10 International Rules on Road Travel

Road traffic crashes rank as the 9th leading cause of deaths worldwide, and the majority of its victims are between the ages of 15 and 44. On an international scale, around 1.3 million people die from car accidents each year, or an average of 148 people per hour. On top of the 1.3M deaths, an additional 20-50 million are injured or disabled. Every year, nearly 400,000 people under the age of 25 die on the roads.

International Driving RulesThese deaths can be significantly decreased by following road rules. While each country’s road rules vary, there are basic rules that apply to all countries. Knowledge of such rules will come in handy if you are planning to drive abroad. Let us list ten of these basic driving rules

1. License to drive – Attain an International Driving Permit (IDP). This is a document that allows you to drive in most countries; it is slightly larger than a passport and must be shown together with your home license. In the Philippines, the driving permit is called PIDP (Philippine International Driving Permit) and may be acquired through the Automobile Association of the Philippines. Here is their official website: http://www.aaphilippines.org.

2. Insure to be sure –Since you don’t know all the routes and rules in foreign lands, driving in such areas can get confusing and scary. Having car insurance is a must; it will provide you with security and comfort.

3. Fasten your seatbelts – Just like when you’re cruising the air, you must wear your seatbelts at all times. Some countries penalize people who violate this law.

4. Follow the yellow brick road – Before driving to your destination, make sure you have a map. Chart your course beforehand and foresee alternate routes in case your original route is not available.

5. Fastest left lane – The left lane is known as the “express lane” or the “carpool lane”, depending on which country you are in. Generally, you can only use this lane when overtaking a slow car. Once you have passed the slower vehicle, you should return to your original lane. Ignorance of this rule may result in consequences, both legally and physically.

6. Go speed racer, go! – Familiarize yourself with the speed limit of the road you are driving in. Some countries like Germany have no speed limits, but 130 km/h is their recommended speed. Most countries have an speed of 80-110 km/h.

Important Street Signs7. Street signs – Know the most common international road signs so you won’t be clueless about the figures you see on the streets.

  • Red triangle – warning (ex. Low-flying aircraft)
  • Red circle – restriction (ex. Maximum speed limit)
  • Blue circular – requirements (ex. Minimum speed limit, bicycle lane)
  • Diamond – priority roads (ex. You have the right of way)
  • Sign with red on it – warning or restriction
  • Sign with blue on it – positive information

8. Street paint – Solid white lines mean no switching between lanes. Dotted white lines mean you are allowed to change lanes. Before turning, check your mirrors. The headlights of the car behind you should be visible in the rear-view mirror.

9. Beep! Beep! ­– Some countries require you to honk your horn or flash your lights before turning a sharp curve.

10. 911 – Know emergency numbers such as the local police so you can get assistance whenever you end up being stuck on the road.

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