Sep 11, 2013

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Unwritten rules of the road

Unwritten rules of the road 1

One of the most exciting things about going abroad, and what keeps us rebooking each year, is experiencing different cultures and seeing how other people live their lives – from tasting exotic food to discovering ancient buildings. But that also brings with it some different customs that we might not be familiar with such as rules around dress code or different meaning for hand gestures. It’s not just the way other cultures cover up that you might need to think about though. Jumping into a hire car is the way many of us start our holiday and it’s a great way to get around and explore, however one thing new arrivals need to learn quickly is local road rules. Getting up to speed with new or different rules to those at home can be challenging, however, with a bit of research and planning, there is no reason why driving abroad shouldn’t be as practical or enjoyable as driving in the UK.


To help ensure you see more adventure than hot water when you hit the open road, we’ve spoken to the UK’s travel and driving communities to reveal the least well known, or in some cases unwritten, rules of the road.

  1. The next time you’re in Belarus, be sure to keep your car clean as driving a dirty one is against the law.
  2. In California it is illegal for female motorists to wear a dressing gown behind the wheel.
  3. In Denmark it’s compulsory to check under your car for people before setting off on your journey           .
  4. You can be given a ticket for driving too slowly in the USA.
  5. In France, although the law imposing an 11 euro fine has been postponed indefinitely, you are legally required to carry an unused  self-test breathalyser in your vehicle.
  6. If you require prescription glasses to drive, you better make sure you also have a spare pair in your car next time you’re driving in Spain, otherwise you are breaking the law.
  7. Traffic in Manila, Philippines, is so bad that you are not allowed to drive your car on certain weekdays. Registration plates ending in a 1 or 2 are banned on Mondays, 3 or 4 Tuesdays, 5 or 6 Wednesdays, 7 or 8 Thursdays and 9 or 0 Fridays.
  8. In Cyprus, you are not allowed to eat or drink anything while driving – the “no drinking and driving rule” doesn’t just apply to alcohol, but soft drinks too.
  9. It is strictly taboo to drive without a shirt in Thailand, and doing so could result in a fine
  10. Expect spot checks of your GPS system in Germany. Police check to see whether it has been set up to alert drivers to where  speed cameras are – if it is you’ll be asked to turn it off

These contributions have been brought to you by A Luxury Travel Blog, Kill The Boredom, Travel On Inspiration, Motorists, Global Grasshopper and The Travel Den and should give you a good head start when it comes to the more unfamiliar rules of the road. That said, it’s always a good idea to do your homework and swot up before driving in a foreign country – as they say, when in Rome!

If you’ve come across any other weird and wonderful driving laws while you’ve been abroad, we’d love to hear about them. Share them with us here:

  1. Adventurous Andrea says:

    I’m moving to Cyprus here in a couple months, so it’s definitely good to know that bit about no drinking/eating and driving! Thanks for sharing.

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