Driving Safely Abroad

More and more people are choosing the fly-drive option when
they go on holiday, giving the advantages of flexibility and the chance to
explore the country that many tourists are seeking. Others of us in the UK are
crossing the Channel in increasing numbers and driving to destinations in
Europe. Even for people who are old-hands at driving abroad, it’s useful to be
reminded from time to time of the key things to bear in mind when you are
motoring outside the UK. Not least because regulations in a number of European
countries have recently changed, and drivers might find themselves caught
without the legally required equipment in their car.

So what are the top five things to consider when you are
planning to drive overseas?

Make sure you have the right paperwork. Plan well
ahead to ensure that you have the necessary documents for the countries that you
are visiting. At the minimum you will need both your paper and photocard
driving licence, vehicle registration document, and insurance certificate.
Check that your insurance covers you for driving abroad, and whether you need
additional cover for particular countries. Allianz Your Cover (www.yourcoverinsurance.co.uk)
offers foreign travel car insurance cover which you can add to your current
Allianz Your Cover insurance policy at any time. The add on will cover you for
driving in any EU country for a period of 90 days, and you can add further roof
box, trailer and car contents insurance for complete peace of

Get informed about the driving laws of the country that
you are visiting
. Make sure that you are aware of all the current
regulations – in many EU countries, for instance, it’s now compulsory to carry a
fluorescent jacket for the driver, a warning triangle, and a first aid kit in
your car. In France you must also have a self-breathalyser kit. Consult one of
the motoring organisations’ websites for up-to-date information about the
driving regulations in the countries you will be visiting. Remember, you must
have either a GB sticker on the back of your car or a GB sign on the number

Familiarise yourself with road signs and driving
. Many are universal, but there are often some that are specific
to a country, and unless you are familiar with these exceptions you risk at best
annoying other drivers – and at worst an accident.

Service your car before you go. It is annoying and
can be expensive to break down during your holiday, so make sure that your car
has been thoroughly checked over and serviced before you set off. Replace worn
tyres, and ensure that the dip on your headlights is adjusted for driving on the
continent – or that you buy a kit to correct the headlight beam pattern.

Plan how you load the car. It might seem an
obvious point, but especially if you are planning some stops on the way to your
eventual destination, it helps considerably if the cases or equipment that you
need is not buried at the back of the boot. Have anything that you will need
during the journey, like bottled water or wipes to refresh hands and face, well
within reach.

And finally – stay safe! It is more tiring driving in
unfamiliar situations, so take frequent breaks to keep your concentration levels
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