8 Tips for Driving in Europe
When driving in a foreign country, it can be difficult to wrap your head around all the rules, regulations and traffic laws. Below you will find a list of pointers about driving in Europe so you will be all set for your next European adventure.
Which countries drive on the right?
Europe generally drives on the right-hand side of the road. However, Ireland, Malta, Cyprus, and the United Kingdom do not, they all drive on the left. This is a good point to bare in mind if you’re considering hiring a car to take abroad or even taking your own car.
It’s a good idea to check which side the country you are visiting drive on before booking anything, this ensures you feel confident enough to face the changes when driving. This website has a full list of which countries drive on which side.
Always wear your seat belt! This is a universal law and safety measure in every country, the same applies to any passenger you have in the vehicle. If you’re travelling with young children, it’s important you ask for the appropriate booster seat available for their age and height. The law in the UK is that as the driver, you’re responsible for ensuring anyone under the age of 14 is wearing a seat belt and has the appropriate seating. Anyone over the age of 14 is responsible for ensuring that their own seatbelt is securely fastened. This law varies by country, so make sure you check before you travel.
If you are going abroad in one of our vehicles you need to let us know at the time of booking so we can insure adequate steps are taken to get you and the vehicle insured. We will arrange insurance and a green card for you.
If you’re taking your own vehicle abroad always speak to your insurance company and make sure you have adequate cover. Never take the risk of not having insurance, as a small upfront fee could save you a lot of money and hassle in the long run.
There are speed limits on all highways and roads in all European countries, apart from Germany. Certain areas of Germany have no speed limit, the Autobahns have a recommended top speed of 130km/h (80Mph) , but it is up to you if you choose to go faster on these stretches of motorway- but be warned your insurance will be invalid.
It’s important that you check the speed limits before travelling abroad, as well as understanding the difference between KM/H and MPH. The majority of countries in Europe use the metric system for transport, meaning they measure their speed in kilometres per hour. Most UK vehicles show KM’s and MPH however if for whatever reason it doesn’t you can simply calculate the difference online, there are many websites that will work it out for you. However, if you’re travelling alone it’s important to do this before setting off on your journey. Do not use your phone at the wheel.
Local traffic laws
Acquaint yourself with their traffic laws before getting on the road, you can do this by researching online through the respective government websites. These laws vary widely, for example in France all road users are required to carry two breathalysers, in Cyprus, it is illegal to eat and drive.
What to do if pulled over by law enforcers
This may seem obvious but it is important to remain calm and comply with the law enforcers. When pulled over slow down while indicating, then pull to the side of the road if safe to do so, if not continue to indicate until you find a safe space to pull over. Give them any information they might require from you, this includes, your insurance policy, passport, registration documents, and visa if required. If you’re using a rental vehicle, it’s important you carry your lease agreement too.
Plan your route
Planning your route before getting on the road is important to avoid getting lost or missing an exit. Luckily, we are living in the technological era, therefore, it is easy to find maps online or on your smartphones. Make sure to carry a printed copy of the map as anything can happen, not limited to; losing your phone, your battery charge running out or bad reception, you could also get a car with a satnav. Set up your map before setting off, as once you start your engine you should NOT touch your phone at any time.
Five things you should carry at all times
- A Car Lease agreement
- Your Visa (If you are in a country where a Visa is needed)
- Registration documents
- Insurance policy
In some countries, you’re required to carry some additional equipment. France is very strict on ensuring each and every car has a reflective jacket, warning triangle, breathalyser, a GB sticker and a few other items.
We ask that you check and ensure you have read up on all necessary information before taking your journey, this will only ensure you are not handed a hefty fine and prevent getting in trouble. If you’re interested in how we can help you then please get in touch or call us 01865 715 500. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions or queries, our team are here to help.