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Car/Limo Rentals

 May 04, 2006
National Car Rental Launches Drive Safe

 Driving in a foreign country -- and in an unfamiliar car -- makes many people nervous. According to the latest research* from leading international vehicle rental company, National Car Rental, 41% of travellers who are planning on driving abroad in a rental car do not check the road rules of the country they are visiting ahead of the trip. It's perhaps not surprising then that over a quarter (26%) say that they have experienced a 'near miss' when driving in another country.

Tackling these challenges to make driving on foreign roads less stressful and more enjoyable, National Car Rental has launched Drive Safe, a unique international online road safety initiative. Utilising a wealth of expert local knowledge, and accessible free via the web, Drive Safe has been developed to help business and leisure travellers drive safely in over 40 countries in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, plus the USA and Canada. And it has been designed specifically for those people renting a car abroad, as this experience can be quite different to driving their own vehicle at home.

The condition of the roads and the way local drivers behave can be quite different from those travellers are used to at home. And the rules and regulations in other countries can often catch out foreign motorists. For example, did you know that on the spot fines can be issued for running out of petrol on motorways and other main high roads in Germany? In Belgium -- and many other European countries -- trams have priority over cars. Or that in some Canadian cities, there are restrictions on right and left-hand turns during rush hour?

Drive Safe addresses all these concerns by providing information, available instantly online, on driving regulations and requirements and advice on motoring laws such as speed limits, alcohol limits and road tolls, plus there are guidelines on city driving, country driving, road rules and road safety initiatives in each country. And, as a truly multi-national driving tool, Drive Safe is available in English, French, German, Spanish and Italian.

As a worldwide organisation, National has access to extensive local knowledge and expertise through its international network. That knowledge has been drawn on to produce Drive Safe. No other car rental company gives finger tip access to the rules and regulations on the highways of more than 40 countries around the world.

"Driving abroad can catch even the most experienced of travellers unawares" confirmed Rebecca Madden, International Marketing Manager, National Car Rental. "But knowing the ins and outs of the roads and driving regulations for a destination in advance is one simple way to be sure of a stress-free trip. Drive Safe provides travellers -- whether their trip is for business or pleasure - with valuable information on the journey ahead, even before they leave home. Now, armed with the basic rules and advice, driving in a foreign country should be a much more enjoyable experience."

With corporate travellers from multinational companies driving in unfamiliar territories, an increase in the number of remote airport locations used by budget airlines and the rise in independent leisure travel to more rural areas, driving on unfamiliar roads in a foreign destination is a common experience for many travellers. Drive Safe helps travellers enjoy their trip safely by putting all the information they might need in one place and in one consistent format, with the freedom to download this valuable knowledge whenever and wherever they need it.

*National Car Rental surveyed over 100 business travellers Jan-Mar 2006

Drive Safe Facts From Around The World

• In Austria a motorway tax disc must be purchased prior to travelling on most main motorways and displayed on the windscreen.

• In Belgium -- and many other European countries -- trams have priority over cars.

• The consumption of alcohol isn't just prohibited for drivers in Bosnia-Herzogovina. Any person visibly under the influence of alcohol is not permitted to travel as a front seat passenger.

• Motorists must drive with headlights on 24 hrs a day in Denmark.

• Motorists in Finland should remain alert for elk and reindeer which frequently wander onto roads.

• Drivers visiting France who exceed the speed limit by more than 40kmh (24mph) will have their licence confiscated on the spot.

• Police often monitor speeds of motorists in Italy between two tolls on motorways.

• Luxembourg is well known in Europe for its comparatively low fuel prices which may result in long queues in the holiday season.

• In the Netherlands, driving while using a hand held mobile phone can result in an on the spot fine of €136.

• Shift working in Qatar means there are very specific rush hours to note.

• In South Africa you must always have your driver's licence with you and it is compulsory to carry translations if your driving licence is not in English.

• In Spain, Italy, Austria and Portugal all vehicles must carry a reflective safety-vest and it must be worn at any time the driver gets out of their vehicle on the shoulder of the road -- it should, therefore be kept in the vehicle, not the boot.
• Motorists in the USA will find that most states only allow alcohol to be transported in the boot of a vehicle -- this is the case in Canada too.