Whether you are a pedestrian or a driver, you should always be well aware of the traffic rules and customs of the country you are traveling to. If you are still not a driver be sure to check out a driving school guide, and in any case enjoy this article.
Left or right side?
First of all, let’s keep in mind the most important thing – on which side of the road you should drive. Today, in most cases, this is the right side, but through history traffic almost always took place on the left side of the road. The traffic trend on the right side of the road began to expand at the end of the 18th century until the 20th century became the dominant mode of driving.
Today only a quarter of the world’s countries drive on the left side of the road – among them are Britain and many of its former colonies such as Australia, New Zealand, and India, a growing number of countries in the southern half of Africa, Japan, Singapore, and Indonesia. Drive away on the other side of the road only if you are trained and quite sure of your driving skills, but be very careful as a pedestrian, since traffic comes from a direction you are not accustomed to. In order to prevent possible accidents, there are even signs on the road that remind tourists what side to look at before crossing a road.
With those who drive on the “wrong” side of the road, there are many countries where it is better not to catch the steering wheel for entirely different reasons – the aggressive behavior of drivers or the overall traffic anarchy. The traffic chaos is known in India. Non-avoidance of traffic rules and the ignoring of traffic lanes is characteristic for most countries in the Middle East.
If you want to cross the road without major stress, the best countries for this are, according to a survey conducted by the leading European auto clubs, the Netherlands and Norway, while Spain and Italy stand out as more dangerous destinations within Europe.
Gestures you must avoid!
If you decide to be behind the steering wheel, be aware that a driving gesture you use in everyday life can have a completely different meaning in another country, so try to explore the traffic habits of your destination in advance.
For example, the Englishman, traveling through Rome, could find himself confused or even cause an accident, since the flashing of lights in the UK is used when you want to let someone pass you by, and in Italy in order to announce you are going to surpass someone. Also, keep in mind that in most of the places it is forbidden to park at the edge of the road, on German roads it is forbidden to stop even if your gasoline is gone, in Thailand, you cannot dive shirtless, and if you are a tourist in Bermuda you cant use rent-a-car.