Driving In Other Countries

Joined
Sep 17, 2012
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2,350
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A Barrier Island
Lots of us have driven outside the US. My impressions/experiences from years ago; Mexico, around Mexico City and on the mountain road to Acapulco traffic laws seem to be an after thought. Do it if you can get away with it. Spain, although Spaniards are generally polite and pleasant they seem to have little patience with foreign drivers especially on mountain roads. Saudi Arabia, many drivers in the Kingdom don't have a lot of driving experience or else little appreciation for the laws of physics. There are large fenced off areas in the desert with many crashed cars. When I was there they favored full sized Chevys and Mercedes. I didn't like driving there at all. Australia, the locals are very tolerant of foreigners but I found right hand drive cars disorienting. Luckily I only drove from the hotel to a beach nearby. Even if I leave to go on vacation again someday, taxis for me I won't be getting behind the wheel again outside the US.
 
Joined
Jun 5, 2003
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25,971
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Apple Valley, California
As a teen a friend and I went to Tijuana. We hardly crossed the border and were terrified At one point we ended up on a grassy knoll! We took his car back to the USA side and got a cab into Mexico
 
Joined
Nov 27, 2014
Messages
806
Location
Denver
I was 20 years old and in the Marine Corps and got sent to Japan this was 1967. I was told to get out to town just go to the enlisted mens club on base and get a cab. So I go and there are tiny Toyota cabs. What is a Toyota? Oh the steering wheel is on the right. Whats that funny engine noise? Its a Diesel. Off we go driving on the wrong side of the road. Japanese cab drivers drive with the horn ,yelling and shaking their fists. Intersections were like a game of chicken,who backs down first. Luckily on all my return trips to base the abundance of alcohol made the ride a non issue.
 
Joined
Oct 30, 2002
Messages
41,946
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Great Lakes
I've driven in many European countries without any problem. But in places like India or Mexico, I prefer someone else do the driving for me.
 
Joined
Nov 9, 2008
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20,870
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NH
Did it once, in England. Do not recommend taking the red eye over, not sleep on the flight, and then trying to navigate from Heath to Wales. Definitely different. Not bad, just different.
 
Joined
Feb 6, 2014
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3,897
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Canada
I prefer only going to countries where they drive on the same side of the road as in N. America. Germany, Italy etc. were very enjoyable.
 
Joined
May 25, 2005
Messages
2,506
Location
USA
My dad was in Mumbai for 4 months on work. While there the private driver hired to take employees to the offices for the day 1. Hit a pedestrian the guy got up apologized to the driver, 2. The chauffeur vehicle got entangled with another truck onthecway to work, 3. Had new dents and dings everyday in the chauffeur vehicle.
 
Joined
Jul 9, 2008
Messages
3,593
Location
British Columbia, Canada
I've driven in France, Portugal, England, Scotland, Ireland and Norway. It's no big deal. You drive on the left side of the road or the right. If on the left, everything is reversed. Otherwise there's no problem. If you're driving on the left side and you want to practice up a little, take a bus ride. Sit behind the driver. Watch what happens. In France people drive really fast. And they're very serious about driving. There's no looking around, you're driving. In Scotland, England and Ireland you'll find lots of roundabouts. Make sure you now who has right of way.
 
Joined
Mar 30, 2014
Messages
6,894
Location
NJ
My first time to China was a real eye opener. They told us that we'd have a driver for any transportation in China. It's amazing how the drivers in China know exactly how large their vehicle is and where it will fit. I have no idea in my car. I try to pull up in front of a car in front of mine and think I'm about 3 inches from their bumper, park, and check it out and I'm about 3 feet away. Even worse if I'm backing up pre reverse camera days. In China, in a crowded area, the drivers will literally back up until about 3 inches from a person. The person doesn't bat an eye that the car came that close to them. It's just how they roll. And stop signs and right of ways...nah. Just beep your horn and go. Every drives slowly in the cities in China because right of way doesn't exist. Everyone just goes and everyone else avoids them. And you have to do something egregious before anyone gets mad.
 
Joined
Mar 30, 2014
Messages
6,894
Location
NJ
Originally Posted by 97prizm
My dad was in Mumbai for 4 months on work. While there the private driver hired to take employees to the offices for the day 1. Hit a pedestrian the guy got up apologized to the driver, 2. The chauffeur vehicle got entangled with another truck onthecway to work, 3. Had new dents and dings everyday in the chauffeur vehicle.
National Lampoon European Vacation and Eric Idle comes to mind. LOL.
 
Joined
Nov 23, 2011
Messages
5,493
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Lima, Ohio, USA
Sadly, the full extent of my "foreign" driving has been in Canadia, 90% of which was on the 401 from Windsor to Guelph... sadly I've never left N.America... the furthest I've been outside of the states was Peterborough, ON. Dad used to take an annual Fishing Trip to Rice Lake, then Buckhorn Lake when Rice lake went "upscale". I only went the one year..
 
Joined
Apr 16, 2016
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1,974
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Kansas
I drove 3 blocks into Mexico a couple of months ago with my Jetta. Not doing that again. Worst part was border patrol tearing up my car.
 
Joined
Mar 15, 2014
Messages
213
Location
WA
I covered our international market for a while, I never drive in foreign countries, far too many strange situations can be encountered.
 
Joined
Sep 6, 2007
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Location
TX, USA
In asian countries, if you drive like in the US, you will never move. No rule, just whoever is in front first.
 
Joined
Apr 26, 2005
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Under the hood
Germany -- good drivers and good roads. Not surprising, since getting a license is harder and a costly endeavor. Italy -- more chaotic, but still a higher standard than the U.S. Speed limits are suggestions that are often ignored, except when in a camera zone. Tailgating is common, but not as an invitation to road rage; it's just the way they drive. The ZTL zones in city centers are the biggest potential gotchas, and will result in an unpleasant bill in the mail months later if you intrude upon them without a permit. Road layouts sometimes don't make sense, until you realize they were laid out for horses and carriages many, many years ago. Germans had better lane discipline, so it's less likely to run into a slowpoke in the #1 lane, but both are still good, especially compared to the U.S. The way they route all traffic on divided highways onto one side and completely close all lanes during construction is interesting. They installed a couple of low speed roundabouts in my area a couple years ago, and people still don't know how they work, but then again, many interpret the Yield sign to mean "stick you nose in there and don't worry about cutting anyone off."
 
Joined
Nov 6, 2009
Messages
2,386
Location
Ontario Canada
Originally Posted by Passport1
Lots of us have driven outside the US. My impressions/experiences from years ago; Mexico, around Mexico City and on the mountain road to Acapulco traffic laws seem to be an after thought. Do it if you can get away with it. Spain, although Spaniards are generally polite and pleasant they seem to have little patience with foreign drivers especially on mountain roads. Saudi Arabia, many drivers in the Kingdom don't have a lot of driving experience or else little appreciation for the laws of physics. There are large fenced off areas in the desert with many crashed cars. When I was there they favored full sized Chevys and Mercedes. I didn't like driving there at all. Australia, the locals are very tolerant of foreigners but I found right hand drive cars disorienting. Luckily I only drove from the hotel to a beach nearby. Even if I leave to go on vacation again someday, taxis for me I won't be getting behind the wheel again outside the US.
You would find driving in Canada refreshing and $1.30 exchange rate.
 
Joined
Sep 14, 2015
Messages
942
Location
ne & sw
lived/worked in philippines, haiti, japan, saudi arabia, south korea, canada, indonesia. most disciplined: japan worst drivers: canada (greater toronto area). canada relies on a points-based immigration scheme, with bonus points undoubtedly given for terrible driving records. the 406 is the busiest highway in north america and unpredictably insane. most polite drivers: canada (ex-gta). nicest highways and rest stops: south korea. straightaways double as emergency military airstrips. impressive tank traps and pillboxes from the imjin river north to the dmz. most rule-less with epic roadside wrecks: saudi arabia. most chaotic and crowded: indonesia. i never drove myself, taxis (toyota vios, i.e, yaris sedan) are cheap and everywhere. most adventurous: haiti. impromptu roadblocks, some government, some "freelance." watched the progress of a burned out sedan with corpse inside be stripped bare to their bones by thieves and dogs over a few months on daily commute. always kept a loaded 38 snubbie under my right thigh while in car.
 
Joined
May 12, 2015
Messages
3,010
Location
America
I think when we try to apply American driving rules in other countries we actually create hazardous and dangerous environment. I prefer to use taxis and public transport if their written and unwritten rules are different from us. Inside the US things vary, too. Can't compare driving in St Louis to driving in Chicago, for example.
 

4WD

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Texas via IAH
So we should run red lights and do U turns at the same intersection that they often run red lights … I stopped at a school crosswalk to let kids cross and two cars were honking … I stopped when I was not sure a bus would stop and they started honking for me to go. The bus ran the red light. I even refused to do that U turn while taking defensive driving … the instructor did not react well at first … but approached me later and said when I take the driving test … he's good if I turned around like I do in the USA … (parking lot). I also countered him on driving stats they presented that were not per capita … we did lots of coffee break chats … I knew that he was thinking about things I said …
 
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