Safe Car Hire Information

By: Andy Adams

In the previous part of this guide I introduced the idea that hiring a car on holiday is a great way to see more on holiday, however you need to be careful and this is where our guide continues with what to consider when driving in a foreign land.

When on the road make sure you wear seatbelts at all times, as well as the kids in the back who are all hyped up because you're finally going to the water park! You're in a foreign country and as such will likely be a complete novice with regards to the local driving rules. In most cases you'll be driving on the opposite side of the road and so everything you know about driving is mirrored, this is the most common cause of accidents with car hiring holidaymakers. To be safe take it slow on foreign roads and before setting off try and go through it in your mind all the things that are different and before long you'll get the hang of it.

When driving abroad make sure all doors are locked even when you're still in the car, it isn't a pleasant thought that you may get car-jacked but it does happen, you drive a shiny new hire car through a quiet, less developed village and you are going to turn heads, including car thieves. One rather humorous instance happened to me once where a local tried the back door handle, not trying to steal the car form the back seat but he mistook the car for a taxi! He didn't understand the English lettering down the side of the car and thought he'd hop in!

So make sure the car is secure at all times, try and park in car parks and not on a street. There's every chance you'll not be able to read a no parking sign and end up with a parking ticket, and trust me a parking ticket is definitely something you don't want to have to stump up for when on holiday. Whilst on the lines of safety if you see someone who appears to be in trouble at the side of the road don't stop and get out, call the police and they'll send assistance. It's also worth mentioning that you shouldn't pick up hitchhikers or give a lift to anyone you don't know, you don't know who they are and they could be trouble.

In some countries you need extra equipment such as warning triangles and high visibility vests, it is illegal to drive without them so make sure before leaving the car hire forecourt that you're all kitted up for the road ahead. If you end up in an accident or break down do so in a safe, well lit area and do not pull over unless instructed to do so by the police.

Tourists are unfortunately targets to thieves and so be careful about who is watching when loading shopping into your hire car, also keep all belongings out of sight, preferably in the boot when you are out of the car. It may seem silly but having a map visible in the car or on the dashboard is a big giveaway to thieves that this car is a tourist, whilst on the subject of maps make sure that if you do get lost to pull over and check your map but to be discrete and keep all doors and windows locked or shut. If you need directions then consult with someone who can be trusted and knowledgeable such as a petrol station or local police officer.

Some of this may seem obvious but when on holiday you're relaxing and may be less vigilant so remember to take care when selecting car hire companies, there are many cheap car hire companies that you can pre-book when at home and can help save time and energy when you arrive. Just remember to take extra care when driving abroad and to know the local driving laws and you should be safe and happy on your holidays this year.

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