Driving Abroad Rules, Regulations, Laws And Requirements
There are many reasons why you may have to drive whilst you are abroad or in a different country. It may be that you are required to participate in driving abroad for your job or simply for leisure if you are on holiday but whatever the reason may be for driving, there are certain factors you need to know and consider before you get behind the wheel.
The thought of driving abroad can be daunting for many people and with the prospect of navigating unfamiliar roads, abiding by different rules and laws and then contending with the language barrier, it is understandable why so many people are glad to leave the driving to someone else.
However, this said, if you do a little research and forward planning before you travel, you will be fine and you should not be put off with either taking your own car abroad or hiring a car in a different country.
Remember: Each country throughout the world has its own laws, rules and regulations for driving and you should never presume that they are the same as those in your home country. It is therefore essential to familiarise yourself with these laws and also the road signs and Highway codes of the countries to which you are visiting. You should also be aware that the laws and regulations for Speed limits, drink driving and the equipment you should carry in your car may be different too.
This page is designed to help answer a few questions about driving abroad and hopefully it will help you plan your trip according.
Please Note: The information on this page is set out as a guide and if you are uncertain about anything to do with driving abroad, you should contact the Embassy of the country you are visiting, to clarify any questions.
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If you are hoping to hire a car abroad, you can read more about car rental abroad on the following page: Car Hire
Taking Your Own Car Abroad
If you are planning on taking your own car abroad, there are a number of things you will need to have in place before you leave for your journey and if you are hiring a car or intend driving someone else’s vehicle whilst you are abroad, you will need to ensure you have all the relevant documents in place.
Laws, Rules And Regulations: Always familiarise yourself with the driving laws, rules and regulations of the country to which you are visiting.
International Driving Permit: Does the country you are visiting require you to have and International Driving Permit? If so, ensure you have one!
Insurance Cover For Driving Abroad: If you are taking your own car, ensure that your car insurance covers you for driving your vehicle abroad and in the country or countries you will be driving in or through. Also, if you are hiring a car you should ensure that you are fully covered and it is a good idea to take out your own personal independent Car hire excess insurance.
Breakdown Cover For Driving Abroad: Ensure that you have sufficient Breakdown cover that covers you for the country or countries you will be visiting.
Compulsory Equipment: Ensure that you are carrying all the compulsory equipment in your car that is required by law. Some countries in Europe require you by law to carry a warning triangle, Hi-Visibility jacket, First Aid kit, beam convertors and a magnetic sticker displaying the initials of your home country. For example: If you are from Great Britain you would have a sticker with the initials GB.
Spare Glasses: If you wear prescription glasses, some countries such as Spain also require you to have a spare pair of glasses with you when driving. This is common sense and to be honest, if you intend doing a lot of driving, you should ensure you have a spare pair of glasses with you anyway just in case you lose or damage a pair.
Keep All Documents And Paperwork Together: Pack all the required documents in a folder so that you have them all in one place should you be required to present them. This folder should include your driving licence (both the plastic photo part and paper counterpart), Insurance certificate, Breakdown Cover details, your V5 (Vehicle Registration Document), International Driving Permit (if required for the country you are visiting) and any other details and contact numbers you may need in the event of an emergency. Also ensure you have your European Health Insurance Card with you at all times.
Plan Your Journey In Advance: Sounds obvious doesn’t it but so many people plan the destinations which they would like to visit and the basic route but fail to plan the minor details which can cost valuable time and money. Simple things such as writing down the hotel address where you are staying, the nearest petrol stations and whether there are any tolls on your route will save you time and money
Take A Road Map: Sadly, we live in a world of technology and one were the good old traditional road map has become redundant to the trusty SatNav. SatNav’s are no doubt a blessing when travelling throughout Europe of in other countries and something that you should have but if your SatNav breaks and you don’t have a road map at hand, you really are going to be stuck! Ensure you have a backup and pack a road map.
Service Your Car: You should ensure that your car is fully working and has sufficient oil, water and coolant in it before you travel. Ensure the tyres on your vehicle have sufficient tread on them and are road legal and make sure they are inflated to the correct tyre pressure. Make sure you have a spare wheel and a jack that is working.
Tool Kit: Ensure you have the right tools in your car in case you need them whilst you are on the road. Having the basic tools in your vehicle can save you a lot of time and can be a great benefit if an emergency repair is required to get you to the nearest garage.
Torch: Ensure you pack a torch in your tool kit and also pack spare batteries just in case.
LPG Vehicles And Which LPG Adapters Are Used In Different European Countries: If you are taking a LPG vehicle remember that there are different types of fuel pump adapters for the nozzles. There are four different types of adapters and they are: ACME adapter, Bayonet adapter, Dish adapter and the Euronozzle adapter.
Austria – Belgium – Germany – Ireland – Liechtenstein – Luxembourg – Switzerland – United Kingdom
Norway – Poland – Spain – United Kingdom -The Netherlands
Austria – Bosnia and Herzegovina – Bulgaria – Croatia – Czech Republic – Denmark – Estonia – France – Greece – Hungary – Italy – Kosovo – Latvia – Lithuania – Macedonia – Malta – Montenegro – Norway – Portugal – Romania – San Marino – Serbia – Slovakia – Slovenia – Sweden – Switzerland
Share The Driving: Driving is tiring and can be stressful, especially in a foreign country. If there are several people travelling in your party, try to share the driving equally to make it safer. Obviously if you are driving alone this is not possible but remember to take regular breaks or even have a day off driving.
Which Side Of The Road You Will Be Driving On:
Most countries around the world drive on the ‘Right’ which means if you are from the UK and are used to driving on the ‘Left’, you will obviously be driving on the opposite side of the road.
Tolls: If you are driving abroad you should check your route for tolls. Many countries throughout Europe have Toll roads and this means that you will be charged a fee for using them. If you are travelling a considerable distance, these toll charges can soon add up and become a costly experience. It can sometimes be better to take alternative route that avoid the toll charges.
Can I Drive Abroad
This will depend on many things such as age, convictions and which country you are visiting. All countries have different rules regarding driving and you should always ensure that you are familiar with the driving laws of the country you are visiting.
Driving Abroad Age – Can I Drive Abroad At 17
Although the minimum driving age in Great Britain and Northern Ireland is 17, this does not mean that it will be the same in the country you are visiting. If you are wishing to hire a car during your time abroad, then you will not be able to hire a car if you are 17 as most car hire companies require the driver to be older.
Can I Drive Abroad With A UK Licence
Most countries will require you to have a valid driving licence and if you are from the UK, then you will need to present your driving licence. However, some countries will also require you to have an International Driving Permit as well as your driving UK licence.
Can I Drive In Europe With My Great Britain Driving Licence
Can I Drive In The European Economic Area (EEA) With My Great Britain Driving Licence
What Documents Do I Need To Take If I Am Taking My Own Vehicle Abroad
Always have your documents to hand just in case you are stopped by the Police or need to produce them. The documents you should have with you are:
Full driving licence both plastic and paper part if you have a photo ID driving licence.
International Driving Permit (if required).
V5 – If you are taking your own car: The original copy of your vehicle registration document (V5c)
What Do I Need To Drive Abroad
If you wish to drive abroad in the EU, you will need a Great Britain or Northern Ireland driving licence. If you are not from Great Britain or Northern Ireland, you will need a valid driving licence from your home country. If you wish to drive in countries which are outside the EU, you may be required to hold an ‘International Driving Permit’, as well as your driving licence.
Driving Abroad Kit
If you are planning taking your own car abroad you may be required by law to carry certain items in your car. These items are compulsory in certain countries and they include items such as Hi-Visibilty jacket, beam convertors, warning triangle, a First Aid kit and magnetic stickers displaying your home countries initials. There are many retailers online that actually offer kits for driving abroad that include all the items you are legally required to carry in your car.
Driving Abroad In Winter
If you are taking your car abroad in Winter or are hiring a car and driving to destinations where there may be snow, you may be required by law to carry snow chains or have Winter Tyres fitted to your vehicle.
Can I Drive Abroad With A Paper Licence
If you have a pink plastic licence you should obviously take it with you and it is advisable to also take the green paper part of your licence with you just in case it is required. If you do not have one of the new plastic driving licences and you only have the old paper licence, you should take that with you as proof you hold a valid driving licence.
Are LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gas) Cars Allowed Through The Euro Tunnel
No, LPG vehicles are not allowed to travel on the Euro Tunnel.
Driving abroad can be a wonderful experience and although the driving laws and regulations are different, as long as you have done your homework and are prepared, you should have an enjoyable time. A little forward planning and ensuring you have all the relevant documents and equipment in place before you leave will hopefully ensure you do not encounter any unpleasant experiences if you are stopped by the local Police or Boarder Control. We hope this guide helps you plan your trip and as a result helps you have a safe journey when you are driving abroad.