Driving Outside the UK – Everything You Need to Know

Driving Outside the UK – Everything You Need to Know

When it comes to holidaying outside the UK, many of us Brits choose to drive over to nearby European countries in the car to keep all our home comforts in tow but that can pose a bit of a challenge when you reach your destination.

Driving laws differ around the globe and just because you’re a great driver on UK roads, doesn’t mean you’re clued up enough to get behind the wheel abroad.

We’re going to be sharing with you some top bits of advice to keep in mind if you’re taking your own car overseas or hiring a car in a country outside the UK to keep you safe on foreign roads!

Check You Meet Foreign Driving Criteria

To drive in the EU or anywhere else in the world, you must have a valid GB license and therefore have passed your driving test. Some countries outside of the EU require you to have an International Driving Permit which you have to apply and pay for, as well as being 18 years or older with a valid GB license.

If you’re hiring a car abroad, you may have to be over 18 or even over 21, so make sure you check before you head over to that country.

Check Your Insurance

If you’re taking your own car out of the UK and are planning on driving in Europe, you need to make sure you’ve got the necessary insurance.

This is one of the most important things to make sure you’ve got sorted before getting behind the wheel of your car abroad. Some insurance policies will cover driving in other countries and some won’t so be sure to speak with your provider and check your policy to see whether you’re covered or need to take out additional insurance for your holiday.

Most European Countries Drive on the Right Hand Side of the Road

One major thing to remember if you’re taking your car across to the likes of France or Spain is that you have to drive on the right-hand side of the road, as opposed to the left like we do here in the UK.

If you’ve been driving in the UK for a long time, it’s likely to be second nature to you to drive on the left-hand side of the road, so don’t let yourself slip into habits from home when driving around Europe and stick to the right-hand side!

Give Way to the Left on a Roundabout

Something else that is likely to feel totally unnatural when you first start driving outside the UK is giving way to the left on a roundabout as opposed to the right like we do here in England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland.

This is simply because you drive on the opposite side of the road in countries such as France, so the general rules of the road work in the opposite direction, such as left-hand turns being more challenging than right-hand turns, due to driving on the other side.

Don’t Forget Your GB Sticker

If you do not have a euro symbol on your number plates, you will require a GB sticker on your car to drive inside and outside the EU. The AA highlight how the sticker has to feature black letters on a white background of a size around 80mm high and 10mm wide.

If you’re heading outside the EU, even if you have a euro sign on your number plate, you are likely to still need a GB sticker but check the regulations for the country you’re heading to.

Have Your Reflective Jackets Onboard

Although recommended in this country, it is not compulsory to have reflective jackets in your vehicle at all but in some countries, particularly European ones, it is the law to always carry a high-vis jacket in your car in case of breakdowns or emergencies, so make sure you pack these otherwise you could land in trouble in the country you’re visiting.

Buy a Breathalyser (France Only)

It was passed as a law in 2012 in France that all drivers must carry breathalysers in their cars and would be fined if they were not to have one, however this has now been changed and although it is still considered compulsory to have an ‘alcotest’ in your vehicle when driving in France, there is now no enforceable fine, however it may be worth carrying one just in case.

There’s a lot to remember and consider when it comes to driving outside the UK but luckily there’s plenty of information out there to help you do everything right.

As well as the above, our top tip for every roof rack is to pack the car properly. Overfilling your car is dangerous, distracting and just not a good idea, so instead of shoving everything into the boot, investing in a HandiHoldall and HandiRack bundle will help you distribute your belongings properly and transport everything safely.

If you’ve got any top tips for driving outside the UK, we’d love to hear them, so share them with us on Twitter or Instagram!

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