Friday, July 18, 2014

Tip of the Day: What To Do If You Drive ABROAD

Make sure that you check with the embassy or consulate to learn what to do if you are involved in an automobile accident ABROAD.

In some countries, you will be advised to go to the nearest police station and report what happened; in other countries, you will be advised to go to the embassy. It is important to know BEFORE you are involved in an accident.

BEFORE you get into an automobile accident abroad ensure that you ask your embassy or consulate what you must do to legally comply with local law as the rules are often as different as are the number of foreign countries.

Travel and traffic law enforcement in developed countries are generally similar to—or better than—conditions you may find in your own home country.

When driving in developing countries, remember that:

1. Driving habits and patterns are much more aggressive and dangerous than those found in developed countries;

2. Foreigners often are involved in automobile accidents in developing countries because they do not adapt quickly to local driving conditions and because they do not understand the local rules of the road, if they exist. If you don't really understand the rules of the road in the country in which you are driving and/or do not speak the local language, my advice is to DON'T drive;

3. Foreigners coming from right-hand-drive (RHD) countries experience a much higher number of accidents when driving in any of the 40+ left-hand-drive (LHD) countries;

4. Few developing countries have mandatory inspection of motor vehicles. The result is a greater number of accidents and broken-down vehicles, which are especially hazardous at night;

5. In many developing countries, you may suddenly encounter a vehicle—very often a large truck—broken down in the middle of the road and abandoned with no lights or warning cones. This situation has caused numerous serious accidents;

6. Driving is especially hazardous at night, in general, and should be avoided if possible;

7. Many drivers in developing countries often drive at night with their headlamps off;

8. People, buses, trucks, cars, motorcycles, bicycles, donkey carts, rickshaws, caribou, water buffalo, cows, sheep, goats, and even the occasional camel or elephant may all share the roadway—each going in a different direction and at varying speed;

9. Although most countries use international road signs, many do not, which is why I said earlier that if you don't speak the local language and really don't understand the rules of road, my advice would be to NOT drive unless you have no other alternative;

10. In addition to the high risk of traffic accidents in developing countries, the risks of auto theft, armed carjacking, kidnapping, and armed robbery are also very high. For example, in Rio de Janeiro, motorists are permitted to proceed through red lights between 2200 and 0500 hours if they feel threatened by carjackers; and

11. If you are under the age of 25, you may not be able drive abroad. Period.

If you don't read any other paragraph in this posting, please read the two in BOLD below:

In both developed and developing countries, minimum blood alcohol level varies enormously, so do check on what the minimum level is before you get behind the wheel, as some nations will imprison you for DUI. 

Also, if you injure another person, or God forbid, kill a pedestrian or other motorist, you could be facing serious prison time, not to mention financial support of those you incapacitate and/or kill.

Below are a series of useful links that you may find useful if you must drive abroad, but let me emphasize, driving abroad is not for ALL drivers: