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Driving in Europe - The Complete Checklist

Date: Tue 22nd May 2018   |   Author: L Blake

Are you planning on driving abroad this summer?

Preparation is key wherever you’re planning on driving in Europe this summer. Driving abroad can be quite daunting, even for the most experienced of drivers. There are a whole host of motorways, road signs and tolls to wrap your head around, and that’s before you’ve thought about paperwork such as the International Driving Licence. We’ve compiled the ultimate driving in Europe checklist to make sure you’re covered wherever your journey may take you.

Important Documents

Below is a list of important documents that you will need for driving in Europe: -

  • Full, valid international driving licence (both parts).
  • Proof of ID (passport).
  • National insurance number.
  • Valid and up to date MOT and Tax certificates.
  • Valid and up to date insurance for your vehicle that covers you in Europe.
  • V5C Certificate.
  • Travel insurance documents (and an EHIC if you have one).
  • European breakdown cover documents (make sure your policy covers international driving!)

Before You Go

It goes without saying that you should make sure your vehicle is safe to drive well before the start of your trip. You may want to get your car serviced before you go but it is not essential. You should, however, make sure that your oil and water levels are topped up and that your tyres have plenty of tread. It’s also worth checking your windscreen wipers and light bulbs, just in case. You will need an approved GB plate. The alternative GB Euro-Plate is also recognised but is not valid outside of the EU.

Packing List

It’s better to be safe than sorry. You wouldn’t pack for a holiday and leave your passport (or your best sunglasses) behind. When driving abroad, you want to make sure you are ready for whatever may come your way. Here are a few things to add to your packing list for driving in Europe.

  • Spare wheel or a puncture repair kit.
  • Locking wheel nut key.
  • Headlamp beam converters.
  • Jack and wheel brace.
  • Jump leads or battery charger.
  • Petrol can.
  • A torch with spare batteries.
  • A fire extinguisher.
  • A first aid kit.
  • A warning triangle.

You should also check ahead to see if there are any legal requirements for the country you are visiting.

Another good idea would be to check the weather forecast ahead of travelling, to make sure your vehicle is ready. For example, you wouldn’t want to head somewhere particularly cold without de-icing equipment or snow chains.

Driving Tips

Be careful and cautious.

Remember that in Europe, most countries drive on the right-hand side of the road. Make sure that your indicators, headlights and brake lights are in working order. Have some change to hand for any toll charges you may encounter or purchase a toll card in advance for a smoother journey.

When driving long distances, it is important to take breaks. Where possible share the driving or pull into services. Do not drive when tired.
Remember that driving abroad varies from country to country and may change at any time. You can find specific travel advice for the country you are visiting by heading to the Foreign Exchange Website.

Breakdown Advice

Hopefully your trip will run smoothly but in the event of a vehicle breakdown, here are some tips of what you can do:

  • First of all, stay calm.
  • If possible, pull over. If not, be sure to switch on your hazard warning lights to alert other drivers of the situation
  • In the event of an accident, place a warning triangle at a suitable distance from your vehicle to keep the area clear and to stop traffic impeding.
  • Call the police or the motorway services as necessary, depending on the situation. The emergency number for Europe is 112. You can use the emergency telephones located on the roadside to reach motorway services. The emergency telephones are located approximately every 2km.
  • In the event of an accident, make sure to note your location and exchange details with other drivers. You will also want to contact your insurance provider.
  • If you have European breakdown cover, call the number provided on your policy and follow the instructions.

When driving in France, it is important to note that the motorways are privately managed. In the event of a breakdown the law states that you must use an emergency telephone or dial 112. You will be put through to the police or to motorway services and a rescue company will be sent out to you.

Driving doesn’t have to be stressful, even if you are travelling somewhere new or are driving abroad for the very first time. Driving can be fun and is a great way to travel and see new places. Our checklist includes everything you need to know about driving abroad, so you are prepared for the highs and lows of driving. So grab your international driving licence, create a road trip playlist of your favourite songs and set off in the sunset towards the channel tunnel or your nearest ferry terminal.

We hope you found this article on the complete checklist for driving in Europe helpful. There are plenty of helpful and interesting articles on the AutoProtect Engage page, including informative ‘how to’ tips.