What it is Like to Drive in Other Countries: The Good and The Bad
Getting from one point to another is a basic aspect of your attempt to explore the foreign city or nation. It may be quite interesting to sit back and enjoy being chauffeured around the sceneries by local drivers. However, driving yourself across new lands may be very unique. You may find it interesting, while others may loathe such experiences, based on their past interactions. It depends on your perspective and initial interaction in the foreign land. Below is a clear presentation (the good and the bad) of what it is like to drive in other countries.
You may be pretty accustomed to the smooth flowing traffic across Singapore. Actually, Singapore ranks highly in terms of the rate of traffic flow, thus making it a convenient and hassle-free area to drive through. However, this is not the case in foreign lands. You may be welcomed to a traffic jam moving at a snail’s pace. The traffic jam may not be necessarily due to unexpected circumstances like accidents, but is actually a norm in these countries. Poorly planned cities face such predicament. You cannot choose to overlook these if you have a meeting in such cities, and have to arrive on time for the guests. These traffic jams make us appreciate the efficient road and rail network in Singapore, where staying hours on the road for a destination only a couple of miles away is unheard of.
Direction for Driving and Well-marked Signs
Different countries have different driving systems. However, there are two basic driving systems: the right-hand drive and the left-hand drive. The US and most parts of North America have implemented the left-hand drive.
Some countries in Europe such as the UK and some sections of Asia have the right-hand drive. It may be difficult to adapt to the left-hand drive when you were clearly trained with the right-hand drive. You may drive smoothly, but the mentality of always keeping right may be your undoing. You may be honked for being on the wrong side of the road, and even cause an accident. Conversely, you will appreciate the well-marked roads and road signs to guide you. It may be difficult to adapt, but following the road signs and driving within safe speeds may make that experience memorable, or at least safe.
Unruly Driving Behavior
Courtesy and road discipline is a lacking trait in some of the countries. You may be used to the orderly traffic flow, and courteous responses while driving. You will be in a rude shock when you experience the other side. Some of the drivers speak foul language and cursing words when they address other road users. Even when the road sign tells them to give way for you at a roundabout or junction, you may actually find yourself being cursed for trying to take way. Each one seems in a rush and would want other drivers to give them way. It is like assuming you are the only road user, and priority should be given to your vehicle. It may be the worst experience you will ever face.
Expensive Parking Fees and Strange Policies
Some countries have underdeveloped road systems. Even the existing ones are awash with traffic jams. Amenities like parking spaces are insufficient. With such short supply, the prices are likely to go upwards. However, you may find other buildings charging exorbitantly for the parking space, even for an hour. In Indonesia, there has been a surge of “valet parking spaces” which require you to pay a lot more, but you still have to park the car yourself instead of using the service of a valet. Why is it called valet parking, then? We honestly have no idea. Furthermore, you may experience strange tickets for offences not otherwise considered illegal in Singapore. For example, in France, you are liable to fines not exceeding $50 if found driving a car without the breathalyzer kit!
Driving in foreign countries isn’t always such a bad thing. When you visit Beijing, you may have a chance to drive on the G4 Beijing-Hong Kong expressway. This is a massive expressway that has sections with about 50 lanes! Can you imagine a road with 50 lanes!? Well, this is a rare experience and there is no doubt that it will be thrilling cruising down such a highway, just make sure you are not caught in traffic in such highways as you might spend days on the road!
Have you ever heard of the Autobahn? Well, if you have been to Germany, then, you must have definitely heard of the Autobahn. The Autobahn is not a single highway but a network of highways that are federally controlled. The unique thing about Autobahns is that they have no speed limits enforced except in urbanized or accident prone areas. It is not rare to find a car cruising at 250km/h! It is just amazing!