Driving Abroad

Planning on driving abroad this year?

Sun tan cream and dark glasses aside, there are a number of items you need to pack in your car before you head for the high seas. You also need to check that your vehicle's in tip-top condition (it's inconvenient - and can be expensive too - to break down overseas). Last but not least, make sure you bone-up on the motoring laws of the land to which you are travelling.

There are a few essential things that should be in (or on) your car before you even think about leaving home ...

  • A GB sticker - you are legally required to display a GB sign (if it's not already included in your licence plate).
  • Warning triangle and reflective jacket - the use of both is compulsory in many European countries should you break down or be involved in an accident.
  • Headlamp beam converters - fit them so that your dipped lights don't dazzle oncoming drivers.
  • Spare bulbs - it's an offence to drive a vehicle with faulty lights, so carry a spare bulb kit in your car. In some countries, including Spain, it's a legal requirement to have spares anyway.
  • First aid kit - always pack one just in case

In addition, be aware that ....

  • Using a hand-held mobile phone is prohibited in many other countries too.
  • Don't drink and drive - laws are strict and penalties can be severe. The drink drive limit is lower than ours in most other European countries.
  • Don't overload your car- as well as being dangerous, this can incur fines and invalidate your insurance.
  • If you have to pay a fine, ask for a receipt.
  • Obey the speed limits - even if the locals don't.
  • Carry plenty of local currency for tolls and fines (your car could be impounded if you can't pay).

Documents to carry ...

  • Passport.
  • Driving permit (necessary in some countries).
  • Insurance certificate (green card).

Check with a motoring organisation, like the RAC or AA, for all the latest news and regulations.