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Travel topics > Transportation > Driving


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Driving a car gives a traveller more independence and flexibility than scheduled transportation, such as air travel, rail travel, or bus travel.


Driving is often the fastest mode of transportation at distances between 10 and 100 kilometers, unless there are traffic jams, or if the roads are in bad condition. In countries with a fast modern high speed rail network, however, driving is usually slower than trains on main lines connecting big cities. Within cities urban rail often beats cars in terms of speed due to congestion. In sparsely populated areas public transport may be infrequent or non-existent, and in difficult terrain there may be no railway.

Most countries require you to have a valid license before you will be allowed to drive, though whether or not this is actually enforced varies from country to country. Nevertheless, you are still strongly advised not to drive without a valid license, as you could be subject to fines and possible imprisonment if caught, and any insurance policies you may have purchased will not cover you in the event of an accident. Some countries allow foreign licenses, especially from neighboring countries; for example Canada and the USA accept each others' licenses. Many but by no means all other countries will accept an international driving permit (IDP), usually obtained from the automobile association in your home country. If your stay in a country exceeds a certain amount of time, you will often have to get a local license. This may involve simply exchanging your foreign license for a local translation or going through the full courses and testing as a local who has no license would have to.

Check your insurance; not all policies cover international travel and even those that do may not meet the requirements of a destination's regulations. You really do not want to find yourself having to appear in court because of an accident your insurance did not cover, especially when the court may be far from your home or may operate in a foreign language. Nor do you want bills your insurance does not cover, whether auto repair, legal or medical.

Bringing a vehicle into some countries requires a Carnet de Passages; like the IDP this is usually obtained from the automobile association in your home country.

Some borders may be no problem to cross with your own car, but rental cars may be a different story. Many rental contracts forbid driving to certain neighboring countries or even regions of the same country.

Driving tips in general[edit]

Driving by country or region[edit]

Countries driving on the left (blue) or right (red)


See also: Driving in Europe

See also[edit]

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