Safe Car Hire and Driving Abroad Tips

Traveling by car, highway

When you travel it’s sometimes useful to be able to hire a car while you’re away. However when you do so, there are a number of things you should consider so that your car hire when you’re on holiday is as hassle free as possible.

Read the terms and conditions

The first important thing to remember is to read the terms and conditions carefully before you begin. It’s easiest to do this if you arrange your car hire before you travel abroad as this way, you’ll be sent copes of the booking forms and terms and conditions, and you’ll have plenty of time to read through them.

Where will you be going?

This may sound like an odd question, but remember that unlike in the UK many other countries border each other and it’s possible to drive between them across the borders. Some places you may be allowed to go, and others you may not. For example, if you’re holidaying in America, you might find that you’re fine driving across the border into Canada, but not into Mexico.

How far will you drive?

Unlimited mileage is common in some countries, but not in others. Check to see if there is a daily limit, and if there is, what it is. Don’t assume that you can go further one day and not so far another day as companies will generally be able to tell as they’ll plug a device into the car which will tell them. Be aware that if you do go over limits, you could find you’ve got to pay per mile or kilometre that you went over by.

Get the right insurance

Make sure you take out adequate insurance, but don’t do this without checking to see if you’re already covered with an existing insurance first. Take care that any insurance you do buy covers you for everything you need, and look at excess amounts that you might have to pay if you get in an accident.

What documents will I need?

This is a bit of a hard one to answer as what documents you need to have with you, will depend on where in the world you are hiring the car. In most places you’ll need your drivers license, proof of identity such as your passport, and a credit card. Check with the hire company before you travel however to make sure that you have everything with you that you will require.

Drinking – what do I need to know?

In the UK we have limits on how much alcohol a person can consume and still be deemed legally safe to drive. These laws vary from country to country, so make sure you know exactly how much alcohol IF ANY, you can drink and still be legally allowed to drive. Make sure you also check with your insurance and car hire company that they don’t have a zero tolerance policy as there are quite a number that do. If you are in doubt, then don’t drink and drive at all.

Check the car

Before you accept the car, check it over. Make sure any scratches or marks are documented as pre-existing before you drive away. Make sure the mileage is marked down correctly, and when you return the car, wait while it’s checked over and make sure that it is booked back in before you leave. It is very hard to argue whether there was or wasn’t a mark on the vehicle when you are back home in the UK.

Article author: Many thanks to David White for his useful tips on safe driving when hiring a car abroad.

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