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How to rent a car and not regret it


In Moscow, any licensed driver can rent a car, thus solving many problems related to movement in the city.  Renting a car in the Russian capital may solve some problems, but it can also create new problems because of local conditions.

There are representatives of all the leading Western car hire companies in Moscow, as well as numerous local companies, which do not advertise but can be found on line.

You will be surprised at how inexpensive the renting of classical Ladas can be at around 370 roubles a day.  But when you ring the rental office, you'll find that these attractive options are not available.  In reality, most motorcars rent for an average of about 40 euros a day.

Most rental contracts have limitations.  For instance if you are under 21 or have less than one year of driving experience, you will most likely be unable to rent a car.  Several companies have even more stringent restrictions as to age and driving experience.

A universal condition is a mandatory deposit of between 8,000 and 14,000 roubles.  Of course, you will need your passport and driving license.

Be warned.  Many companies limit the daily mileage allowance and require additional payments for extra miles.  If you are going to drive a lot, an apparently attractive price can increase significantly.  Sometimes a surcharge is levied if you plan to travel outside Moscow and the Moscow region.

A rental contract typically includes complete insurance.  But just in case, check that you are covered by liability and vehicle insurance.  Driving in Moscow without insurance is a serious violation of the law. 

Be careful when driving in Moscow because driving here is different and more aggressive.  Until you gain more experience, give the right of way to other cars, even if you are sure that the rules require them to give way.

The speed limit in the city is 60 kilometres per hour.  On the Third Ring Road it is 80 kilometres per hour and on the Moscow Ring Road it is 100 kilometres per hour.  In practice, when there are no traffic jams, cars travel on the Garden Ring at an average speed of 80–90 kilometres per hour, on the Third Ring Road at 100–110 kilometres per hour and on the Moscow Ring Road at 120–140 kilometres per hour.  Traffic police often turn a blind eye to speeding, however you should not rely on that.  In addition, many highways are equipped with sensors that can detect the speed of vehicles.  Try to drive with the flow of traffic as much as possible without exceeding the speed limit.

You can drive freely in the left lane in Moscow, even if it is possible to move in the right one.  However, if an emergency vehicle is travelling in the left lane, you must immediately yield way to it.

Do not travel in the left lane of the Ring Road, especially in the evening and at night.  There is a tacit agreement that that lane is used for street racing fans and motorcycles.

Heavy traffic is a daily reality in Moscow, especially in the morning on the main roads into the city and in the evening leaving the city.  There is less traffic on Mondays on Moscow's streets, while on Tuesdays and Thursdays there are usually extensive traffic jams.  Between May and September from Friday noon until Saturday noon, it is best not to try to leave the city or reach other areas in the capital using the Third Ring Road. That is when many people are travelling to the countryside for a weekend.  And, of course, it is better not to drive during the week before September 1st and the week before New Year's Day.