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How to Drive in Your New Country
Moving internationally? One of the most daunting tasks you may have to undertake after moving to a new country is learning how to drive there -- unless you plan to take public transportation.
Before you can drive in your new country, research whether or not you're legally able to.
- Call your insurance company and see if coverage is valid in your new country
- Find out if your rental vehicle comes with insurance
- Visit your new country's transportation office for information
- Research licence requirements online (this is your best option if there's a language barrier in your new country)
- Get an International Driving Permit which you can use in over 150 countries (an IDP is valid for 12 months and cannot be issued more than six months in advance)
Learn the traffic rules
After you obtain your licence, or while you're waiting for it to arrive, it's time to learn the rules of the road.
- Get a booklet from your new country's transportation office
- Research driving and safety rules online
- Determine if residents drive on the left or right-hand side of the road
Go on a practice drive
Will you be driving on the opposite side of the road? Before driving in your new country, go to a parking lot so you can adjust to the vehicle's controls. Once you feel more comfortable, take the car out onto a road with limited traffic and practice.
Take the plunge
- Familiarize yourself with the controls -- automatic drivers, practice driving manual and vice versa
- No matter which side of the road you are on, always keep the yellow line on your driver's side
- Practice using the turn signals, windshield wipers, lights and other accessories as these will also be switched in the vehicle
Once you are comfortable driving with limited traffic, have a licence and insurance, and know your driving rules, it's time to take your skills out on the road.
- Bring a friend to help with navigation so you can focus on driving
- Pay attention to what you're doing and what other drivers are doing
- Avoid getting distracted and focus
The more you practice and the more you adjust to driving in your new country, the sooner your driving-related anxieties will fade. Good luck!