Hiring a car internationally & driving tips

Manan

Well-Known Member
Re: Hiring a car internationally & driving tips

9. (This one is based on hearsay ... so kindly correct it if I'm wrong). In case you're caught for any traffic offence ... stay as you are inside the car. The officer will come to you. Keep your seatbelt on (if you had originally worn it).
The logic is that if you remove it so that you can talk more easily / freely, the officer might add that to your list of offences.
And if you get down (like in India), they assume that you're trying to be agressive ... and they might 'disable' you with their baton. Not a pretty sight I'm sure!

10. Seat belts are compulsory for everyone on board. If the rear seats have seat belts, you must use them. (Can someone clarify if there's a limit to the number of people who can be in the car? Can there be more people than the available seat belts?)

11. If there's a baby on board, a child seat is compulsory. There's some age limit ... 12 or so mostly. After that, normal adult seat-belts are fine.

12. This one is bizarre (IMHO). If you have specs, you must have an additional pair / spare pair with you at all times. Or you could be fined!!! (I can understand the logic behind this ... as to what if you drop them / lose them? But what if I have an authorized additional driver with me? She / he can drive if i'm 'disabled'. Oh well)

13. Don't bribe the officer ... instead try requesting politely to be let off with a warning (though in most cases, I doubt if anything will work if you've been caught with some obvious issue)

- - - Updated - - -

Now I'll shortly cover areas which you'll find challenging when driving abroad.

14. Traffic Circles or 'Roundabouts' as they're called.
The most important rule here is that you have to 'Yeild' to the cars already in the circle. They will not wait for you but will keep driving ... assuming that you will brake at the last minute even if you're coming in fast! (This whole 'yeilding' business is alien to us Indians anyways. We simply yeild to the bigger car :). What I mean is that if I'm approaching an unmanned cross-road & a BEST bus is coming ... I will stop even though I'm a bit ahead. Out here, you simply yeild to the meaner looking vehicle)

I find it safer to just slow down & let the other car pass ... but what will happen is that you will get tailgated by aggressive drivers behind you.

(Btw don't forget that roundabouts are counter-clockwise in countries that drive on the wrong side of the road).

Roundabout.jpg

(The red arrows have been added by me)

So if you are the black pickup next to the red arrow, by the time you reach the roundabout, you will need to wait till the road ahead is clear before continuing.

15. GPS instructions in roundabouts are like this: After you enter the roundabout, each road radiating out from the circle is called an 'exit'.
So in this case, if you want to carry on straight, from the 1st arrow to the 2nd one, it will tell you to 'take the 2nd exit'. Got this? (Sometimes, the GPS will say this for roads which don't look like 'roundabouts' to you. But the logic is the same). If you were to take the '4th exit' in this case, you will go back to where you came from.

16. Exits on freeways / expressways. You need to plan beforehand where you need to exit. Exits are usually numbered ... so you start getting into the correct lane beforehand. In case you miss the exit, don't lose too much sleep over it. And DON'T try to back up on the freeway to catch it for heaven's sake!!!
What you do is that you drive ahead & take the next exit. There is usually a way to re-enter the expressway on the other side after you exit which you need to figure out ... and re-enter the expressway.

Exit expressway.jpg


Notice how the solid white line on the right becomes dotted just where you need to take a right. Don't forget that at the extreme right, on the right side of the white solid line is the shoulder. Don't drive on that.

17. While making U turns, you'll suddenly realize that your natural instinct is to take U turns from the right! When you're driving on the right side of the road, your U turn is from the left! You'll always feel funny doing this!
 

Swift

Member
Nice thread and quite informative information for people who love to drive and want to explorer places on their own, with flexibility to stop at any point without bothering others. I went to Jordan in Apr 2011 for a month for office work. Jordan is a small country so it can be covered end to end in two three weekends. There are many beautiful places around Jordan like Petra (one of the 7 wonders), Dead See, Aqba, Jerash, Wadirum etc..

So coming back to thread, I hired car on two consecutive weekends in Amman. There are number of rent vehicle agencies there with all type of cars starting from basic car to most expensive sport cars. One of the good thing there is that if you have Indian license then you don't need international licence. Your Indian license will do. You need to fill form and sign with certain conditions (pay damages, take insurance ......).

Jordan is right hand driving country so one has to practice it. I was almost about to hit a truck when I started driving left side. View was so good that I forgot which side to drive.

Other most important thing is that you must check vehicle condition very carefully otherwise you will be ended paying high charges for damages which you didn't cause. You must check for spare tyre, tool bar etc. I had two punctures in types and to my utter surprise there was no tool kit in boot space. Thanks to Jordanians who are very very helpful.
 

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Manan

Well-Known Member
Re: Hiring a car internationally & driving tips

I had two punctures in types and to my utter surprise there was no tool kit in boot space. Thanks to Jordanians who are very very helpful.
This is really surprising. I had this experience in India when I hired from Hertz from Delhi ... (I got a puncture & though there was a spare tyre, there was no jack) ... and then to my surprise, I managed to get the exact same problem when I hired from Autoriders the next time (This time, the tool kit was there. But the tyre was already punctured ... something that I realized after I had replaced the tyre :()

So yes. This is a very useful tip.

btw the 2nd photograph of the Jordanian mountains in the backdrop is stunning :)

- - - Updated - - -

18. A bit more about exits: They are numbered and are usually 'in order'. You must know which exit to take beforehand. I'm putting the earlier photograph again here:

Exit expressway.jpg


Notice the 'Exit 2S'. Exits have some logic behind them. They are either just numbered (like the left one which says 'Exit 3') ... or they would have some logic like the number could be the number of miles from some X reference place.
Suppose you are going towards X in that case, your numbers will keep decreasing as you would approach X. If you are moving away from X, the numbers would keep increasing.
Exit numbers on both sides of the express way would be the same.

If the exit number indicates something meaningful (like a milestone) and there are multiple exits within the same distance, there would be 'letter suffix' too. This too would be in either the increasing or decreasing order.

For example, in the above, the exit 2-S is before 2-N. Which means we will have descending order here.

Also notice that usually there would be sign boards before the exit for sure. Like the 'Exit 3' sign says that the exit is 3/4 miles away still.


Maps & Directions:
19. Whether you have GPS or not, you must have an overall picture of where you want to go & what approximate route to take before you start your journey. It will help you to avoid reaching a separate state entirely than what you originally planned ;). (Though it didn't help me when I reached Philadelphia instead of New Jersey when traveling from Washington in the pre-GPS days. But let's not talk about *that* :oops:).

You can either purchase a good physical map before the journey from India itself & study where you want to travel ... or it is much easier nowadays to do the same using Google-maps.

What I do is that for my main destinations, I input the source-destination pairs in Google-maps and save the print-screens of the important junctions in a folder after following a nice logical numbering system. All this goes in my laptop ... with the assumption that I won't have internet access on the way. This is my 'backup / fallback' plan in case my GPS doesn't work there for some reason.

20. Another small suggestion is that if you have your GPS unit in India itself (like a Nokia phone with downloaded maps of the destination), I save all the places I'm going to be staying / visiting each day in my 'favorites' with numbering like '01 - Radio City Apartments, New York' ... '02 - xxx'. Now out there, all I have to do is look up my favorites, tap on the destination, tap 'Drive to' ... and I'm good to go :)

21. DO keep a torch handy if you're going to reach after dark anywhere.

Parking
22. It's good to research a bit about parking charges & rules of the target country before you go. Like if you're parking in New York city, expect to pay around Rs. 1500 or more as your daily parking charge in certain areas! (so try imagining what they would charge you if they *tow away* your car for parking in a no-parking zone ;))

Let's see a few no-parking signs which are not too obvious (Country rules will vary here. This is just to give you an idea what to expect. To be safe, try following a herd-kinda-mentality here! Don't park on any of these if you're the only one!!!)

23.
No Parking double yellow.jpg

Double-yellow line

nvax5w.jpg

Single-yellow line

Single Yellow-320x255.JPG

Single-yellow line

Usually, a single-yellow line indicates that you can't park here but you can stop to load / unload people. A double-yellow line implies no halting & no parking.

24.
2012-09-27-photo-8.jpg


A zig-zag line like this doesn't mean the person who was drawing it was drunk ;). It basically means that there are added instructions for parking restrictions elsewhere. Maybe the school hours are written on a board or something.
So basically like how we have timing restrictions here? No parking from 8-12 for example? Abroad, that board would have been accompanied by this zig-zag yellow line OR in some cases the single yellow line on the road to specify the exact limits for which the restriction applies.

25.
disabledparking442.jpg


parking_no-disc_00.jpg


Take special care to not park in handicapped areas (unless you are handicapped and have some documentation to prove it). Not only is it an offense, it's really in bad taste to do this as you're now forcing someone who's not as privileged as you are to walk a lot more!


26. Parking Meters:
row-of-parking-meters.jpg


parking-meter-modified.jpg


1164024301_4166.jpg


This is a 'foreign' concept for us ;). What you're supposed to do where there is 'metered' parking is that as soon as you park the car, you must pull out a parking ticket from the machine after paying for the approximate time that you want to park the car for. The current time will be printed on the ticket. Most older machines will not give you change ... you have to have enough coins of your required denomination to make this work.

Next (this is important), you MUST keep this ticket in a visible place (usually you have to stick it on the inside of the window. It'll be like a sticker)

There is usually a 'limit' to the number of hours you can park like this. Say the 2nd photograph shows a 2 hour limit. You have to return within the 2 hours and take out a fresh ticket if you want to continue (though ideally, you are supposed to vacate the place after 2 hours).

The problem with this is that if you come back earlier than expected, there is no concept of a 'refund'.

This concept works only if you take the ticket the moment you park your car. What if you haven't taken the ticket from the machine? That's what the officers will check on their 'rounds'. If they cannot see your ticket, they will assume that you are illegally parked & will give you a 'ticket' (this one being a fine-ticket. Sorry for the confusing vocabulary ;))


27. Parking lots:

boom-final.jpg


barrigate2.jpg


These are similar to a lot of shopping mall parking lots that we now have. You basically push the button on the machine just before the 'boom barrier' from your car window & it will give you a 'ticket'. Only after you push the button will the 'boom barrier' raise & allow you to enter.

Now for the main difference from India though: the exit will be unmanned. There will be 'payment' machines scattered throughout the parking lot ... usually at 'logical' places. You must go to this machine, insert your ticket & pay the amount displayed (it will be auto-calculated). Now you will have a short amount of time (usually 15 minutes) to exit. During exit, you have to insert the paid-ticket & the boom will raise again.

Basically, don't forget to pay before you start driving for the exit. Else the person behind you will get pretty irritated when he finds out that you can't exit & you need to back up!

28. Overtaking on 'single carriageway' roads (these below pictures are from countries which drive on the left side of the road like us)

overtaking.jpg


I forgot to mention this earlier along with the other road markings. When you have a single carriageway (meaning there's no divider between the 2 opposite sides of the road), you have to overtake slow-moving vehicles by going on the wrong side of the road (similar to our old Mumbai-Goa highway for example). Out here we just follow instinct ... but there are simple rules which you can follow in countries where there are road markings.

There will be 2 lines in the middle of the road. Either both can be solid, one of the 2 can be solid & other broken ... or both can be broken.
The logic is that only the side where the line is broken is allowed to 'cross over' on the other side of the road (after making sure no one is coming from the opposite side of course). This tries to instill a certain sense of discipline when overtaking.

This guy below is wrongly overtaking as both lines are solid!
overtake1.png



28. School bus overtaking rules:
Most countries have particularly strict rules governing overtaking of school buses ... esp. when they're parked & are loading / unloading children. You cannot overtake it! You have to wait patiently behind it. The logic is that a child could run & cross the road from the front of the bus which could be blind to you if you overtake it. Usually buses which will be loading / unloading children will have some kind of red lights on which are flashing. This also applies if you are on the opposite side of the road so beware of this rule (try following what others are doing)

29. Filling fuel.
One auxiliary topic is of how to fill fuel at gas stations (they are not called 'petrol pumps' out there for obvious reasons ;)).
In most advanced countries, due to acute labor shortage, most pumps will be 'unmanned'. You will have 2 types of pumps: Totally unmanned (these will work only if you have a credit card) ... and partly manned (these will have an attached supermarket / convenience store where the 'cashier' will be). Now depending on the country, there are 2 ways you can fill up in the partly-manned station.

a. Countries where they trust you: You basically park the vehicle in front of a free gas station with the correct fuel type. You fill up your car yourself (the pump is already 'enabled') ... then walk into the store & tell the cashier the 'station number' at which your vehicle is parked. These numbers are prominently displayed above the pump. You pay ... and then you drive out.

b-1. Countries where they don't trust that you will pay: You park the vehicle in front of a free gas station with the correct fuel type. The pump is 'disabled' so you can't use it. Now you go in the store & pay for your fuel first. You have to mention the 'station number' here too. The cashier will 'enable' that much fuel to be dispensed from your pump. You now go & fill-er-up and leave.

b-2. If you want a full tank, you won't know how much fuel will go in. You basically tell the cashier to 'enable' a much larger amount by paying for it ... like a 100$ worth of fuel ... and after you fill up, you go back to the cashier & collect the change.

This is the reason that gas stations out there are quite large: There is a lot more taken time 'per vehicle' per pump as there's a lot of back-and-forth walking involved!

30. About fuel, during your car hire originally, make sure that you ask about the *exact* fuel you're supposed to use. Some companies for example have specific instructions to not use bio-fuel as it damages their engine. (Bio-diesel is cheaper). If you do use it & they come to know, expect a *huge* charge in your credit card! Insurance won't pay for this btw ... so be careful!
 
Last edited:

adsatinder

Plz Help Himabuj (Amit Tyagi) in Corona Fighting
Great Effort..........
Great Info.................
Congrats Manan..............
You are on TOP Now..............
 

Manan

Well-Known Member
Thank you Anup-ji for making this thread sticky.

Appeal to everyone who has experience in driving abroad to freely contribute to this tread. Let's remove the 'fear' factor of driving abroad ... and hopefully let's get extra discipline & other ideas that we learn out there back home :)
 
Wow!! Almost EVERYTHING on 'this' topic!! Cleared a lot of doubts, specially about the 'International Driving License' (which actually, doesn't exist).

Thanks a lot for sharing!
 

Aston Martin

New Member
@Manan---this is an amazing compilation! Kudos to you for the effort!

I've learnt quite a few things from your posts, despite the fact that I've made 3 trips to the US and 2 to UK so far. I must confess that I never dared to drive only because of the fear of being fined heavily for not knowing rules and driving conventions. It was only in the UK that I drove on the M1 for an hour, under the guidance of my relative.

As regards parking rules, in San Francisco city, if the side of the footpath is coloured red, it is a no-parking zone. However this is not the case in DC and other states.
 

Nester

Member
That was really an extensive write up.
thanks for doing it manan.

i am soon planning to do a Motorcycle trip overseas,and a lot of your info is very usefull.

hanks
 
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