The U.S. ranks 4th in the world for the number of vehicles per capita, so it’s a no-brainer for Americans that, when we travel to another country, we’re going to rent a car and drive around to get where we want to go. Unfortunately, driving when you’re abroad carries some unfamiliar risks that you’ll want to be aware of and prepared for before you take the plunge.

Foreign Traffic Laws and Conventions

Traffic laws vary from country to country. That probably doesn’t come as a shock, but it’s different when you’re on the street and you realize that traffic signs look completely different than what you’re used to. Not doing your research and being ready ahead of time can make you a danger to you and to other drivers on the road, so make sure you’re familiar with international signage.

Besides differing traffic laws, driving conventions are also radically different depending on the country you’re in. In some countries it’s completely normal to run red lights, change lanes without blinking, drive on the shoulder, or park directly on the sidewalk.

Negotiating Legal Exchanges

The issue with not knowing the local traffic laws can get compounded if you don’t speak the language where you’re going. If you get pulled over by the police then you’re the one who’s ultimately responsible for being able to communicate and comply. Many people do speak some English, but that’s not always something you can rely on. It’s a good idea to have the number of someone you can call to translate over the phone, or to ensure you have all your information written down in the local language.

Besides minor traffic infractions, there’s always the risk that you’ll have to deal with a car accident.

Getting Insurance and Making Claims

When you’re renting a car, your credit card company, the rental provider, or your home auto insurance might provide coverage. Unfortunately none of those are guaranteed, so it’s important that you look into all of these options to ensure that you’re covered.

If you get into a car accident and suffer an injury, you’ll have to deal with handling insurance claims while you’re in a foreign country. Medical providers in many countries don’t talk to your insurance company for you like they do in the United States. Instead, you might have to fight your insurance company yourself, and pay out of pocket in the meantime.

If you don’t go out of your way to do your research and purchase special travel insurance before you go, you might be forced to start a claim and even sue your insurance company to get a car accident settlement when you get home.

If you need to sue someone else or their insurance company for pain and suffering or disability issues you might get stuck with an international legal battle, which is a whole other can of worms. In any of these situations, but especially this one, you’ll want to get professional help as soon as possible.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, please give us a call today at (1-800-INJURED). We can put you in contact with local auto accident lawyers to make sure that you get the accident compensation that you’re entitled to.

Category: Car Accidents