Driving in a foreign country can often feel like a daunting prospect. Aside from the obvious differences, like which side of the road you should be driving on, each country has its own set of unique requirements and unwritten rules for driving safely.
Being mindful of the driving habits, cultural quirks, and weird laws that may affect you when driving in different countries around the world can help you avoid collisions — and stay out of trouble with the law.
While there are some rules in place that may seem fairly logical, there are many that you definitely wouldn’t expect. For example, did you know that French drivers will often nudge other vehicles to fit into a parking space? Or that it’s illegal to run out of petrol on the autobahn?
Even something as innocuous as honking your horn has many different connotations, depending on where in the world you’re driving. Honking your horn in the UK could mean you’ve spotted a friend in the street; honking in Germany could mean you’re on your way to a wedding; and honking in Spain means the driver behind you isn’t happy that you didn’t pull out immediately following a green light.
In Finland, speeding fines are attributed according to the income of the perpetrator, so high earning speeders will pay more expensive fines. Elsewhere in Scandinavia, safety conscious Swedes require drivers to have their headlights turned on at all times, regardless of the time of day.
Avoiding driving fines
Being aware of international driving etiquette could save you a small fortune in fines. Washing your car in Switzerland on a Sunday? That’s a fine. Driving without a shirt on in Thailand? That’s a fine. Forgot your spare pair of glasses while driving in Spain? Yep – you get the idea.
We spoke to drivers from different corners of the globe to find out more about some of the most important and unusual driving laws and habits in their country, so you can stay safe on the road, wherever you go: