Driving in Europe A guide to driving across Europe
Essentials you need to take There are a couple of essentials you need to take with you when driving abroad either in your own car or a rented one: • A valid UK driving licence; the photo card AND paper counterpart • GB sticker to the back of your car, or European registration plates • A copy of your motor insurance certificate (also give it a good read to see what you are insured for when driving abroad). • A warning triangle to use if you break down or need to pull over; this is a legal requirement in many European countries. • Headlamp converters (these are stickers to put over your headlights, so your lights don't dazzle motorists)
General Advice • To drive abroad, you need to be 18 or over. • Across Europe it is illegal to carry radar detection equipment (whether it is switched on or not). • You also should get the number of the local authorities in case of an accident as in many European countries it is a serious offence not to report and accident. • You should carry: • Fire Extinguisher • First Aid Kit • Green Card (a back up to your insurance to prove you have the minimum legal cover) • Reflective yellow jacket in case you breakdown and need to get out of the car.
France • Speed limits: Towns- 50kph, Open Roads- 80-100kph & Motorways- 110-130kph • It is now illegal to drive in France without a NF-approved (NormeFrançaise) breathalyser in your vehicle. Failure to comply results with a spot fine. • There are a number of automatic barriers to pass through, so carry change. • If you want the car in front to give way, you need to flash your headlights. • The final car in a slow-moving queue has to use their hazard lights as a warning.
Germany • Speed limits: Towns- 50kph, Open Roads- 100kph & Motorways- No limit, recommended max of 130kph. • If your GPS shows you speed cameras, you have to disable this function. • Blinking yellow lights at junctions mean you need to stop. • You can’t overtake a school bus if it’s slowing down and getting ready to stop. • If you approach a ‘green zone’ you need a special badge to drive in them which can get at repair centres & dealerships.
Italy • Speed limits: Vary between across the country so look out for signage • On toll roads, the time taken to cover the area between the tolls is often monitored by police to ensure you aren’t speeding. • If you are caught committing a driving offence, you will be fined on the spot which are usually between €150 – €250. • DON’T use your horn in built up areas, unless it is an emergency. However DO use your horn elsewhere to let them know you want to pass them. • Be careful at service stations as thieves often operate here. Also be wary of anyone looking to help you with your flat tyre.
Spain • Speed limits: vary between across Spain so look out for signage. • Give way to cars on the left, especially on roundabouts. • You can’t have any screens in the front of the car, aside from a SatNav. • Do not cross an unbroken white line on the road- whether you are on a dual carriageway or on a motorway slip road. • Use your indicators when overtaking; both when pulling out and puling back in. • You can’t get leaded petrol in Spain so make sure you check with your car rental spainwhich fuel your rented car needs!