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Driving abroad this summer? Swot up on unusual driving rules

17th August 2011 Print

For the 100,000 Brits hiring a car abroad this summer, there will no doubt have been extensive preparation, seeking out the best places to visit during the great escape. But according to leading car rental company Avis UK, motorists also need to swot up on the more unusual overseas driving regulations that exist before they take to the open road.

For the thousands of Brits planning a Mediterranean escape over the next few weeks, it’s in fact a recommended requirement to carry an extra pair of specs when driving in sunny Spain. And, if you’re heading to Italy don’t make the assumption that headlights are only for night time driving; it’s compulsory to have them on at all times outside of built up areas.

If all that sunshine is making you thirsty and you happen to be behind the wheel in Cyprus, make sure you pull over before taking a sip of water, as drinking anything whilst on the move is prohibited. In Greece it’s also a good idea to note parking times before leaving your car for a spot of shopping – you may come back to more than just a ticket with police confiscating the number plates of illegally parked vehicles.

Planning a holiday further afield to Romania or Russia, better get shining those hub caps, as a clean car isn’t just about keeping up appearances - it’s actually against the law to drive a dirty vehicle in these countries. Before you turn the ignition key in Denmark, make sure you check for people under the car – a legal requirement alongside checking the brakes, lights, steering and horn before you drive.

Other weird and wonderful regulations include: 

In some cities in Spain, cars must be parked on the side of the road where houses bear uneven numbers on uneven days of the month, and on the side of even numbers on even days 

In Switzerland, pedestrians generally have right of way and expect vehicles to stop. Some may even step into the road in front of oncoming traffic so make sure you keep your eyes peeled 

California law prohibits a woman from driving a car from wearing a dressing gown 

Driving through Vienna, make sure you don’t use your horn – it’s prohibited within the city

To help Brits get up to speed on overseas driving regulations, Avis has published a series of guides covering the top 10 sunshine destinations for car hire this summer. The guides also highlight the best drives and recommended family day trips to help make the most of holiday drive time. To download these guides, visit

Anthony Ainsworth, Commercial Director at Avis UK comments: “Every year, hundreds of thousands of Brits hire cars abroad with Avis as they look to get the most out of their break away. Renting a car is a great way to get out and about and we’ve seen a 10% rise year-on-year in large car hires abroad as an increasing number of families look to venture beyond their resort and see more of the country they’re visiting.

“Making sure our customers’ car hire experience is as hassle-free as possible is a priority for Avis. Whether it’s getting them to the right destination with a satellite navigation device or ensuring they’re aware of the local driving regulations, we try harder to make hiring a car an enjoyable part of the family holiday. We’ve created these guides to help our customers make the most of their holiday and we hope they’ll find them an insightful read before they take to the road this summer.”

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