Don’t panic – tips on what to do when getting pulled over in another country


Ah, the open road. Nothing stands between you and your exotic vacation, right? Well, that is until law enforcement officers pull you over. Have no fear; here are some tips on what to do when you get pulled over in another country.

Do your research

Every country has its own laws on how to drive and what to do if you get pulled over. If you know that you’re going to drive in another country, then it’s best to research the local laws before you arrive just in case. Plus, if you plan on driving your own car, then make sure that your vehicle meets the local standards and follows all the laws, such as adding stickers to headlights if you are going to drive on the other side of the road.

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Get an International Driving Permit

Some countries will ask you for an International Driving Permit. This isn’t the same as a license, but it means you are allowed to drive in another country if you have already passed your test in your home country. Just because you have your driver’s license doesn’t mean that you can automatically drive abroad. Thankfully, most rental companies will check you have the right paperwork before they hand over your car to make sure that you’re legal on the roads. Just be sure to keep your IDP on you at all times.

Get the necessities

This means making sure you have your driver’s license and your IDP if you need one to drive in that country. It’s also a good idea to keep a copy of the rental agreement you have with the company if you have hired your car for your vacation. Other forms of identification that are useful to keep on you at all times are your passport, just to prove who you are. The final piece of information that is often useful is any relevant insurance documents.

Learn the rules

Most countries want drivers and passengers to stay in the car when they are pulled over. It’s also best to keep your hands on the wheel to show that you don’t have anything dangerous. Switch off the engine and wait for the officers to approach you with instructions. Some countries allow drivers to walk towards an officer, but it’s often best to stay in the vehicle to be safe. If you’re worried about the person who has pulled you over, then lock the doors and wind the window down a little so that you can speak without putting yourself in danger.

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Deal with fines

Many countries have on the spot fines for speeding tickets or other traffic violations. Even if you think you shouldn’t be paying the fine, it’s usually best to do so without arguing. Just be sure that you ask for identification before handing over any money to make sure that the law enforcement officer is legit. Did you know that some countries count traffic violations as a criminal offense? That means you could get stopped at passport control and held if you don’t deal with any tickets at the time.

While getting pulled over in another country might not be the way that everyone wants to spend their vacation, it doesn’t have to be as daunting as it first seems. Just be sure that you have all the paperwork you need and you’re prepared to follow the driving rules of the country to make sure you can deal with it with ease.