Are you planning your first road trip abroad this summer? The way the weather is here in the UK, you might well be. Never driven on the right before? Here are some tips if this is the first time you have taken to the roads abroad. Start by making sure your car is fit for the trip for a trouble-free motoring holiday this summer. The quick list: Passport, License, Car.

Brexit

Sorry to mention the B word but there will be changes that you need to know about.  If you hire a car or even if you drive your own you will need insurance and a green card, and make sure that you have at least 6 months on your passport before you set off.

Different European countries 
have differing speed limits.

Driving on the right with confidence

If you are taking your own car, make sure that you take it easy at first so that you can get used to the new driving position and the roads. If you are hiring a car then it is essential that you allow time to get used to the position of the handbrake and the gear stick.  Don’t feel pressured to take off right away, drive around the car park to get used to the car before you go. This does not apply to The Republic of Ireland, Malta or Cyprus where they drive on the left.

Getting the hang of it

When you are driving in a narrow lane you need to pull in on the right for oncoming cars.

On a motorway or dual carriageway overtake on the left.  Be extra vigilant when you are in your own car as your visibility for other traffic will be less.

On a roundabout you need to give way to the left and then go around in an anti-clockwise direction.  Keep an eye out for bikes too, countries like Holland often have cycle lanes within their roundabouts.

Keep your eye on the road signs along the way.  If they are right ahead of you then you are OK and on the correct side of the road!

Be extra aware when you pull out after a petrol station or comfort break because those are the times that you might forget that you are driving on the right!

Check the speed limits and rules of the road.

Different European countries have differing speed limits.  One example is the lack of any speed limit on Germany’s autobahn whereas in neighbouring France the speed limit on the motorway is 80 mph but that goes down to 68 mph if the roads are wet.

Shining a Light

Some European countries require you to have your headlights on at all times.  Those countries are Serbia, Poland and Bulgaria. Do your homework as to whether the country you are visiting requires you to carry kit like reflective jackets and headlight beam converters or has any other specific motoring do’s and don’ts.  French law, for example, requires you to have a breathalyser kit with you at all times while in Romania you cannot drive a dirty car. In some cities in Spain, whether you can park or not will depend on what day of the week it is!

If you do get pulled over

The first thing to do is to stay calm.  Make sure that you have all the documents you need to have with you, like your driving licence, registration document and the hire car documents all of which the police will want to see, as well as your travel documents.  Not having the necessary documentation can lead to you being landed with a fine.

Keeping Safe

If anyone flags you down and tries to tell you that you have something wrong with your car, be wary.  Drive on to somewhere like a car park where there are a lot of people around before you investigate.

Don’t Get Lost!

Because phone signals can sometimes be unreliable and sat navs confusing always take a physical map book or map of your area so that if all else fails, you can navigate the old fashioned way!

We hope these few tips will ensure that you and your car have a great trouble road trip this summer! 

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