So it’s summer, and you’ve finally booked that vacation you’ve been talking about for the past 5 years. You want to drive up the Amalfi coast and then try your luck on the autobahn. There’s only one problem: it’s possible that you’ll fall into the new tourist traps featured everywhere around the world. To avoid this fate, learn more about what’s going on out there.

Automated Radar Cameras

If you ask the common traveler, these are becoming a bit too frequent. They catch you at even just a few kilometers over, then take a picture and send a ticket to your rental car agency (potentially several months later.) So you’re driving along having the time of your life, you don’t see any flash of a camera, and then later on find out that you have to pay a fine through wherever you chose to rent from. Oh, and that fine has to be paid on a website that’s purely in Spanish. We have cameras here too of course too, but they’re much less common plus they have signs posted near them.

Tips for Renting the Car

Unfortunately, there are people who may not have your best interests at heart when it comes to getting the perfect car for your vacation. Companies initially advertise low rates, and then try to talk you into liability insurance for the rental, which ups the price considerably. It makes sense because any reasonable tourist would rather overpay now than have to deal with months of potential problems from overseas. However, that’s not a reason for companies to rip you off either. You may or may not get the warnings that you need from clerks either about how their country does speed traps either.

City Congestion Charge Zones

You want to come into certain neighborhoods by car? Well, you’ll have to pay for that. These fees are typically disclosed by rental car agencies to travelers, but it’s a surprise for those who don’t know the area very well. Americans may be used to toll roads, but we’re not used to pulling into a suburb and being asked to see the color of our money before entering.

Surprise, Surprise

Different countries have different traffic laws and fines for breaking them, and they can be pretty shocking when you discover you’ve broken one! German fines are around $70 for a standard traffic ticket, but when you get to Brazil, it’s $300. Sometimes these fees just appear on credit cards, seemingly out of the blue. Sometimes countries send ‘proof’ over with no identifying information of the infraction — no time, date or picture of your smiling face behind the wheel.

Appealing Is Futile

Well, not futile, but it’ll be rough. If you’re headed to Italy you may not well hear about your ticket until close to a full year (360 days) after you made the violation. Your appeal has to be within 60 days, sent in the mail and written in Italian. If your appeal is denied, they actually double the fine unless you fly over again and talk to a justice of the peace. So, yeah.

Drivers everywhere need all the help they can get, so keep these tips in mind! The best ways to avoid this and have a good vacation is by being prepared. Traffic school is another excellent tool for drivers to lower their insurance, knock points off their license and get their safety skills up to snuff. If you’re looking for a CA traffic school that won’t bore you to tears, then consider one from Improv Traffic School!