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Ten top tips for driving in Europe

With your UK driving licence you can legally drive in any European country – and so many of us do with Brits regularly taking their cars to France, Spain, Germany, Italy and beyond, especially for their summer holidays.

When you are driving over seas there are a few essential things you need to take in order to meet their laws, these may differ slightly from country to country but there are some standard requirements for driving in Europe.

 If you fail to meet the laws of the country and aren’t carrying one of the compulsory items they will issue on the spot fines...which is not what you want to be spending your Euros on!

1)      Full driving licence

You need to have both your photo card and your original paper driving licence with you as well as details of your insurance. If you don’t have the photo card licence then you need to carry photo ID (passport) with you in the car as well.

2)      GB sticker

You must display a GB sticker or have a GB plate – these can be bought as stickers, or magnetic badges or you can have it printed on your registration plate -  some countries (Switzerland for example) require both.

3)      A warning triangle

A warning triangle needs to be carried and be handily accessible - if you’re driving in Spain or towing a caravan you need two.

4)      Reflective vest

A reflective vest or high vis jacket must be carried and used in all breakdown situations.

5)      Headlamp adaptors, convertor kits or beam benders

These are the stickers that should be applied to your headlights and we would recommend applying them when getting on the ferry so you are compliant as soon as you disembark in your destination country. It is to make sure that you don’t dazzle other drivers based on the fact that we are driving on the other side of the roads.

6)      First aid kit

A first aid kit is compulsory in Austria and Croatia and advisable in the rest of Europe

7)      Spare bulb kit

These aren’t compulsory but are advisable anywhere you go, if any bulbs go whilst your abroad it is much easier to be prepared rather than risk penalties – or finding a foreign car accessories shop.

8)      Breathalysers

Breathalysers are a legal requirement in France...well they do make a lot of wine?! They are also advisable anywhere you go on holiday and plan to drive as different countries have different units as the legal limits.

9)      Fire extinguisher

Again fire extinguishers aren’t law but are definitely advisable to have in your car at all times, especially when in unfamiliar territories.

10)   Daytime headlights

In Croatia, Denmark, Italy, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland you are required to have your daytime running lights – or standard headlights on in the day regardless of weather or driving conditions.

Whilst a UK driving licence is all you need – not all countries allow 17 year olds to drive; in fact in most of them including France, Spain, Italy and Germany you have to be 18.

We would recommend that where ever you are going to be driving on your holidays you should check out the specifics for that country, as there will be more detail on toll roads and general driving etiquette that will be useful.

As a reminder the speed limits for motorways in Europe are always set in km/h and are: 120 or 130 km/h - 80mph then for rural routes is 90 km/h - 55mph and for urban roads 50 km/h or 30mph.

So whether you are travelling by autoroute, autobahn, express ways, high ways or motorways on your holidays, make sure you comply – we have these handy European driving abroad kit on offer now that will tick all the boxes. 

Posted in Advice on .