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  #1  
Old 16 Mar 2009
Chris D (Newcastle NSW)'s Avatar
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"Caution: Right Hand Drive" sign in Russia

We are taking our right hand drive Toyota into Russia soon and I am wondering the merit or requirements to have a sign on the rear stating:

Caution: Right Hand Drive

If such a sign is required, can anyone suggest the correct cyrilic for the sign.

Thanks.
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  #2  
Old 16 Mar 2009
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Not sure about the legal requirements, but such vehicles are very common in Russia, especially Siberia (used vehicles from Japan), and I have never, ever, seen such a warning sign. I don't think I would worry about it at all.
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Old 16 Mar 2009
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My experience of Russia is that they don't worry about very much until you draw attention to something, then it's up to the authorities to do something about it. If it worries you, find out what the sign should say, but I wouldn't fix it on the vehicle until someone asks you to.

Andy
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  #4  
Old 16 Mar 2009
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Try waytorussia.net they have a road travel forum specific to Russia which is run by Russians - horses' mouth and all that.

They'd be able to help with the correct wording as well - you'd hate to end up with a Monty Python Phrasebook version of "Caution : Right Hand Drive" coming out as "Beware : Nazis Drivers".
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  #5  
Old 16 Mar 2009
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I drove from Vladivostok all the way across Russia in my RHD Landcruiser last summer and didn't get any hassle about which side the steering wheel was on. I heard that the Russian government was talking about banning the import of RHD cars and even, in typical heavy-handed Russian style, about cancelling the registrations of all RHD cars already in Russia, but it had to back down in the face of protests(!)

A little bit OT, but make sure you don't fall foul of the visa registration rules while you're overlanding through Russia. The police/PVU aren't used to people sleeping in their own vehicles rather than staying in hotels, so they can take a bit of convincing. In practice this means keeping receipts from all shops, filling stations etc to prove that you haven't stopped anywhere long enough to need your visa registered. And if you DO stop anywhere for 3 working days or longer, make sure you get your visa registered and keep the receipt (spravka) for this as well.

Mark

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Old 16 Mar 2009
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not so sure

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Originally Posted by ilesmark View Post
I drove from Vladivostok all the way across Russia in my RHD Landcruiser last summer and didn't get any hassle about which side the steering wheel was on. I heard that the Russian government was talking about banning the import of RHD cars and even, in typical heavy-handed Russian style, about cancelling the registrations of all RHD cars already in Russia, but it had to back down in the face of protests(!)

A little bit OT, but make sure you don't fall foul of the visa registration rules while you're overlanding through Russia. The police/PVU aren't used to people sleeping in their own vehicles rather than staying in hotels, so they can take a bit of convincing. In practice this means keeping receipts from all shops, filling stations etc to prove that you haven't stopped anywhere long enough to need your visa registered. And if you DO stop anywhere for 3 working days or longer, make sure you get your visa registered and keep the receipt (spravka) for this as well.

Mark

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We spent about 3 months in Russia and the only place was in the Altai region where the border guard actually showed us that we need to register our visa within 3 working days from entering russia.

Besides from that we've stayed in hotels for about 12 nights in total. 43 of those in Moscow and 6 in St petersburg. We never registered because the hostel wanted to charge an extra RR600 p.p. The only way they can see how long you've been in one place is if you travel by public transport ie plane/trains/buses etc where you will most likely have to show some form of ID when booking a ticket. No one ever bothered about asking for any evidence when we left the country on 3 different occasions...
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  #7  
Old 16 Mar 2009
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Well, it depends very much on who you are unfortunate enough to come across. I entered Russia through Vladivostok and had to stay there for 2 weeks awaiting my car (shipping and customs delays). I had stayed in a hotel for the first night and had asked them to register my visa. They apparently did so, but I wasn't given any stamp on my immigration card (and didn't know one was needed). The first time I was aware of any problem was when I tried to stay in a hotel in Khabarovsk and got refused because my visa hadn't been registered. After this I called the British Embassy in Moscow and they explained about the registration system. It was they who advised me to start keeping receipts. They also told me to expect trouble when I left Russia as I hadn't registered my visa properly in Vladivostok. That being said, none of the frequent police stops I had to make for document inspections ever gave me any trouble about the missing registration stamp on my immigation card.

When I drove to the Omsk border with Kazakhstan, the guards seemed to take a liking to me and one of them stuck his head around the door of the passport control and said something to the woman. I don't know if that helped, but I wasn't given any hassle about my visa.

A month later, I re-entered Russia through the Orsk crossing. This time I kept receipts right from the start AND registered my visa properly with a stamp on my immigation card. About 10 days before I left Russia, I was near Red Square with a German when we both got stopped by the tourist police. I was able to prove with my wad of receipts that I hadn't been in Moscow for long enough to need to register my visa there (or indeed any other part of Russia); the German didn't have any proof and had to pay a 500 rouble bribe.

Finally, when I left Russia at the Latvian border, the Russian passport control people went through this wad of receipts with a fine tooth-comb, and even made a phone call to check my passport wasn't forged.
So there!
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Last edited by ilesmark; 16 Mar 2009 at 15:02. Reason: Left out some info
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Old 16 Mar 2009
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As Islesmark (Hi!) says - much of it depends on the mood and immediate private life cash flow requirement of the border personnel.

I once had every entry/exit stamp (then 14 of them) checked against the computor. And on two other occasions they have queried the stitching of my Passport - having twisted several pages to see it !

To return to the original topic, I also have never ever seen the equvalent of a "Caution RHD" sign, nor has 'her indoors', a Russian.
In my estimation at least 10% of cars in Moscow and 70% in the east of Russia are RHD, mostly being second hand imports from Japan. Russian drivers generally are not interested in being courteous and making allowances - just filling the roadspace immediatley ahead of them before someone else does!

Be aware the Roads police are not very fond of RHD cars and they are the first to be pulled over in the daily hunt for bribes.

However if you want to make up such a notice for your car (it would probably look good down at the pub, if no where else) you could have it read " Внимание - руль справа!".

You might even try " Осторожно - я выпендриваюсь! " LOL

Last edited by Tony P; 16 Mar 2009 at 19:47. Reason: spelling!
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  #9  
Old 17 Mar 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris D (Newcastle NSW) View Post
We are taking our right hand drive Toyota into Russia soon and I am wondering the merit or requirements to have a sign on the rear stating:

Caution: Right Hand Drive

If such a sign is required, can anyone suggest the correct cyrilic for the sign.

Thanks.
lots of Jap imports, no problem, save your energy for the Russian drivers and police!!!
Where are going, vlad to europe ?
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  #10  
Old 17 Mar 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony P View Post
As Islesmark (Hi!) says - much of it depends on the mood and immediate private life cash flow requirement of the border personnel.

I once had every entry/exit stamp (then 14 of them) checked against the computor. And on two other occasions they have queried the stitching of my Passport - having twisted several pages to see it !

To return to the original topic, I also have never ever seen the equvalent of a "Caution RHD" sign, nor has 'her indoors', a Russian.
In my estimation at least 10% of cars in Moscow and 70% in the east of Russia are RHD, mostly being second hand imports from Japan. Russian drivers generally are not interested in being courteous and making allowances - just filling the roadspace immediatley ahead of them before someone else does!

Be aware the Roads police are not very fond of RHD cars and they are the first to be pulled over in the daily hunt for bribes.

However if you want to make up such a notice for your car (it would probably look good down at the pub, if no where else) you could have it read " Внимание - руль справа!".

You might even try " Осторожно - я выпендриваюсь! " LOL


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Осторожно - я выпендриваюсь LOL
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  #11  
Old 17 Mar 2009
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Sashadidi

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Originally Posted by sashadidi View Post
lots of Jap imports, no problem, save your energy for the Russian drivers and police!!!
Where are going, vlad to europe ?
Yes, S Korea, Vlad, Mongolia, Rus, Kaz, Kyg, Taj, Uzbek, Rus, Europe, destination Milan Italy for Christmas.

Chris
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Old 18 Mar 2009
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Uzbekistan officially forbids the import of RHD cars, the first time I entered from Kazakhstan at Zhibek Zholu (above Tashkent) they said 'no way' and threw my passport back at me, but an 'I'm not leaving here until you let me in' protest sorted that. The second time I entered from Tajikistan at Tursonzoda (east of Termez) they didn't mention anything, even though they took the car apart looking for drugs.

I don't think it's a serious issue - just tell them you're from a RHD country, and you're just transiting.

Police sometimes stopped me to mention the RHD thing, I just told them I'd get it fixed at the next garage and smiled. Never paid a bribe. The Uzbek police aren't bad really... but the Russian GAI are b***ards.

Good luck, Central Asia is great.

Daniel
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Old 18 Mar 2009
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'told them I'd get it fixed at the next garage' - brilliant!!

A number of countries prohibit the import of RHD cars these days (like Kazakhstan) but 'import' in this context means 'permanently importing the car and registering it locally', not passing through.

I totally agree re the GAI-infested roads of Russia, but bear in mind these days that the name has changed to DPS (дпс, if you keep an eye out for the signs). GAI reads гАи, BTW - still in use in other CIS countries.

Also have a look at the overland travel tips bit of my website
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  #14  
Old 18 Mar 2009
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Originally Posted by ilesmark View Post
I totally agree re the GAI-infested roads of Russia,
A lot of people seem to have problems with the Russian police, but most of the ones that I encountered (other than in Bashkiria) were very professional and friendly. I was stopped about 12-15 times in about 7000 km, usually didn't even have to show any documents, was only fined once (I think about $10) for speeding through a village.

It might help that I speak Russian, but maybe not, alot of people advise pretending not to speak Russian even if you do. If you really want to avoid problems with the police, stay off the main roads--there are virtually no police on the smaller roads, and any you encounter will probably be so tickled to encounter a foreigner in their little village that they wouldn't think of hassling you.
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Old 18 Mar 2009
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Yeah - I was stopped daily for 'documenty inspekty' but 6 times I was stopped legitimately for speeding/overtaking. Twice they just wanted to give me words of advice but 4 times they wanted to bust me (or extract a bribe) and 4 times they failed 'cos of the language barrier.

But it depends on luck too - once in Kaz I came across 2 bikers (1 UK, 1 German) who definitely didn't speak Russian, but that hadn't stopped them getting a speeding fine.
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