Driver’s Digest: Holiday driving
- Credit: Submitted
Driving abroad this summer? Check out the rules of the road in the country you are visiting - and stick to them, says motoring editor Andy Russell
With so many countries having their own motoring rules and regulations you need to do your homework about the country you are visiting so you don’t inadvertently break the law of that land. But, regardless of your destination, here is some general advice of what to take with you.
You may be asked to show your documents at any time and could be fined or even have your car taken away if they’re not in order.
You must carry:
• Driving licence, a copy of your DVLA driver record and a licence check code if needed - www.gov.uk/view-driving-licence - and an international driving permit if needed.
• V5 vehicle registration document, not a copy.
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• Motor insurance certificate – check with your insurer you are fully covered to drive abroad and not third party only.
• Passport and any necessary visas.
• Travel insurance documents.
• If you’re taking a company-owned, hired or borrowed vehicle you need a letter from the registered keeper authorising it and vehicle registration document or a vehicle on hire certificate (VE103).
European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)
If you’re going to a European Economic Area (EEA) country or Switzerland, your free EHIC card entitles you to free or reduced-cost medical treatment in most European countries but the cover is not always comprehensive, so make sure you have adequate travel insurance as well.
UK-issued credit cards are not always accepted at stores or petrol stations in other countries so check with the card company before you go.
Drinking and driving
Legal limits are invariably lower than in the UK, sometimes zero, but the safest rule is not to drink if you are driving. If driving in France, you must carry one self-test breathalyser - unused, in-date and certified with an NF number.
You could be fined if you don’t display a GB sticker unless your number plates have the GB euro-symbol. Outside the EU, some countries require a GB sticker even if you have euro-plates.
Many countries require all drivers, including visitors, to carry reflective jackets and wear them as soon as anyone gets out of a vehicle in an emergency or breakdown.
The AA recommends carrying at least two reflective jackets/waistcoats – one for the driver and one for a passenger – in the cabin. They must meet EU Standard BS EN 471: 1994 Class One or Two. Car hire companies don’t always provide reflective jackets or other compulsory equipment as standard so check when you hire.
Some countries advise driving with dipped lights all the time, so be prepared and carry headlamp beam convertors unless your lights can be adapted without them.
Always carry a warning triangle, as it’s compulsory in some countries and some require two to be shown so check before you go.
Using or carrying a police speed trap detection device is illegal in most European countries and penalties can include a fine, driving ban or even imprisonment. Some countries also ban you from using a sat-nav system that can show fixed speed camera locations so you might have to disable the function before you go.
For more information or to check out requirements in specific countries see www.theaa.com and www.rac.co.uk