Advice on Driving in Europe
Sometimes you may be asked to produce your documents
and to avoid a fine or possibly the confiscation of your vehicle
you have to be sure that your documents are in order and available
List of Documents you should take with you
- Valid driving licence, with counterpart if
you have a photocard licence
- International Driving Permit where necessary
- Vehicle registration document
- Motor insurance certificate
You might have to get a visa for some countries
if you hold:
- United Kingdom passport that wasn't issued
in the UK
- Foreign passport that was issued outside Europe
- If you travel in a vehicle other than a motor
car or motorcycle or take a boat, make sure you have any further
documentation that might be required.
If you are driving a vehicle that is borrowed,
hired or leased, you might need further advice.
You and Your Passgengers
Motor Breakdown Insurance
Please make sure that you have suitable insurance cover. Most
breakdown insurance companies provide cover for European countries.
Don't leave handbags and other items in view even when you are
in your car, and never leave anything valuable in an unattended
For advice on this subject or personal safety
in specific countries, contact the Foreign Office Travel Advice
Drinking and Driving
If you drink don't drive. The laws are strict and the penalties
are severe in most european countries.
Get in touch with your insurer for advice before taking your vehicle
overseas. Make sure that you are properly covered and have the
documents to prove it.
You can usually get urgent medical treatment at a reduced cost,
from the health-care schemes of countries with which the United
Kingdom has health-care arrangements. You will find information
in the Department of Health booklet 'Health Advice for Travellers',
which is available from main post office's. Be sure to have appropriate
The use of mobile phones while driving is prohibited in many countries
Travel and Pets
Visit this website www.defra.gov.uk
for further information.
Take a spare pair of glases especially if you are the only driver.
Driving on the Right
It's very easy to forget to drive on the right especially after
doing something normal, such as leaving a car park or petrol station.
Your Holiday and Your Car
Never ever fit a rear-facing child restraint in a seat that has
a front airbag. Seek out more information about child safety in
GB stickers are compulsory, and failure to comply usually results
in an on-the-spot fine. Euro-plates - number plates that include
the GB euro-symbol - have been legal since 2001 and make display
of a conventional sticker unnecessary within the European Union.
In countries outside the EU a sticker is required even if you
have euro-plates, so it is always best to display one.
Reflective Waistcoat or Jacket
You need this when visiting Italy, Spain, Portugal, Austria and
Croatia. It is recommended that each vehicle carries at least
two jackets or waistcoats in the passenger compartment - one for
the driver and one for a passenger who may need to assist, for
example, to change a blown tyre. Jackets or waistcoats must conform
to EU Standard BS EN 471: 1994 Class 1 or 2.
If you driving to the Continent then you must adjust the headlamp
beam pattern to suit driving on the right so that the dipped beam
doesn't dazzle oncoming drivers. Never go without adjusting the
headlamp pattern as it is a compulsory requirement in most countries.
Headlamp converter kits are available but don't leave headlamp
conversion to the last minute, as a dealer may need to make the
Leaded petrol is not now available in northern European countries
and Lead Replacement Petrol ( LRP ) is getting more difficult
to find. If LRP is not on sale, an anti-wear additive can be bought
from the filling station.
Try not to overload the car because this can incur fines and maybe
invalidate your insurance.
If your motor is not equipped with a door or wing-mirror on the
left-hand side it is recommend that you get one fitted to help
you when you drive on the right.
Service your car before your holiday to reduce the chance of breakdowns
Speed-Trap Detection Devices
The use or possession of these devices that detect police radar
is illegal in most European countries. Penalties can include a
hefty fine, driving ban, and even imprisonment!
Most countries require a minimum tread depth of 1.6mm over the
central three-quarters of the tread and around the whole circumference.
It is recommended that a minimum of 2mm is better but consider
changing your tyres if the tread is down to 3mm before you go.
Tyres wear out very quickly after they get down to 3mm.
Winter Wheel Chains
This is important for any winter motoring and compulsory in some
countries even when using winter tyres.