When you need to travel abroad or at home traveling by car is one of the best ways to get about, especially if you need to transport more than one person or you have luggage.
But if you are thinking about hiring a car then you will no doubt have some questions especially if it is the first time you have done this. We aim to answer all your questions on this page and we will update it frequently with advice and answers to new questions as we learn more about what you need. Some general tips and points to remember if you are thinking of hiring a car…
Check you have all items of your luggage, maps you may require, and make sure that you do not feel overly tired in advance of your journey.
Whether at the airport, the rental location, or on your travels, pay careful attention to your purse/wallet and where you keep your car keys. Do not leave your baggage or valuables/keys unattended at any time. If you are travelling in a group assign someone to stay with your luggage whilst any other drivers of the vehicle familiarise themselves with the car.
You will always receive you hire vehicle with a tank full of petrol, ready for you to drive away. The local supplier will normally ask you for a credit car deposit where they take a swipe of your card. This is to ensure that you return the car with a full tank. If you do not they will obviously make a charge to your card for the amount of the full ta
Although maybe the most obvious accessory you will need to take on your trip, it is surprising how easy it is to forget the most essential things such as your driving licence or passport.
Before you leave, always make sure you have your driving licence with you – car hire companies do not accept photocopies, it must be the real thing. If you actually own one of the new issure photo licences, you must also take along your original paper licence. Also, you must have an Internationl Driving Permit (IDP) (used to be called International Driving Licence) when you are driving abroad.
In major cities, parking areas designated as “blue zones” for short-term parking (1 to 11/2 hours), “green zones” for longer periods, and “red zones” where parking is prohibited. Some cities also use parking meters, so be sure to check for the meter if there is one.
When you are driving abroad always be sure to familiarise yourself with any local rules and restrictions as they are bound to be vastly different to what you are used to when driving in your home country. A useful checklist of things to look for:
- Differing road signs and markings
- Speed Limits
- Parking zones
Another very important point to remember is do not drink and drive. Though this may seem like the most obvious point to make on a car hire site, some countries have very strict laws and operate a zero tolerance policy towards alcohol levels in the blood. This basically means that as a driver you are not allowed to have consumed any alochol whatsoever before driving. Always remember that if you drink any alcohol the night before you plan to drive anywhere the following day, you will probably still have alcohol in your blood and you will fail the test. This is an easy way to ruin a perfectly good holiday, to be banned from driving your hire car!
Before you drive the hire vehicle away, familiarise yourself with all of its controls – lights, windscreen wipers etc. Again this may sound like the most obvious advice, but in some newer model cars the controls are very different.
Make sure you check maps and local visitor information before heading off as reading a map in a car is extremely dangerous as you are not concentrating fully on the road and what is going on around you. Also, always check the petrol and oil levels before driving away.
Legislation in most countries now requires both drivers and passengers to wear correctly fitted safety belts, always remember to put yours on, whether you are travelling in the front or the back of the vehicle. Another point to remember – most European countries do not permit children under certain ages to be in the front passenger seat of a moving vehicle.
You will have your driving licence confiscated immediately for speeding, wherever you are stopped. Fines are often very high and they must be paid swiftly. If you leave the country before paying a fine you can will get into a lot of trouble. This is why it is so important to carefully observe all posted speed limits. Finally, remember that most countries post speed limits in kilometres, not miles!
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