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Driving Abroad Checklist

9th July 2018

Every year thousands of British motorists choose to drive their own car or rent a car when they go abroad – and why not? Driving is a great way to see a country and an easy way to get around!

Before heading abroad, however, there are a few things that you should prepare to make sure everything goes smoothly during your trip!

Driving Licence

You will need to take your driving licence abroad with you and in some non-EU countries you may also require an International Driving Permit, which you should acquire before your holiday. You can get an International Driving Permit from the Post Office, the AA or the RAC.

It is important to bear in mind that the legal driving age differs from country to country, and even if you have a full licence here, if you are under the legal age in the country you are visiting it may be illegal for you to drive.

Insurance and Breakdown Cover

It is important that you are confident that you are fully covered before driving in a foreign country. Firstly, check whether your existing car insurance policy will cover you for everything you may require abroad. Also ensure that your breakdown cover is valid for driving abroad and that it is adequate. It is advisable, even if you are fully covered, to make your provider aware that you are planning to drive in a different country.

You should carry your breakdown and insurance documents with you and have the right phone numbers to hand should you run in to any problems.

It’s also a good idea to take out travel insurance to make sure that you are covered for any accidents.

Do Your Research

Which side of the road will you be driving on? How do you pay for tolls? Don’t wait until you go abroad to figure this out! Make sure you do your research on the country that you’re visiting by looking up general driving laws and restrictions, emissions zones, toll roads, road signs and speed limits.

It would also be recommendable to plan out routes and invest in a paper map, even if you have a sat nav in your car. Choosing your routes in advance will keep you safe if your sat nav fails and this will give you a good idea of the types of roads and layouts that you will encounter.

What To Take

Before setting off make sure you are aware of any items that you should carry with you by law in your vehicle. For example, snow chains are required for Germany during certain times of the year and in France you must carry a breathalyser.

As well as these, it is advisable to travel with the following items:

  • All important documents including your driving licence, vehicle insurance, travel insurance and breakdown cover
  • GB sticker to display on your vehicle
  • A warning triangle
  • Road maps of where you will be driving
  • A reflective jacket

Prepare Your Car

If you are driving your own vehicle abroad you should make sure that it is in good condition! We would recommend fully checking your tyres, and ensuring that they are fully inflated and free from damage. You should also check that your tyre tread is not lower than the legal minimum in the UK and the country you are visiting, as this can differ.

Before taking your vehicle abroad we would also recommend undertaking a vehicle service to make sure all the components of your vehicle are in good condition.

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