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Top 10 Safe Driving Tips

 

When renting a car and driving in a new country, it is extra important to factor in safe driving habits. Unfamiliar places and traffic laws can make driving dangerous unless you follow precautions. Here are our top ten safe driving tips when renting a vehicle:

Get Enough Sleep

It may seem obvious, but sleep deprivation is a common consequence of traveling. Plan ahead to counter-act jet lag or going long periods of time without sleep. If necessary, ask your doctor to prescribe a sleep aid that you can take on the plane, allowing you to arrive at your destination well-rested.

Get Enough to Eat

Likewise, don’t let the disruption of your normal routine cause you to skip meals while traveling. Missed meals can lead to dizziness, low blood sugar and a feeling of disorientation, which can all contribute to unsafe driving.

Take Frequent Breaks

You may be eager to arrive at your destination, but taking breaks can reduce fatigue and keep you alert, improving your overall driving safety. Experts recommend taking one break every two hours.

Take Turns Driving

If you are traveling with someone, take turns driving. This way you can nap or at least take a refreshing mental break frequently during your trip, allowing you to be more awake and alert when you do drive next.

Research Traffic Laws Ahead of Time

Spend some time online researching the traffic laws that are unique to the country you’re visiting. Learning the speed limits and laws while you’re driving can be stressful and unsafe.

Never Drink and Drive

This should go without saying, but always carefully avoid drinking even a small amount of alcohol before driving in a foreign country. Even a glass of wine with lunch can harm your reflexes or make you sleepy, making your driving less safe. Blood alcohol level laws also vary in strictness from country to country, so unless you would like to experience a foreign jail cell on your vacation, always err on the side of caution. Save your drinking for times during your trip when driving isn’t necessary.

Familiarize Yourself with the Car Before You Travel

Before you drive your rental car off the lot at the rental site, familiarize yourself with the vehicle, especially with its safety features. Knowing where the hazard lights, windshield wipers, defrosters, etc. are located and how to operate them will make things easier and safer should you need to use any of these features while driving.

Make Sure the Vehicle is in Good Condition

Before leaving with your new rental car, check the overall condition. Does it start with no issues? Do the tires have air in them? If you feel uncomfortable with the condition of the car, ask the rental car agent for a different one.

Test out Your Brakes

Another important thing to test before you drive off in your rental car is the brakes.  Defective brakes are a major safety hazard, so be sure to double check that they are working correctly and that you familiarize yourself with the vehicle’s specific brakes response time, as this can vary from vehicle to vehicle.

Be Alert to Your Surroundings

When driving on vacation, always be cautious and alert. When returning to your car make sure no potential criminals are lurking near it or in the backseat. Never pick up hitchhikers, and always park in well-lit, populated places if possible.

 

 

 

 

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