I have some pretty good tips for international car rental that you should check out. It covers most of the basic stuff.
OK, so driving is kind of my thing. I mean, let’s be honest, I’ve owned a trucking company since I was twenty-six years old. While my trucking company isn’t long haul, it is a passion of mine. I’ve also put in my fair share of time behind the wheel so when I decided to finally leave Czech Republic and head out on the road for the trip of a lifetime, I wasn’t green but boy was I green (LOL).
Let me start by saying before you set out on a road trip in unfamiliar territory, it’s always a good idea before you even put your car in drive to gather your nerves and be confident in knowing that you can handle any problem that may arise. With this being said, I happened to miss my first turn right out of the gate despite Google Maps giving me turn-by-turn directions through my vehicle speakers. I just remained calm and didn’t panic. I laughed it off and told myself, “Hey, this is going to be fun! You’ve driven all across the U.S., in most major cities with both good and bad traffic.”
After missing my first turn I quickly realized that I couldn’t read any of the road signs; although, I suppose that was to be expected, considering that I don’t know the Czech language. Nevertheless, I refused to let this hold me back. As I continued driving for the next 10-15 minutes, I simply followed the cars in front of me while Google configured an alternative route. If I were Google, I would have asked me to pull over (LOL). But no, I just kept on driving because I wanted to get a feel for Prague drivers, which is something that Google, nor any other GPS system, could help me with.
Getting a feel of your surroundings is very important and can be achieved in multiple ways. You can explore the city by walking and paying detailed attention to how people drive. Look for highly concentrated areas where there’s a significant number of one-way streets. Here’s a little tip: this is basically everywhere in Europe (LOL). The cities are centuries, even millennia, old, so the roads just weren’t designed for driving. Most of their streets are one-way and much narrower than the roads in the U.S., so RV and SUV drivers beware. One-way streets are primarily located in major cities back in the U.S., but then again, it’s only because the streets can’t be expanded due to the lack of space, which is actually the exact same reason in Europe This is also the reason why so many small cars come from overseas. People often believe that it’s due to fuel costs and that may be partially true, but let’s be honest, their streets, parking spaces, and parking garages are smaller in general.
Nevertheless, back to me finding my flow in the midst of Czech traffic. I eventually found my groove and realized that the driving is pretty laid back once you leave the city. Interstates are generally four lanes in major cities; however, they can quickly drop down to two lanes when traveling between a major city and minor/intermediate cities. While Western European Countries are more developed in terms of their roadways, don’t let that fool you. They’re still not the U.S. so the roads are narrow, winding, and mountainous. Each European country has its own set of challenges, but for the most part, the roads are very similar for countries that have been a part of EU the longest unless you factor in terrain like when driving in Austria and Switzerland.
Jonathan Dryer: The Unofficial Traveler.