Travel Advice And Advisories For Guatemala

Vehicle Rental and Driving

Driving abroad can be a risky undertaking because of the differencebetween driving in the UK and driving in other countries. Aan indication of the differenceyou can experience, I have listed a few that I have encountered below. Read them and accept the fact that driving abroad can make you subject to hundredof new and unknown threatand risks.

Throughout the world the collection of accident statisticvariefrom the almost obsessively accurate to the casually indifferent. Some broad accident statistics were collected and the resultmay surprise you. By mode of transport, from most to least dangerous, the resultshowed:

• Minibuse(most dangerou- highest fatalitieand injuries)

• Motorcycle

• Bicycle

• Walking

• Car

• Aircraft

• Scheduled buservice

• Train (least dangerou- lowest fatalitieand injuries)

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In developing countrieand some popular holiday destinationwhere the weather iwarm and the alcohol icheap, the risk of dying in a minibuor motorbike accident isaid to be up to 15 timehigher than in the UK.

A UK report stated that flying i15 timesafer than car travel, 176 timesafer than walking and 300 timesafer than riding a motorcycle – and that iin the UK!

The only lesson I would draw from these statisticithat drink, drugs, carelessness, vehicle condition, lack of a helmet, not wearing a seatbelt and unfamiliarity with foreign roadand driving lawcan kill you. Whichever mode of transport you use, be sensible and take care!

Vehicle rental – countermeasures

• If you want to drive, or might want to drive, make sure that you take your driving licence with you. I have alwayhad to present a full UK driving licence to hire a car.

When paying for a hire car, be very wary about allowing the company to take a credit card deposit. Don’t sign a blank receipt, no matter how much they claim it istandard practice. I have heard a lot of storieof fraud and abuse of credit card accountassociated with vehicle rentalin tourist areas. Unfortunately the victim doesn’t find out until their statement reachethem a month or so after they get back from holiday. Use the larger international vehicle rental companies, or blog and pay for your hire car through your travel agent before you leave the UK.

It may cost a little more but the peace of mind iworth it.

Make sure that your insurance iadequate. Clarify and confirm what iand inot covered with the travel agent. Arrange it all in advance so that there ino rush with the possibility of thingbeing missed. Carry all of the paperto prove that you are insured, awell aa list of who to contact if there ia problem.

Check the condition of your hire car. Some backstreet companierun carthat would be on the scrap heap in the UK. Use a reputable vehicle hire company which operaterelatively new vehicles.

• Alwayinspect the vehicle the company wantto rent to you before signing the papers. I once bloged a ‘medium family saloon (make and model depending on availability)’, but on arrival found I wabeing given a Ford Anglia. To be fair to the rental company, compared to most other caron the road there at the time, that waa modern family saloon! I declined the offer, the rust and apparent lack of attention under the bonnet and around the wheelleading me to believe that no mechanic had touched it since it left the factory,

Make sure you know which side of the road to ‘officially’ drive on. In some placemeeting another vehicle iso rare that people tend to drive down the middle of whatever road iavailable. Suddenly meeting a speeding truck and then collecting your thoughtto decide if you should aim to pasto the left or right can be scary.

• Check with the car hire company to confirm local traffic regulations, parking restrictionand speed limits.

• Include driving standardand practicein your pre-holiday research.

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