Tourists who prefer to take their own cars while travelling might be in a spot if they are not accustomed to the traffic rules of different countries. Some countries follow stringent traffic rules. Interestingly Thailand, the USA, Colombia, Indonesia, and Russia are reported to have the worst traffic jams in the world, though a recent study suggests Bangalore is giving these countries some tough competition. According to a report released by a major global location technology specialist, drivers in Bangalore spent an average of 71% extra time on the road due to congestion in 2019, while in Mumbai drivers spent 65% more time in vehicles thanks to the city’s traffic snarls. Here we have come up with a handy guide regarding some of the unusual and usual traffic rules in some countries.
The country follows simple, but strict traffic rules. One important rule is that the driver irrespective of gender should be properly dressed. This applies to cars, buses, and Tuk-Tuk cabs. Foreign drivers should expect absolutely anything from local motorists, including sharp braking, driving on the diagonal, constant lane changing (the division between lanes is a pure formality here), and driving on the oncoming lane. You should be careful when selecting a place to park. Locals never leave their cars in places, where parking is not permitted. If the road has a red-and-white curb, or there is a special road sign that prohibits parking, then you cannot leave your car in such a place. If you do that, your car’s wheels will be blocked in a couple of minutes, and you will be issued a huge fine. Drivers will also be pleased with a good choice of parking lots – the problem of parking is virtually nonexistent in Thailand. Do not assume drivers will stop at intersections. Make slow and deliberate lane changes.
Only one in 5 people own a car in South Africa. Drivers are expected to stop the vehicles if animals stray on the road. In South Africa, they drive on the left-hand side of the road. Keep to the left and pass right is the rule here. There are strict drinking and driving laws - with a maximum allowable alcohol blood content of 0.05%. Always respect the warnings on road signs – be aware that the roads in many rural areas are not fenced, so you could find dogs, chickens, sheep and even horses or cows on the road, so it may be dangerous to drive at night. You must carry your driver’s license when driving. It is also advised to acquire an International Driver Permit also. The traffic lights are called robots. Their travel distances and speed limits are in kilometres on road signs.
It is considered punishable to splash water over pedestrians while driving a car. And this rule turns stricter in June when Japan is usually affected by hurricanes and other natural calamities, resulting in water-clogged roads. Japan drives on the left and therefore you will need to reorient yourself to be able to drive on the left. This means the steering wheel will be on the opposite side of the car and your turn signal/wipers will also be switched. Japan drives slowly, rather too slow. Even on the Japanese tollway, you are not allowed to go fast. Be incredibly careful with your speed and keep an eye on both the speed of the traffic around you as well as speed limit signs. If you are going to drive long-distance in Japan and would like to do so in a reasonable amount of time, you might consider the toll road. The toll roads in Japan were built and are currently owned by a private company, so they are immaculately maintained and a breeze to drive on. However, in turn, they are extraordinarily pricy. Unlike other countries, where you may consider driving as the cheaper albeit longer option, driving is often both the longer and more expensive option in Japan.
In Manila, one is not allowed to drive at all places every day of the week. To reduce the number of vehicles on the road, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) implemented a number coding scheme. The last number on the license plate dictates the day it cannot be on the street (Like Monday: 1 and 2; Tuesday: 3 and 4 etc.). If you are travelling from one city to another, it may be confusing as to which cities implement a number coding scheme, which does not, and which ones have window hours. To get a better grasp of this rule, better check the MMDA website and its official Facebook page. The Philippines requires everyone to drive on the right side of the road and all vehicles must be left-hand drive. Unlike in most countries where both left and right-hand cars are allowed so long as the drivers follow which road they should drive on, right-hand drive vehicles are not allowed to operate here. Careful where you park. There has been a crackdown on illegally parked vehicles in recent years.
Taking a road trip through the USA is an easy way to see the country. But with different laws in different states, you should always be aware of signs and other posted regulations. Children are required to be in safety seats or booster seats. Babies in baby seats are not allowed to be put in the front seat facing forward because of risks from airbags. In many states, it is required by law to move over if a vehicle is stopped on the right-hand shoulder with hazard lights flashing. This also pertains to service vehicles like tow trucks or police and emergency vehicles. Within cities, speed limits are generally 25-30 mph unless otherwise noted. The maximum speed limits for interstates and freeways range from 65-80 mph. If you have a vehicle breakdown or some other non-life-threatening emergency, it’s best to call the local police or state patrol.
Those who keep their cars dirty will be fined in the country. It does not matter if the insides or exteriors are grubby. Initially, this rule was implemented just so that the number plates could be visible during the winter season. Equally unlawful is to wash cars on the road. It is illegal for children under the age of 12 to travel in the front seat. Traffic police officers can stop every car just to check the documents. Every road inspector must introduce himself pointing his title and last name. In a case of a car accident in Moscow, stay right where the accident took place – even if you are in the middle of a busy road – and call 112 (emergency services number, most operators speak English). Provide them with all details of the accident.
It is considered punishable to stop cars on high-speed roads in Germany. Equally, law-breaking is to stop your car if you have run out of fuel on the road. Cars may not be washed in public places (such as at the roadside) unless there is a designated sign and some Federal States even have restrictions on which days car washing is permitted. Most garages have car washes, but the vehicle must not be occupied when the carwash is in operation. It is illegal to drive while wearing headphones. U-turns and stops may only be made in the event of an emergency or breakdown otherwise they are punishable by law. Dipped headlights are compulsory when driving through tunnels. If you are involved in an accident, it is illegal to leave the scene without getting help or offering assistance. If it is just your car in the accident, you must wait there for at least 30 minutes. Any driver involved in an accident must stop, secure the scene of the accident, and call the police. If there are injuries first aid must be provided at the scene and an ambulance called.