European Drive Time

Helpful Hints for Driving Abroad

As the holiday season approaches, many Brits will be packing their bags to escape the grey British summer, heading for sunnier climes. If driving in another country is also on the cards, Croyland Car Megastore has put together some valuable advice for those behind the wheel…

1.Make sure you have got an international driving licence if necessary and have all your documents with you including insurance, MOT, V5c and any country visas. You could be asked to show your documents at any time and could be fined or even have your car taken away if they're not in order.

2.You will be driving on the ‘wrong’ side of the road, so ‘think right’ and remember you want to always be closest to the middle of the road

3.You must display a GB sticker on your car. The letters must be black on a white, elliptical background. They must be at least 80mm high with a stroke width of 10mm.

4.If you are planning to stock up on goods to bring back to the UK, or taking a lot of equipment with you, don’t forget that carrying five cases of wine is equivalent to having another passenger in the car, and breakdowns can be caused by overloading. You could also face a fine, which could invalidate your insurance.

5.For safety, check your vehicle over before heading off, including tyre treads, oil, battery, water and headlights, plus ensure its service is all up to date.

6.Familiarise yourself with the ‘rules of the road’ for the country you will be driving in. Often they are not the same as in the UK and you don’t want to get caught out! For example, in July 2012 it became compulsory for all cars on French roads to carry a portable breathalyser. The kits enable motorists to check if they are under the French limit of 50mg per 100ml of blood, which is 30mg lower than the UK. Motorists in France are also legally obliged to carry a warning triangle and fluorescent vest

7.Because laws vary, it would be advisable to have a multi-equipment pack containing high visibility jackets for each person, a warning triangle, first aid kit, replacement bulbs and a spare pair of prescription glasses (if necessary)

And here are some of the more unusual rules that apply in Europe… 1

1. In Finland, if you hit an elk or deer you must immediately report the collision to the police

2. Both Spanish and Swiss law demands that if you need glasses for driving you must carry a spare pair with you in the car

3. In Sweden, it is compulsory to have dipped headlights on during the day and night

4. If you are towing a caravan in Portugal you must have a current inventory of all contents to show a police officer if requested

5. In Germany, it is an offence to run out of fuel on a motorway and to make rude signs to other road users

6. In Austria, you must not park a caravan within 500m of a lake

7. In Italy, police can impound your car if you do no present the relevant ownership documents

8. In Norway, vehicles travelling downwards on hilly roads have priority

9. In Greece, carrying a petrol can in the car is forbidden

10. In France, police have the power to confiscate your car and your licence on the spot if you are caught speeding

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