As with most things in life, every country around the world has its own approach to the way that people drive. From something as simple as the side of the road you have to travel on, to whether or not you have to wear seatbelts through to some extremely odd laws, there’s a true abundance of unusual driving etiquette out there. Here at Barrington Freight, we travel far and wide for our clients and so we’ve decided to compile a list of some differences for you, below.

The UK

To truly understand just how different the rest of the world is, you first have to truly get a grip on just what the UK’s driving etiquette is really like. While it can often feel like a case of honking in annoyance, parking in awkward spots and buckets full of road rage, the base driver etiquette is far more polite. From letting people in and out of junctions when there’s traffic and pulling in behind parked cars to let an approaching car pass first, to flashing our lights to say thank you or let someone through, much of the UK’s driving style relies on being polite and friendly to our fellow Brits. However, on the other end of the scale, the UK tend to be far more trigger happy when it comes to our horns! While they’re only supposed to be used to announce our presence or in dangerous situations, you’re more likely to see people honking when they’re annoyed!

So, how does the rest of the world measure up?


Driving in Germany isn’t too different from the UK except for one huge difference – they drive on the opposite side of the road. For drivers heading overseas, this can be easy to forget, so make sure you’re paying attention and follow the traffic. When it comes to overtaking or passing other cars, it’s also similar to the UK and it doesn’t switch as you might think! The right-hand lane can be used to overtake other cars, though when it comes to trams, they can be overtaken on either side on a one-way street, or just on the right on any other road, providing that the passengers have priority when exiting or boarding the tram. The biggest thing to note, however, is that breaking down on the autobahn (motorway) is illegal! Make sure you have plenty of fuel and that your car is in perfect condition before setting off on any motorway trips, or you could end up with a hefty fine.


Did you know that in France, you can nudge other cars out of the way to park? While it’s not exactly a legally encouraged activity, it’s known for some drivers to nudge other cars out of the way in order to fit into a parking space! Thankfully, not all of France’s driving etiquette is quite that bad! In fact, many of their laws are focused on safety. Not only do you have to wear a seatbelt at all times, but you can’t talk on a mobile phone at all and you have to carry certain things with you. This includes a self-test breathalyser kit, a reflective triangle and a safety vest in case you break down.


Spain has certain rules and regulations for driving that you need to know before you head off on any kind of international excursion. The first, of course, is driving on the right, but it’s also important to realise that flashing headlights aren’t a form of ‘thank you’ or an angry response to something you’ve done. In fact, the flash of headlights tends to be a warning from the other driver that they are about to pass you. In a similar way to the UK, it’s important to make sure that you indicate when it comes to moving lanes on a motorway. Not only do you have to wait for the broken white line to be able to do so, but you also have to take into account the fact that the Spanish government are cracking down on drivers that don’t indicate when they move out, and then back into lane.

In a similar way to France, you need a few compulsory things when you drive too, including a spare pair of glasses, a replacement set of light bulbs, all documentation for licence and insurance, a warning triangle, a visibility vest and, of course, a first aid kit.

A Few More Random Facts!

While these European treasures are fairly simple to navigate once you get the hang of it, there are a few stranger rules that you have to consider in other countries around the world. Here are just a few to get you started:

Beijing, China – You aren’t legally allowed to stop for pedestrians in China. While this technically makes driving much simpler, for pedestrians it is far more perilous.

South Africa – If you don’t slow down or stop for livestock or animals crossing the road, you could face stiff fines or other legal repercussions.

Thailand – Blistering heat or otherwise, keep your shirt on if you’re travelling by any form of vehicle! It’s illegal to travel by car, bike, tuk-tuk and similar while shirtless, so save yourself the fine and put your shirt on while getting from A to B.

Rome, Italy – You’ll need certain permits to be able to travel through historic areas of this great city, so make sure you do your research before hopping in the car or truck! The repercussion is a hefty fine that could be avoided with a bit of prior research.

Alabama, USA – We thought this was a bit of a given, but it’s illegal to drive blindfolded in Alabama! We dread to think what happened in the past for this to become a law.

So, there we have it – hopefully we’ve given you an insight into driving in some key locations around the world. There are all sorts of rules and regulations to follow, so make sure you do your research before you head off. Alternatively, make sure that your freight forwarder understands the rules of the road across the world to ensure full safety when shipping.

For an expert freight forwarder dedicated to ensuring your goods are safe, contact our team here at Barrington Freight, today.