Don't drive abroad without knowing certain facts - search2drive has help! Read our advice on insurance, breakdown cover, accidents and car hire. Plus important tips regarding driving in France as its the gateway to europe.
Driving abroad - Before you start
• You must get to know the driving laws of the country you are visiting and travelling through - including local speed limits and which side of the road they drive on! It sounds silly but it will catch you out!
• Be aware that provisional licences are a national document issued within the framework of driver training and do not entitle the holder to drive outside the territory of the issuing member state.
• Look for the correct travel advice by country for more information on driving within that country.
• Inform your insurance company so that you're fully covered to drive abroad including breakdown recovery and any medical expenses resulting from an accident!
• Do you need a Green Card for the country you're visiting - this provides minimum insurance.
• Do you need an International Driving Permit
• Service your vehicle before leaving the UK.
• Does your vehicle comply with the vehicle requirements of the countries you'll visit.
International driving Permit
The International Driver Document or International Driver's License issued by several different establishments is an official translation of a national or domestic driver's license, which allows the motorist to drive in different territories without experiencing problems with various language barriers. This International Driver's License, however, is valid only with the original driver's license, which must be currently valid and not suspended or expired. The International Drivers License also indicates that you are a holder of a valid drivers license from your country, fulfiling the right for a person to drive in another country when accompanied by an original and valid driver's license.
To get an IDP, you must be resident in GB, have passed a driving test and be over 18 years of age. The fee for a permit is £5.50.
The authorisation for the International Driver License has its basis in the United Nation conventions on Road Traffic and Safety held in 1923, 1943, 1949 and 1968, which established standards for the International Driving permit.
Don't go without taking:
• Spare car keys
• Fire extinguisher, first aid kit, tool kit, spare bulbs
• Warning triangle
• Registration document, driving licence and passport- check if you'll need an International Driving Permit
• Your insurance certificate, Green Card (if issued)
• Breakdown policy and contact numbers
• Travel insurance documents
• Emergency helpline numbers
Whilst you're away:
• Drive defensively and expect the unexpected - the local driving style may be different to that of the UK.
• Don't drive when you're tired and take regular breaks on long journeys.
• Wear a seat belt and make sure other passengers do.
• Don't drink and drive - the alcohol limit may be lower than in the UK and in some countries there is zero tolerance for drink driving!
• Don't use your mobile whilst driving!
• Don't overload your vehicle and ensure you can see out of the back window!
• In an accident, contact your insurer immediately and take photographs of damage to your vehicle
Driving your own car
Make sure you have a GB sticker clearly visible on the back of your car if your number plate doesn't include this information. You'll also need headlamp converters if you're driving on the right-hand side of the road these need to be on even if you are driving through the day!
Hiring a vehicle
• Hire from a reputable company - the cheapest deal may not always be the best or reliable!
• Insurance cover is often limited to the legal minimum of the country or state you hire in. You could be held personally responsible for any claim for injury or damage over this limit.
• Your tour operator or insurer usually can provide top-up insurance to increase your cover. This may be cheaper than buying it abroad.
Driving in France
1. It is illegal to travel without spare bulbs and fuses for your vehicle.
2. Unless you have new style EU number plates then you must have GB sticker on your car.
3. Warning triangles are to be used in the event of breakdown.
4. Headlamp Beam converters have to be fitted.
5. You must have a florescent jacket in the car, (not the boot), for each person in the car. A lot of people mistakenly assume they only need one for the driver.
6. Drink driving limits are 50 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood, not 80 mg as it is in the UK.
7. You MUST take photocopies of your insurance, vehicle registration documents, MOT etc. as you may need them at customs, but definitely if you get stopped by the police.
8. You will need both parts of your driving licence with you.
9. On Toll roads you take a ticket when you enter and you pay when you leave, so they can see how many km you travelled.
10. Don't assume any hire car has the correct items listed above, ASK before you book the car and check when you pick it up.
Taking your own car abroad.
If you are moving abroad and will be driving, it might be an option to take your car with you. Autoshippers international car shipping will safely transport your car from the UK to almost any worldwide destination and can save you forking out the cost to store your car in the UK or buying a new one in your new country of residence.