For more independent travel in Ukraine, getting around by a car may be a good idea. Traveling by car in Ukraine can be a fun way to explore a new country, particularly for those who prefer to take the off-the-beaten track routes.
Ukraine is signed up to the International Driving Permit 1949 Convention regarding driving permits, so International Driving Permit (IDP) is good for driving a car in Ukraine. However, many foreigners who come to Ukraine and hire cars here drive with their country’s licenses no problem. It’s always a good idea to write a quick e-mail on that issue to the car rental company in case you are planning to hire a car in Ukraine.
Every country has its own driving rules so it's smart to do some basic homework on driving rules in Ukraine before you ever climb behind the wheel here.
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Many cars in Ukraine have an automatic transmission, but if you are looking for a cheaper option you'll need to know how to drive a manual transmission.
While traveling around Ukraine you should be careful regarding filling the tank of your rented car with fuel. In some regions you may not see a gas station in hours so it’s always a good thing to keep your tank more than a half full all the time. And speaking of gas, don't forget that fuel prices vary greatly from country to country. GlobalPetrolPrices.com website can provide a quick price check on country fuel prices (listed in US dollars by liter) so you can devise a budget before you leave.
Ukrainian spring can bring many surprises for drivers especially in the mountain regions. It could be heavily raining in the morning with temperatures dropping dramatically in the evening, transforming major roads into muddy tracks. Keep your equipment properly maintained and include a basic survival kit in your vehicle: spare tire, proper equipment to change it, glass cleaning liquid, spare lamps for the car lights, basic towing equipment such as rope and the hook. Having an emergency medical kit is also very important, In case you are planning a car ride to some remote regions of Ukraine be sure to have a paper map of the area (in case there will be problems with service coverage), some snacks and drinking water.
If you need to stop for a night, choose some hotels with tripadviser.com and booking.com. Always have some cash with you while travelling.
Drive with your headlights on even during the daytime. Make sure to keep the headlights and anti-fog lights clean to improve visibility. Maintain at least a half tank of gas. This helps ensure you have a source of heat if you are stuck. Keep your windshield washer reservoir full, and make sure your car has wiper blades that are in good condition.
It is important to know how to brake on slippery surfaces. Vehicles with anti-lock brakes operate much differently from those that do not have anti-lock brakes. You should consult your vehicle's owner's manual for instructions on how to brake properly if your vehicle should start to skid.
Read: Renting a Car in Ukraine
It is also a good idea to map out your route before you head out. Monitor road and weather conditions by checking local news stations or Internet traffic and weather sites. Travelling by car in Ukraine can be a pleasant adventure if you prepare to it properly.
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