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Renting a car in Russia

Denver, Colorado
Level Contributor
14 posts
5 reviews
1 helpful vote
Renting a car in Russia

We would like to rent a car and drive around the Golden Ring towns in order to visit my parents' birthplaces. I read, speak, and write Russian fluently but I have have never visited Russia before. According to some guidebooks, driving in Russia is not advisable. I would love to have suggestions and advice.

Olga

5 replies to this topic
Moscow, Russia
Level Contributor
13,037 posts
223 reviews
244 helpful votes
1. Re: Renting a car in Russia

There's nothing impossible in driving in Russia, millions of people including yours humbly do it every day. Just be prepared to the following:

1. Do not expect courtesy from other drivers and never assume that that guy to your left will behave in a civilised and sane way (like using their turn lights or stopping at red). I'm not saying that all Russian drivers are rude and insane but enough are, so making assumptions can be dangerous. You will see people speeding on sidewalks etc.

2. Expect enormous traffic jams, especially in rush hours.

3. Expect some very bad roads, especially outside Moscow.

Otherwise driving in Russia is fun and it definitely gives you a lot more freedom than using public transport or being on a tour.

Ah, one more thing: there's zero tolerance for alcohol when driving, so not even a glass of beer before you drive!

And one more thing: NEVER give money to cops, just politely insist they do all the paperwork (протокол). In most cases they will just let you go, unless you have done something very stupid like driving drunk or on the wrong side of the road or breaking the speed limit by 60 kmh or more, in these cases they can revoke your license.

Edited: 12:10 am, October 09, 2011
Coventry, United...
Level Contributor
1,080 posts
2. Re: Renting a car in Russia

Pretty much agree with everything that Marassa says, the decision whether to drive in Russia comes down to yourself and how confident you are about driving in such conditions. Accident rates in Russia are notoriously high, many reasons for this really..... the bad roads and bad drivers are the main ones.

You've got a couple pluses on your side though, you speak and read Russian and in Russia they drive on the wrong side of the road too.

Denver, Colorado
Level Contributor
14 posts
5 reviews
1 helpful vote
3. Re: Renting a car in Russia

Thank you for the heads-up on zero tolerance for alcohol. My husband and I have driven in Italy and Portugal, as well as in Paris and New York, so I think we have some experience in stressful driving conditions. We are specifically interested in going to Сельское поселение Гребневское (Московская область), Grebnevo, which is located on the Фряновское шоссе, Highway Р110 .

Are you familiar with this road and the condition that it is in? Would it be wise to rent a four-wheel drive vehicle?

Moscow, Russia
Level Contributor
13,037 posts
223 reviews
244 helpful votes
4. Re: Renting a car in Russia

I have not been there but looking at the map it definitely seems easily reachable by any car. You don't really need an SUV to get there but you will see many people feel more comfortable driving one (yours humbly included ;).

New York
Destination Expert
for Moscow
Level Contributor
4,386 posts
41 reviews
62 helpful votes
5. Re: Renting a car in Russia

Me neither but from outer space it looks like a typical regional shosse with 1 lanes each direction, but I fail to see what an 4wd has to do with it. You will look cooler in one though, no question.

Seeing this village is right near the town of Friazino a commuter train+ a marshrutka local van ride to the village should work too since you speak the language.

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