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 The Essential Guide: Driving in the UK and Europe

Staycations and driving holidays are the trip of choice now for many Brits. Travelling around the UK and abroad by car can be the easy option, but travellers are sometimes caught-short when they aren’t prepared for the journey or customs of the country they are travelling to.

Driving around the UK on a long trip requires preparation. Here are some key things that you need to ensure you have on your person or in your car before taking a long drive in the UK:

  • A valid driving license
  • Car insurance
  • Accident and Breakdown cover (providing peace of mind for long journeys)
  • Your vehicle log book
  • It is always useful to have a spare tyre in case of emergency
  • A first aid kit

Driving around the UK, as a UK citizen will typically be straightforward and a fun way to travel your home country. However, it is important to always keep safe when on the roads, abide by the Highway Code and all rules of the road at all times.   

Driving to a foreign country is easily done from the UK. Europe isn’t far away and the connections from the UK provides travellers with easy access to some favourite holiday destinations, all whilst avoiding the airport. However, if you want to drive to a foreign country for your next holiday, it is important that you have everything you need.

Here are some key things to consider when you’re driving around Europe:

1.       You need to have the right things in your car

To be prepared for driving abroad, there are certain things you need to have in your car to ensure that you are driving legally and safely. This differs from country to country, so you should check specifically in the area you are travelling to, to ensure you haven’t missed anything essential. Some of the things you might need are:

  • Full, valid driving license 
  • Access to your National Insurance number
  • Passport
  • Your cars log book
  • If you have Accident and Breakdown cover, make sure you have your breakdown policy number and documents you have relating to your policy
  • If you are travelling to France, you will need a Crit’air sticker
  • A valid MOT and tax on the car you are driving
  • Reflective jackets (one for each passenger)
  • Warning triangle
  • Headlamp beam deflectors (you will either have to change the beam manually or stick stickers to your lights)
  • First aid kit (which are compulsory in Germany, Austria and France)

*Different countries have different requirements when travelling by car. Be sure to check the regulations of the country/countries that you are travelling to.

2. You may need to drive on the opposite side of the road

Many countries in Europe require you to drive on the opposite side of the road to the UK. This means that you’ll need to prepare yourself before your journey. If this is your first time driving on the other side of the road, don’t worry, one of the most important things to remember is to remain calm and alert when driving.

3.       The driving styles are different in other countries

Each country will also have a different style of driving. Although you will have to get used to this whilst you’re driving around, it is important to pay extra attention to the roads and other drivers.

Again, it is important to do your research online ahead of travelling or driving in a foreign country. You may find useful hints and tips online for driving in your chosen destination.

4.       The rules and regulations might be different

The rules and regulations on the roads aren’t uniform across the world, there are differences that you should look into and be aware of if you are driving in a foreign country. Be sure to check the general rules and codes of the roads you are travelling to, this will ensure you keep safe and don’t run into any unexpected customs whilst on your travels.

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