead to a hefty fine.
Having a warning triangle in your car at all times is also required by law. So, although most modern cars have one fitted as standard, it’s certainly worth double checking before you venture into France! Spare bulbs must also be present, and your headlights must be adjusted to ensure you don’t blind on-coming traffic.
Regarding speeds, it’s important to note that, like a number of countries outside the UK, kilometres are what should be followed. On trunk roads, 90kph is the limit, unless stated otherwise, and it drops to 80kph in the wet. Similarly, motorways are traditionally 130kph, or 110kph if it’s raining.
In the United Arab Emirates, it is against the law to overtake a vehicle on the right-hand side and this can result in points on your licence if you fail to obey this rule. But, make sure you don’t drive too slowly, otherwise you could be charged, too. Also, unlike in the UK where some drivers choose to ‘jazz up’ their car with witty and comedic stickers, this is not allowed in the UAE. The same goes for ‘for sale’ ads in your car.
Wherever you decide to go on your next road trip abroad, it’s important that you read up on that country’s rules and regulations if you have the intention of driving. While you may think it’s just a case of getting behind the wheel and taking to the road, often there’s much more to consider.