Using your driving license abroad can seem like a straightforward enough task, but differing international road laws and guidelines make it vital that you check all rules and regulations before you depart.
There are plenty of things to think about if you’re planning on driving abroad. Where can you rent a vehicle from? How much will fuel cost? Which side of the road do you have to drive on? With so many thoughts rattling around it’s not uncommon to forget about your actual driving license. Using your driving license abroad can lead to a number of different problems though, ranging from the mundane to the serious. Before heading off to foreign lands then, it’s important that you make some necessary checks and ensure that you’re all set.
Checking before you set off
- Before using your driving license abroad you should take the time to make some routine checks. Are your personal details, such as name, address and photo, up-to-date? These details are important if you find yourself in an accident, or if you simply wish to use your license as a means of identification. Is your license still valid? Often people neglect to check this simple fact and discover too late that their license is effectively useless.
- Driving without a suitable license is also illegal and carries a fine in many countries. It’s worth noting also that if you’re planning on visiting a foreign country for more than twelve months you may need to apply for a native driving license. Remember also to check the minimum driving age, which varies worldwide. Just because you’re old enough to drive in your native country doesn’t mean you’re allowed to drive abroad.
When your driving license isn’t enough
- By using your driving license abroad you are agreeing to certain legal regulations set out by the government of the country you are visiting. Failure to abide by these arrangements can result in hefty fines, and ignorance will not be considered an excuse. Be sure to check with the relevant embassy to see if your driving license is accepted at your destination. Whilst many countries accept various different licenses, certain states require you to have either a translated license or an International Driving Permit. This permit, when presented with your driving license, shows that you have passed a test at home and are approved to drive abroad.
- Finally, this may seem obvious but it’s essential, when using your driving license abroad, be sure to keep it safe at all times. Without it you could have a lot of explaining to do.