Driving abroad

How to prepare for driving abroad

It’s easy to take your car to mainland Europe. Things may get more complicated after Brexit, but for now the thing that puts most people off going to Europe – apart from not being able to speak the language – is knowing the rules of the road.

What do I need to know when driving in Europe?

Driving on the right is only the start of it; you also need to brush up on a stack of other things to make sure you don’t end up handing over a fortune in fines. A good starting point is to check out driving.drive-alive.co.uk, which will tell you everything you need to know to stay safe and legal. That means:

    • Leave any speed camera locators at home, as they’re illegal in parts of Europe. Get caught with one and it’ll be confiscated and you’ll be fined too.
    • Pack a warning triangle, fluorescent jackets, first aid kit, fire extinguisher and some spare bulbs – all of which are worth carrying anyway. You should also fit headlamp deflectors so you don’t dazzle oncoming traffic, and a GB plate for the back of your car is essential too.
    • Buy the most detailed atlas you can – or if you use a sat-nav, make sure its maps are up to date. Getting lost in the streets of Hamburg or Paris isn’t much fun.
    • Carry identification with you as you may be asked for it, if stopped by the police.  Never leave it in the car though; take it with you at all times.
    • Carry out basic car maintenance before you go.  For example, make sure your oil and water are topped up and your tyres have enough tread.
    • Blood alcohol levels are generally stricter than in England and Wales (0.5mg/ml rather than 0.8mg/ml).  If you’re driving, don’t drink.
    • Contact your breakdown cover provider to get your policy extended to cover you while abroad. Some breakdown cover plans already include this as standard, so make sure you check with your insurer before buying anything extra. For instance, Flux Rescue is one of the cheapest breakdown insurance policies on the market. The product includes European breakdown cover as standard, so even if you breakdown in an EU country, they’ll send out a local dealer to help rescue you. Call Adrian Flux on 0800 085 6491 for more information.