Wednesday 26th August 2015
Driving Abroad - BeWiser

Driving abroad can be tricky at the best of times, without the need to worry about different driving laws. The advice of ‘drive like the locals’ should always be taken with caution, but perhaps keeping an extra eye out for what you may consider to be a quirky driving habit, could help you out in the long run.

Angela Epstein, The Telegraph, reports:

“Driving abroad is one of the great pleasures of taking a foreign holiday: the freedom of the open road, the sun beating down on the shimmering vista ahead... But when it comes to motoring law, many countries have their own statutory quirks that can catch out unsuspecting drivers. Here we take you through some of the strangest.

Got any children sleeping under your car? We only ask because in Denmark it’s compulsory to routinely check there are no slumbering youngsters secreted below your vehicle before you drive off. It sounds bonkers, but no more so than facing an on-the-spot fine in Belarus, Romania and Russia for driving a dirty car.

The authorities are more interested in your footwear in Spain, where it’s illegal to drive in flip-flops, backless shoes, shoes that are open at the front, high heels, or barefoot. And also in Spain, be aware that on some one-way streets vehicles must be parked on the side of the road where houses bear odd numbers on odd days of the month, and on the side with even numbers on even days.

In neighbouring Portugal, you’re not allowed to carry bicycles on the back of your car. Meanwhile, Italy's lawmakers are more concerned with your pets than your hobbies, allowing a maximum of one uncaged animal to a vehicle.

 People who need glasses for driving should also be wary in Italy, because it's compulsory to carry a spare pair at all times. And in Slovenia drivers must not indicate when entering a roundabout but must do so when exiting. Some laws may sound draconian, but are rooted in concerns about road safety. Cyprus, for example, has a zero tolerance ban on eating and drinking at the wheel.

And in France it is compulsory to carry a DIY breathalyser in your car. Singapore police will stop you for dangerous driving if you come within 50 metres of a pedestrian. And in Estonia it is forbidden to overtake a tram that has stopped to pick up or drop off passengers.”

The problem is when you have no idea about this rather unusual legislation, and so you may find yourself in a little bit of a predicament with the local police. You could possibly adopt ignorance as your excuse and use our impeccable British manners to try and get yourself out of a sticky situation.  However, as always, it’s best advised to do your research before, and drive according to whatever laws may be in place in your holiday destination. 

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