If you’re planning to take on the expat lifestyle, but want to retain certain elements of your home life, then something like a car can play a large role in helping you settle in your new location. If your motor is your pride and joy, and you fancy maintaining some elements of your pre-move life to stave off homesickness, here is our drivers guide to transitioning from the UK, and our top tips on shipping your car.
Side of the road
As is common knowledge to most, many nations around the world don’t drive on ‘our’ side of the road – the left. For many expats, transitioning from driving on the left hand side of the road, to driving on the right simply takes a short amount of time. However if you plan to import your car from the UK, the transition can prove to be a little bit tougher. Driving a right hand drive car, manufactured for the roads of Britain, on the right side of the road in your new home can be tough. It might not be the simplest of transitions, so take the time to bed in to your new driving culture. Being positioned on the curb side of the road might seem odd to begin with, but with practice, it’s not an insurmountable obstacle.
Upon arriving in your new home, take the time to get to know the new road systems around your new home. If you’re required to travel a reasonable distance to your new job, pre plan and have a few recce journeys, to ensure that you’re familiar with any routes and specific roads. Busy motorways and highways that surround your new home might not resemble what you’re accustomed to in the UK; so it’ worth gauging road etiquette in the country of your home. In America, and especially in highly populated areas such as Los Angeles, ‘highways’ operate in a much more hectic style. On roads such as the Interstate 10 and the 110 Freeway, expect little to no lane discipline, plenty of undertaking and be aware of swerving and darting cars nipping from lane to lane to utilise any available free space.
In many nations, if you’re taking up permanent residence and intend to drive, you’ll need to pass your driving test again after an initial ‘bedding-in’ period. In most cases, this should mean the learning of any new road signage and speed limits, however for those first few drives, it’s worth noting that in many countries, speed limits differ from the UK. Across the majority of Europe, expect signage to be shown in kilometers, as opposed to miles, and in some nations, speed limits can be significantly higher than in the UK. One prime example of this is in Germany, where the highway has no federally mandated speed limit.
If you’re packing up and heading off to live the expat life, but are interested in taking some larger home comforts with you, check out the section of our website dedicated specifically to shipping your car overseas.