Driving overseas is one of the most exciting ways of exploring a new country.
However, there are a few risks to be aware of, especially for first-timers.
But don’t worry. We’ve got top tips to share.
Get your International Driving Permit (IDP).
This is the first step for any Singapore driver planning on driving overseas.
An IDP will come in handy in case you are stopped by local law enforcement.
The IDP tells the officers that you hold a valid driving licence.
There are different languages in the booklet.
You can apply for one at the Automobile Association of Singapore (AA Singapore).
If the IDP is not accepted at your destination, re-jig your plans.
You don’t want to risk being arrested for driving illegally.
Store the emergency numbers in your phone.
In case of a mishap while driving overseas, you will panic even if you don’t know who to call.
Store the numbers for the police, ambulance/fire department and nearest Singapore consulate.
You may wish to inform the latter of your travel destination.
Do some planning before you set off.
Driving overseas is exciting and you may want to “wing it” and just take off.
However, you have no way of knowing what kind of mobile coverage is available.
For your road trip, plan your rest stops, driver swops and points of interest beforehand.
It may seem tedious, but your overseas drive will go a lot smoother.
Planning on the go and using Google Maps while navigating unfamiliar places is very stressful.
Couples and friends may end up quarrelling. Don’t ruin your holiday like this!
Be confident and respect the local laws.
You may have been driving in Singapore for many years.
But driving overseas is not the same thing. Even if it’s just in Malaysia.
In countries like Germany, drivers respect the laws and you are expected to do the same.
Therefore, you have to leave your bad habits (if any) in Singapore.
Not signalling is a big no-no, and cruising in the fast lane is taboo.
In Germany, the fast lane (the leftmost lane) is strictly only for overtaking.
Overtaking to the right of motorists will earn you their ire.
And some law-abiding local may even report you to the police.
NOT ALL German autobahns are unrestricted!
That the German autobahns have no speed limits is a myth.
In fact, only about 25 percent of the autobahn network is unrestricted.
On most other stretches, there are posted speed limits.
These range from 130km/h (recommended), or anywhere from 50-80km/h if there are road works.
Do not be alarmed to see motorists braking from 130km/h to 80km/h.
If the signs say so, you should do so, safely.
Driving overseas: Final tip
One thing many Singaporean drivers lack is situational awareness.
That is, being aware and making an effort to be aware of what’s happening around you.
When driving overseas, you will need this skill, more than ever.
In many countries, you will drive for longer hours.
And the roads may be wider/narrower, and have many more lanes on their expressways.
Make an effort be more aware. Keep a safe distance from cars in front.
Adopt a more moderate speed and stay in the slower lanes until you feel more comfortable.