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Re: [S-R] driving in Slovakia

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  • Michael Mojher
    Turn signals. American s are notoriously bad at using them. In Slovakia they them for every maneuver other than going straight. Even if you are on the road
    Message 1 of 14 , Apr 7, 2010
      Turn signals.
      American's are notoriously bad at using them. In Slovakia they them for every maneuver other than going straight. Even if you are on the road that has the right of way and you come to a "Y" intersection. You are suppose to signal if you are taking the left of right, be the right of way road or not. Basically, when in doubt - signal your intention. After spending month long trips to Slovakia my signaling has become automatic, even back home.
      Not using your turn signal can get you pulled over in Slovakia.
      There are also road side check points in Slovakia. If you are signaled to pull-over do so. There is zero tolerance for drinking and driving.


      From: helene cincebeaux
      Sent: Wednesday, April 07, 2010 5:27 PM
      To: SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: Re: [S-R] driving in Slovakia



      one thing that doesn't get factored in - Prague is huge and the highway goes right thru the city and skirts the national museum, there is just a lot of traffic all the time

      so travel calculations can give you the time from place to place but add in another hour to get in or out of prague.

      sometimes it seems impossible to get from one street to another due to one ways or somehow you end up on a highway.

      the thing we most laugh at is they mark a turn differently than we do - sometimes way ahead and some times right on top of it. We usually end up turning around and going back to get it right the second time.

      don't think either country has right on red.

      I was taught there to use signals when passing - even if only a bicyclist.

      sometimes, surprise, someone passes you on the right - and they have never heard of defensive driving. Used to go too fast thru villages but new speed limits help there.

      helene

      ________________________________
      From: Michael Mojher <mgmojher@...>
      To: SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Wed, April 7, 2010 3:11:01 PM
      Subject: Re: [S-R] driving in Slovakia


      Prague
      Michelin Trip Planner: From Bratislava to Prague is 338 km / 203 miles. 3 hours and 13 minutes of driving. Cost: 44.20 Euros; Petrol 30.93 Euros and Road Tax of 13.27 Euros. The vast majority of it on good highways.
      With the new open borders going from one EU country into another is no different than going from one state here to another. Sometime car rental companies do have restrictions. I have not found any that would let me take their car into the Ukraine.
      Cars
      Compacts are the standard car. Which in large cities you can be thankful for since the streets are often very much narrower. The downside is dependent on the size of your party. Compacts can be overfilled with three adults and their luggage. Sixt Rental at Bratislava Airport for two weeks in June charges $1260 for a compact and $1807 for a mid-size (VW Passat). The other "sticker shock" is the petrol. On my last trip it was just under the equivalent of $8 a gallon. The Michelin trip planner said the the Bratislava to Prague 203 mile trip would cost $43.40 in petrol. That is a little over 21 cents per mile. That gives you an idea of what that cost can be. Thankfully, Slovakia is a small country and you can go a long ways on a tank of gas.
      So depending on how adventurous you are and what your budget will allow you can drive anywhere the rental company will allow you. Budapest, Vienna, Warsaw and Prague are all relatively easy drives.

      From: sharond
      Sent: Wednesday, April 07, 2010 8:36 AM
      To: SLOVAK-ROOTS@ yahoogroups. com
      Subject: [S-R] driving in Slovakia

      I know this has been discussed many times however, I would like to know a few more things about driving in Slovakia. Do you need to get an International drivers license? What about special insurance? If you are making your own travel arrangements where and how do you rent a car?
      Is it difficult to reserve a car, by this I mean are the numbers of vehicles for rent limited?
      After driving in Slovakia you then decide you want to go to Prague, do you continue to drive? I would think driving into Prague would be a crazy idea. Any suggestions?

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]





      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Vladimir Linder
      For years I have been renting from: ADVANTAGE CAR RENTALS www.acr.sk email:office@acr.sk Call Milan Mjartan at: 011-421-2-62410-510 or cell:011-421-903-460-605
      Message 2 of 14 , Apr 7, 2010
        For years I have been renting from:

        ADVANTAGE CAR RENTALS

        www.acr.sk


        email:office@...

        Call Milan Mjartan at: 011-421-2-62410-510

        or cell:011-421-903-460-605

        Great deals, great cars, great service

        Vlad
      • Cathie McAdams
        The benefit from the International Driver License is the translation.  We rented at Eurocar in Kosice and that attendant used it even though he was fluent
        Message 3 of 14 , Apr 8, 2010
          The benefit from the International Driver License is the translation.  We rented at Eurocar in Kosice and that attendant used it even though he was fluent in spoken English.  Our rental was about $37.00/day.  Make sure you get at least the liability coverage. 

          If you are driving in a country other than Slovakia, you should get the road permit for the other country(ies) that you are planning to see.  That will allow you to purchase gasoline.  However, we bought gas in northern Hungary and no one asked to see our permit.  It also gives you the liability coverage in that country.

          Always, always, turn your headlights on, no matter the time of day.  It is their law.  But you would think that the rental companies, knowing this, would wire the car so the headlights come on when the engine is on.  Also, the headlights do not turn off by themselves like the newer cars here.  We had a mid-size newer Skoda in June.  This was not the law in 2006.




          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Paul Guzowski
          Sharon et al, I have been working on a rather longish paper with tips on travel to/from and around Slovakia but have not quite finished it yet. That said, I
          Message 4 of 14 , Apr 8, 2010
            Sharon et al,

            I have been working on a rather longish paper with tips on travel
            to/from and around Slovakia but have not quite finished it yet. That
            said, I decided to post the portion I wrote on driving in Europe in
            general and, more specifically, in Slovakia and its immediate neighbors.
            What I say is based on living/working nearly 20 years in Europe, the
            last two of which were in Bratislava, SK. I believe the following to be
            factual unless I state it as my opinion.

            I had a company rental car while I was in Bratislava but only drove it
            to/from work and if I needed to travel outside the city. This was for a
            couple of reasons. Parking in Bratislava is problematic, navigating the
            city was not easy due to many one-way and some pedestrian-only ones, and
            lastly because fuel is so expensive there. As of this writing, a gallon
            of unleaded regular will set you back about $6.50 and a gallon of diesel
            will be a little less. Normally, if I needed to go somewhere in the
            city, I either walked or took the tram or bus.

            The public transportation is inexpensive and reliable. If you will only
            be in Bratislava for a few days or up to a week, the Bratislava City
            Card (€8 for 3 days or €12 for 7 days) is a very good deal. It offers
            unlimited travel on Bratislava's public transportation and you can read
            more about it here:
            (http://www.bratislavaguide.com/public-transport-bratislava). Taxis are
            also abundant and reasonably priced so I occasionally used one to go
            to/from a company dinner if the public transportation did not stop
            nearby, especially if I wanted to drink a beer or glass of wine with my
            dinner.

            Traveling outside Brastislava is easiest by train, in my opinion. The
            trains are clean, comfortable, fast, and run on schedule. Additionally,
            they generally take you from city center to city center which is very
            convenient for the average tourist.

            Renting a car in Europe is not difficult but there are a few things to
            watch out for that are different from what you may be used to in the US
            or Canada. To begin with, rates will generally be higher and will be out
            of sight if you want to rent one place and drop off in another. I had a
            friend who rented a car in Budapest and after a couple of weeks of
            driving dropped it off at the Vienna International Airport and the
            drop-off charge was a couple of hundred dollars.

            If you do rent a car in Europe, be sure to take the collision damage
            waiver insurance even though it costs a bit more. The European auto
            rental agencies inspect their cars before and after rental with a fine
            tooth comb and if they find some scratch or dent even if it is minor you
            will be billed. And while we are talking about the insurance, be sure to
            read the small print of the international insurance green card and the
            rental agreement. Many rental agencies restrict into which countries you
            can drive the car. This is based on historical accident and theft
            rates.

            When you rent a car in Europe, expect to get a standard transmission and
            don't be surprised if the car does not have air conditioning. I would
            recommend a diesel if you can get it because they have much lower fuel
            consumption and the fuel is cheaper than gasoline.

            In my six years in eastern/central Europe, we had a couple of rental
            cars stolen. Even though most cars have alarms, I'd suggest buying a
            steering wheel blocking device. You will see them in most cars and cars
            without them are easier targets for thieves. Also, NEVER EVER leave the
            car unlocked for a moment, even at a petrol station or in a car park
            while you are putting things in the trunk. One of my colleagues was
            marked leaving the bank and when he got to the parking lot one thief let
            air out of his tire and while my colleague was checking it out, the
            other one stole valuables from the car.

            Never anything of value visible in the car for any period of time and
            don't leave anything of value anywhere in the car overnight. One of my
            Slovak colleagues left his backpack in the trunk of locked car in a
            parking garage while he ran into the mall to the ATM. When he got back,
            the backpack with his expensive camera and laptop in it was gone. In
            another case, our team had been traveling across Slovakia on a long trip
            and they stopped for dinner at a restaurant. The left their briefcases
            in the locked trunk and when they got back to the car after dinner all
            of the cases were gone along with the five company laptop computers they
            were carrying.

            If you will be driving in Slovakia, your US driving license is valid but
            in some other countries you need to have an international driving
            permit. Austria is such a country and if you are stopped for even a
            minor infraction on Austria's roads and you don't have an EU driving
            license or international driving permit, the fine is €500. It is worth
            $15 to get an international driving permit (a translation of your US
            license) from the local AAA office before you depart the US if you will
            be driving in Europe.

            I would also encourage anyone who wishes to drive in Europe to study the
            signs and road regulations very carefully. This includes the default
            speed limits which are something we in the US are not normally familiar
            with. When I was in Slovakia, the default speed limits unless otherwise
            posted were 60kph (36 mph) within city limits (denoted by the city limit
            signs entering and exiting the town), 90 kph (55 mph) on two lane roads
            outside city limits, and 130kph (80mph) on divided motorways. Of course,
            any posted limit takes precedence over the defaults. Some other
            considerations are in the following paragraphs.

            Talking on a mobile phone while driving is strictly forbidden and while
            you may see it happening the ban is strictly enforced. Wearing seat
            belts is required for all occupants of the vehicle, too. Drivers must
            carry a reflective vest in the car and must wear it if stopped on the
            shoulder to change a tire or carry out any other actions.

            Many European countries now require cars to have lights on during
            daylight hours. This varies by country so it is best to do your homework
            for the countries in which you will drive. For example, in Hungary you
            have to have your lights on whenever you leave the city limits during
            all times of the year. In Slovakia, between 15 October and 15 March, you
            must have your lights on at all times regardless of the time of day.
            This is easy to forget when the sun is shining in the middle of the day.
            I was stopped twice when I forgot to turn my lights back on after
            leaving a petrol station.

            There is virtually no such thing as a four-way stop in Europe. Most
            intersections will be controlled in one direction or the other and the
            priority road always has the right of way. At uncontrolled
            intersections, the driver on the right has the right of way as does the
            driver on your right on a multi-lane highway if he/she wants to move
            left. Additionally, while they are slowly starting to appear in the US,
            most Americans will be surprised by the number of traffic circles and/or
            roundabouts in Europe. There are special right-of-way rules for
            roundabouts and you can read more about them here:
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roundabout

            In Europe, the left lane (right lane in UK) on a divided highway is for
            passing only. The American habit of cruising in the left lane is
            illegal, is not tolerated, and you will be fined. You must always drive
            as far right as you can if the lane to the right is clear regardless of
            how fast you are driving. This helps keep traffic moving since it is
            strictly forbidden to pass any vehicle on the right.

            Police procedures in several European countries allows for “spot fines”
            for smaller infractions of the traffic code. This is true in Slovakia so
            it is always good to have at least €40 with you to avoid the hassle of
            following up on a traffic violation later. If you pay one, make sure you
            get a receipt. The idea of trying to talk your way out of a fine is not
            normal in Europe and it could even exacerbate your situation so I would
            recommend against it. When I first got to Central Europe in 2001, I
            heard stories about putting some money in your driving license when you
            hand it over to the policeman so that he would overlook your infraction.
            This practice may have been prevalent and perhaps even tolerated in
            former times but is not tolerated in the European Union. There are
            anti-corruption agents monitoring for this and you may even face
            allegations of bribery.

            In many countries in Europe, travel on the motorways is not free. In
            France and Italy one stops periodically to pay a toll but in other
            countries you have to buy a toll sticker called a “vignette” in
            many/most non-English speaking European countries. This is true for
            Austria, Hungary, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic. In Slovakia, these
            toll stickers which are required for the use of the motorways, are
            available in several categories depending on the vehicle's weight. They
            can be purchased for one year, one week, and one month with prices as
            follows for vehicles under 3.5 tons:

            Annual: €36.50

            One Month: €09.90

            One Week: €04.90

            Finally, tolerance for drinking and driving is more strict than it is in
            the US and it varies by country
            (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drunk_driving_law_by_country). In Slovakia
            and Hungary, there is zero tolerance while Austria allows up to 0.05%
            for experienced drivers. In six years in central Europe I encountered a
            number of sobriety checkpoints where I was required to take a
            breathalyzer test even though I had committed no infraction. One time,
            my car was hit in a parking lot accident while I was in a business
            meeting during my time in Bratislava. When I arrived on the scene, the
            police required me to take a breathalyzer test even though I was nowhere
            near the car at the time of the accident. When I questioned this, I was
            told it was standard procedure. Therefore, I highly recommend public
            transportation or a taxi if you will be enjoying Slovakia's wonderful
            beers and wines while dining and you don't have a designated driver.

            As for driving to Prague, I'd personally recommend taking the train
            instead. It is fast, cheap, and worry free. Driving back and forth on
            the motorway is not such a big deal but navigating around in the city
            and finding a safe place to park the car is a headache. Once in the
            Prague, the public transportation is cheap and can get you anywhere you
            want to go in the city as a tourist.

            I hope this information will be useful to someone. I know it has been a
            long post but I wanted to get a few things out to the group, especially
            the point about International Driving Permits being required to drive in
            Austria. I will try to finish up the rest of my tips and will save the
            file to the group's file space when I do.

            Paul in NW Florida
          • m ivanov
            I am going to Slovakia this summer and your information is wonderful. Thank you for sharing with me. ________________________________ From: Paul Guzowski
            Message 5 of 14 , Apr 8, 2010
              I am going to Slovakia this summer and your information is wonderful. Thank you for sharing with me.




              ________________________________
              From: Paul Guzowski <guzowskip@...>
              To: SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com
              Sent: Thu, April 8, 2010 8:44:19 AM
              Subject: [S-R] Re:driving in Slovakia

               
              Sharon et al,

              I have been working on a rather longish paper with tips on travel
              to/from and around Slovakia but have not quite finished it yet. That
              said, I decided to post the portion I wrote on driving in Europe in
              general and, more specifically, in Slovakia and its immediate neighbors.
              What I say is based on living/working nearly 20 years in Europe, the
              last two of which were in Bratislava, SK. I believe the following to be
              factual unless I state it as my opinion.

              I had a company rental car while I was in Bratislava but only drove it
              to/from work and if I needed to travel outside the city. This was for a
              couple of reasons. Parking in Bratislava is problematic, navigating the
              city was not easy due to many one-way and some pedestrian-only ones, and
              lastly because fuel is so expensive there. As of this writing, a gallon
              of unleaded regular will set you back about $6.50 and a gallon of diesel
              will be a little less. Normally, if I needed to go somewhere in the
              city, I either walked or took the tram or bus.

              The public transportation is inexpensive and reliable. If you will only
              be in Bratislava for a few days or up to a week, the Bratislava City
              Card (€8 for 3 days or €12 for 7 days) is a very good deal. It offers
              unlimited travel on Bratislava's public transportation and you can read
              more about it here:
              (http://www.bratisla vaguide.com/ public-transport -bratislava). Taxis are
              also abundant and reasonably priced so I occasionally used one to go
              to/from a company dinner if the public transportation did not stop
              nearby, especially if I wanted to drink a beer or glass of wine with my
              dinner.

              Traveling outside Brastislava is easiest by train, in my opinion. The
              trains are clean, comfortable, fast, and run on schedule. Additionally,
              they generally take you from city center to city center which is very
              convenient for the average tourist.

              Renting a car in Europe is not difficult but there are a few things to
              watch out for that are different from what you may be used to in the US
              or Canada. To begin with, rates will generally be higher and will be out
              of sight if you want to rent one place and drop off in another. I had a
              friend who rented a car in Budapest and after a couple of weeks of
              driving dropped it off at the Vienna International Airport and the
              drop-off charge was a couple of hundred dollars.

              If you do rent a car in Europe, be sure to take the collision damage
              waiver insurance even though it costs a bit more. The European auto
              rental agencies inspect their cars before and after rental with a fine
              tooth comb and if they find some scratch or dent even if it is minor you
              will be billed. And while we are talking about the insurance, be sure to
              read the small print of the international insurance green card and the
              rental agreement. Many rental agencies restrict into which countries you
              can drive the car. This is based on historical accident and theft
              rates.

              When you rent a car in Europe, expect to get a standard transmission and
              don't be surprised if the car does not have air conditioning. I would
              recommend a diesel if you can get it because they have much lower fuel
              consumption and the fuel is cheaper than gasoline.

              In my six years in eastern/central Europe, we had a couple of rental
              cars stolen. Even though most cars have alarms, I'd suggest buying a
              steering wheel blocking device. You will see them in most cars and cars
              without them are easier targets for thieves. Also, NEVER EVER leave the
              car unlocked for a moment, even at a petrol station or in a car park
              while you are putting things in the trunk. One of my colleagues was
              marked leaving the bank and when he got to the parking lot one thief let
              air out of his tire and while my colleague was checking it out, the
              other one stole valuables from the car.

              Never anything of value visible in the car for any period of time and
              don't leave anything of value anywhere in the car overnight. One of my
              Slovak colleagues left his backpack in the trunk of locked car in a
              parking garage while he ran into the mall to the ATM. When he got back,
              the backpack with his expensive camera and laptop in it was gone. In
              another case, our team had been traveling across Slovakia on a long trip
              and they stopped for dinner at a restaurant. The left their briefcases
              in the locked trunk and when they got back to the car after dinner all
              of the cases were gone along with the five company laptop computers they
              were carrying.

              If you will be driving in Slovakia, your US driving license is valid but
              in some other countries you need to have an international driving
              permit. Austria is such a country and if you are stopped for even a
              minor infraction on Austria's roads and you don't have an EU driving
              license or international driving permit, the fine is €500. It is worth
              $15 to get an international driving permit (a translation of your US
              license) from the local AAA office before you depart the US if you will
              be driving in Europe.

              I would also encourage anyone who wishes to drive in Europe to study the
              signs and road regulations very carefully. This includes the default
              speed limits which are something we in the US are not normally familiar
              with. When I was in Slovakia, the default speed limits unless otherwise
              posted were 60kph (36 mph) within city limits (denoted by the city limit
              signs entering and exiting the town), 90 kph (55 mph) on two lane roads
              outside city limits, and 130kph (80mph) on divided motorways. Of course,
              any posted limit takes precedence over the defaults. Some other
              considerations are in the following paragraphs.

              Talking on a mobile phone while driving is strictly forbidden and while
              you may see it happening the ban is strictly enforced. Wearing seat
              belts is required for all occupants of the vehicle, too. Drivers must
              carry a reflective vest in the car and must wear it if stopped on the
              shoulder to change a tire or carry out any other actions.

              Many European countries now require cars to have lights on during
              daylight hours. This varies by country so it is best to do your homework
              for the countries in which you will drive. For example, in Hungary you
              have to have your lights on whenever you leave the city limits during
              all times of the year. In Slovakia, between 15 October and 15 March, you
              must have your lights on at all times regardless of the time of day.
              This is easy to forget when the sun is shining in the middle of the day.
              I was stopped twice when I forgot to turn my lights back on after
              leaving a petrol station.

              There is virtually no such thing as a four-way stop in Europe. Most
              intersections will be controlled in one direction or the other and the
              priority road always has the right of way. At uncontrolled
              intersections, the driver on the right has the right of way as does the
              driver on your right on a multi-lane highway if he/she wants to move
              left. Additionally, while they are slowly starting to appear in the US,
              most Americans will be surprised by the number of traffic circles and/or
              roundabouts in Europe. There are special right-of-way rules for
              roundabouts and you can read more about them here:
              http://en.wikipedia .org/wiki/ Roundabout

              In Europe, the left lane (right lane in UK) on a divided highway is for
              passing only. The American habit of cruising in the left lane is
              illegal, is not tolerated, and you will be fined. You must always drive
              as far right as you can if the lane to the right is clear regardless of
              how fast you are driving. This helps keep traffic moving since it is
              strictly forbidden to pass any vehicle on the right.

              Police procedures in several European countries allows for “spot fines”
              for smaller infractions of the traffic code. This is true in Slovakia so
              it is always good to have at least €40 with you to avoid the hassle of
              following up on a traffic violation later. If you pay one, make sure you
              get a receipt. The idea of trying to talk your way out of a fine is not
              normal in Europe and it could even exacerbate your situation so I would
              recommend against it. When I first got to Central Europe in 2001, I
              heard stories about putting some money in your driving license when you
              hand it over to the policeman so that he would overlook your infraction.
              This practice may have been prevalent and perhaps even tolerated in
              former times but is not tolerated in the European Union. There are
              anti-corruption agents monitoring for this and you may even face
              allegations of bribery.

              In many countries in Europe, travel on the motorways is not free. In
              France and Italy one stops periodically to pay a toll but in other
              countries you have to buy a toll sticker called a “vignette” in
              many/most non-English speaking European countries. This is true for
              Austria, Hungary, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic. In Slovakia, these
              toll stickers which are required for the use of the motorways, are
              available in several categories depending on the vehicle's weight. They
              can be purchased for one year, one week, and one month with prices as
              follows for vehicles under 3.5 tons:

              Annual: €36.50

              One Month: €09.90

              One Week: €04.90

              Finally, tolerance for drinking and driving is more strict than it is in
              the US and it varies by country
              (http://en.wikipedia .org/wiki/ Drunk_driving_ law_by_country). In Slovakia
              and Hungary, there is zero tolerance while Austria allows up to 0.05%
              for experienced drivers. In six years in central Europe I encountered a
              number of sobriety checkpoints where I was required to take a
              breathalyzer test even though I had committed no infraction. One time,
              my car was hit in a parking lot accident while I was in a business
              meeting during my time in Bratislava. When I arrived on the scene, the
              police required me to take a breathalyzer test even though I was nowhere
              near the car at the time of the accident. When I questioned this, I was
              told it was standard procedure. Therefore, I highly recommend public
              transportation or a taxi if you will be enjoying Slovakia's wonderful
              beers and wines while dining and you don't have a designated driver.

              As for driving to Prague, I'd personally recommend taking the train
              instead. It is fast, cheap, and worry free. Driving back and forth on
              the motorway is not such a big deal but navigating around in the city
              and finding a safe place to park the car is a headache. Once in the
              Prague, the public transportation is cheap and can get you anywhere you
              want to go in the city as a tourist.

              I hope this information will be useful to someone. I know it has been a
              long post but I wanted to get a few things out to the group, especially
              the point about International Driving Permits being required to drive in
              Austria. I will try to finish up the rest of my tips and will save the
              file to the group's file space when I do.

              Paul in NW Florida







              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Bill Tarkulich
              No further responses to this topic, please. It is off-topic. Thank you, Bill Tarkulich Moderator
              Message 6 of 14 , Apr 8, 2010
                No further responses to this topic, please. It is off-topic.

                Thank you,

                Bill Tarkulich
                Moderator
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