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Stevethehammer 9:52 Sun Nov 15
Driving abroad
How easy do people find this. I have never done it personally but really fancy taking a drive across America when in Vegas to San Francisco, yes I know it's going to be a fucking long drive but what a way to see America.
So advice, help, horror stories and good experiences all welcome. Forever blowing bubbles will be blaring out of the sound system.

Replies - Newest Posts First (Show In Chronological Order)

1985 11:44 Tue Nov 17
Re: Driving abroad
Drove in the States for the first time a few weeks ago. Took about half an hour of concentrating and remembering that I should be on the right and then it just clicked and became second nature. If anything, driving there was a bit boring. Long, wide highways, everything in grids and the cars I used were autos which made it even more boring!

Chinkey Weasel 11:31 Tue Nov 17
Re: Driving abroad
Piss easy. Have driven in USA, Spain, France & Turkey

defjam 11:17 Tue Nov 17
Re: Driving abroad
One other piece of advice when you're filling up in the U.S, a few 'Gas' stations have GREEN diesel nozzles and BLACK unleaded nozzles so read the pump properly.

Did that the first time i had to fill up and picked the green one for my petrol Chevy, luckily it wouldn't fit!

On The Ball 11:11 Tue Nov 17
Re: Driving abroad
Stevethehammer

Don't get too wound up/bogged down by the prospect of driving abroad - it really isn't that hard. You do need to concentrate all the time, but it's basically the same.

I haven't driven in America but I've driven in 20 or so other countries, including some hairy ones - the hardest I've found is Italy where they will get right on your back bumper if they want to pass you. It beggars belief that there aren't constant accidents.

It seems to come quite naturally to me (and I assume most people). It's dead easy on motorways as they're exactly the same - traffic is only going one way. Roundabouts are a bit of a mind-fuck, and slip roads can be very different (incredibly short in Italy, for example), but once you're in the right mindset (you're automatically constantly switched-on) it's generally hard to forget where to go when turning into a road etc.

Don't hire a satnav - just take a TomTom or whatever with you. Make sure it has US maps and is up-to-date and you'll be fine - probably cheaper than renting one too.

Only had one accident, when I drove into a Serbian tunnel in the mountains. Wasn't ready for there to be a kerb.

On The Ball 10:17 Tue Nov 17
Re: Driving abroad
The Ghost of Braderz 10:47 Mon Nov 16

Look on the AA website - there's lots of practical advice about vignettes and things like that, and usually in language that means something.

Levi Stubbs 10:01 Tue Nov 17
Re: Driving abroad
Best advise I had Steve, was to always make sure your backside is in the middle of the road, if your arse is by the kerb you are on the wrong side of the road. Always remember that and you'll be fine.

fred flinstone 3:16 Mon Nov 16
Re: Driving abroad
If you had driven regularly along the Mile End Road back in the 80s and 90s like I have then driving in Europe and the US is piss easy, not too sure about India though !!

El Scorchio 1:25 Mon Nov 16
Re: Driving abroad
Driving in America is glorious (aside from LA)

Long straight roads, not too much traffic, sunshine, cruise control.

Just make sure you have a decent car and you'll have a great trip.

Far Cough 1:19 Mon Nov 16
Re: Driving abroad
Often drove in freezing weather, sometimes as low as minus 30 F, when it's that cold, ice is not a problem as any moisture quickly evaporates due to the cold, also snow chains are not allowed on many US states, the exception being Alaska, I think?

Dan M 11:36 Mon Nov 16
Re: Driving abroad
Drove from Vegas to San Diego back in 2005. Pretty easy and only had two hairy moments (one of which was exiting McCarran airport). Saw the aftermath of two fatal accidents while going round the LA bypass (which was nice) and navigated the San Diego morning rush hour while being directed by a then girlfriend (now wife) that has absolutely no fucking idea how to read a map.

We hired a convertible for that journey. Made it to the first rest stop on I15 before realising if we didn't put the top up we were going to die.

I do most of the driving whenever we go to New Zealand (every two years or so). Fine in the cities and suburbs, although they have the parking on the same side rule too. Always seems more dangerous to do a U turn to park outside your house than just nipping into the space.

I've driven the Auckland to Wellington "desert road" twice and been stopped by the police both times. The first was while queuing to go through some sort of a police checkpoint at Lake Taupo. We were looking for a hotel at the time and thought fuck this we'll just go the the one we're currently stopped outside. The police thought we were trying to flee the scene, raced down to the carpark and I found myself being breathalysed there and then.

Second time was when I volunteered to drive my father-in-law's company car down while everyone else took the plane. Thought it would be nice to have ten hours on my own listening to music and chainsmoking. Got nicked for doing 117kph (coming up to Lake fucking Taupo again) AND found that my F.I.L.'s Warrant (MOT) had expired and got fined for that too. He then forgot to send proof to the police and six months later another fine turned up in the post here in Essex.

Anyway, driving cross country in NZ - crap single lane roads, slow speed limit, slower lorries, not enough overtaking points and low sun blinding you. Nice scenery though. And a very good system of "per bend" speed limits when you're in the mountains.

Have a lovely day everyone.

The Ghost of Braderz 10:47 Mon Nov 16
Re: Driving abroad
Just Slovakia and Hungary. According to the hire car protection details it mentions 'local taxes' are covered. But we haven't disclosed the plan to go to Budapest.

joe royal 10:26 Mon Nov 16
Re: Driving abroad
A vignette is a type of road tax , usually used where a country does not have road tolls,

For example most of Europe has road tolls where you have to stop and pay to use the motorway (France, Spain )

Belgium and Holland do not have physical barriers so you buy the tax in advance

I can only talk as a truck driver but I hired a car in Poland to drive to Slovakia and checked if the tax was paid or if I had to get it.

It was paid.

What countries are you driving in?

defjam 10:23 Mon Nov 16
Re: Driving abroad
If the worst does happen you'll have to change your user name to 'The Ghost of The Ghost of Braderz'

The Ghost of Braderz 10:19 Mon Nov 16
Re: Driving abroad
Cheers. I should add we're picking up a rental car from Bratislava airport - and they've confirmed we'll have winter tyres fitted.

Wasn't taking it seriously at first and thought that any miss-haps could just go down as 'all part of the fun', but below 0 degrees that fun would quickly turn into - whatever the frozen version of fun is?

We'll defo stock up on supplies and get some blankets.

JR, pardon my ignorance but what's a vignette? I'm aware of the £10 road tax which if the hire company haven't arranged I will be making sure I sort myself as I won't be leaving anything to chance. Same with the cross border charge.

joe royal 9:42 Mon Nov 16
Re: Driving abroad
You will also need a vignette for Slovakia, you can buy them as you approach the border from about 30 miles out. Do not think you can get away with not paying or play the dumb tourist when you get caught, the fines are eye watering high.

In fact you really need to google your route and find out the different countries laws re road tax

A lot of Europe now has zero alcohol levels while driving and a few more now insist you have headlights on all the time, speed traps are common but other drivers will flash you , roads in Easter Europe can have vicious tram lines (and real tram lines) so keep both hands on the wheel at all times.

defjam 9:37 Mon Nov 16
Re: Driving abroad
Great timing, temperatures dip as from Saturday and we have a cold snap coming in most of Europe, if the models prove right.

Just make sure you've got the usual emergency stuff with you, shovel, blankets, food, water and i'd probably arrange to ring someone each evening so if you don't phone then they'll know you're stuck up a mountain, obviously theres a chance that you'll have no signal so the emergency services might turn up while you're wanking yourself warm.

Good luck.

joe royal 9:34 Mon Nov 16
Re: Driving abroad
Ghost

Dunno about cars but trucks are legally obliged to have winter tyres fitted and carry snow chains.

The Ghost of Braderz 9:25 Mon Nov 16
Re: Driving abroad
I, together with two friends (one not driven for four years) am heading to Bratislava on Saturday. Cine Monday, we're driving into the tetra mountains of demanovska some 300km away, before driving to Budapest two days later. There's a forecast of snow for that entire week, with temperatures below 0.

If anyone has done anything similar I'd really appreciate any advice.

chad sexington 8:37 Mon Nov 16
Re: Driving abroad
Found driving in Iceland a challenge. It's not natural to change gear with your right hand. You get used to it though

HairyHammer 7:40 Mon Nov 16
Re: Driving abroad
Claret50

Lol very true.

claret50 7:36 Mon Nov 16
Re: Driving abroad
True Hairy, but when the sat nav woman says 'take the third exit on the right' it don't seem natural....just saying.

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