The British summer is looking less than promising and a lot of people are planning to escape the weather and go abroad and many will be driving. Road safety charity IAM offers weekly motoring tips and also advises on driving abroad, IAM chief examiner Peter Rodger said “if you’re planning to drive in Europe, you’ll need to be aware that driving laws and regulations differ from country to country. Even if you’re planning to merely pass through a country, you’ll need to be aware of their regulations for touring drivers. Plan and prepare for your trip abroad and get up to speed with the local rules of the road.”
Preparation is always the key and most importantly your car must be up for the journey so firstly if your car is due a service then book it in now, otherwise vital checks include tyre pressures and tread and topping up oil and coolant is a must. These checks may need doing regular if you are considering a touring holiday as using your vehicle for a long time daily increases wear and tear and windscreen mirrors and lights will need cleaning.
Once you have crossed the border, don’t forget you’ll need to drive on the right hand side of the road. It could be worth asking your passengers to remind you of this too. When tired this is something that is easily forgotten especially when pulling out from junctions. Another problem besides coping with driving on the other side of the road is to know the motorway speed limits as they differ in most European countries. The basic road signs confuse us, figures show that 86 percent of drivers failed to identify correctly the yellow diamond “priority” road sign used in European countries to indicate the road has right of way, 40 percent were unable to identify the French “Give Way” sign.
Don’t forget correct documentation
You will need to take appropriate documentation to comply with requirements of immigration and customs: driving licence, driving licence counterpart, vehicle registration document (V5), insurance certificate and passports (for those travelling). You must display a GB sign on your vehicle as failure to comply could result in an on-the-spot fine. If your number plates include the GB euro-symbol, you will not need to display a GB sticker within the EU. Most countries require drivers to carry reflective jackets and warning triangles and don’t forget if you are driving through France you are obligated to carry a breathalyser.