Blog: 10 Steps To European Driving Heaven!
As this blog goes to press (metaphorically in this digital age of course) the author should be about 5 hours south west of Calais, heading off for a week of R&R. Being a responsible and careful driver, all the pre-holiday checks were done and dusted in order to try and make the journey as safe and easy as possible.
Here's your starter for ten to help make sure you stay on the road and within the law when taking your motor abroad on holiday.
- Car Checks
Always check tyres, oil, water, lights, wipers, air conditioning and other "basics" before heading off. Do this at least a few days before travelling so that there is time to remedy any problems.
Most European countries require motorists to have specific equipment on board. Whether it's first aid kits, warning triangles, high-vis jackets, breathalysers or headlight beam adaptors, make sure you know what's required - you can find out more here.
All UK car insurance will provide at least a basic (third party) level of cover in the EU. Many insurers will provide a comparable level of cover, so that fully comprehensive policies provide the same level of cover for holiday driving. However it is always worth checking exactly what cover's in place with your insurer and, if required, upgrading it.
Get a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) in order to ensure your entitlement to reduced or free medical care in case of accident or illness whilst on holiday. Find out more here.
- Breakdown Cover
Many breakdown insurance policies only cover drivers in the UK. Consider extending this to cover European driving or look at buying a separate policy which may be cheaper.
- Local News
Apart from specific equipment requirements (see above), familiarise yourself with key motoring laws for the countries you will be visiting. Not knowing speed limits, overtaking restrictions and the use of speed camera warning equipment could all lead to falling foul of the law.
- Speeding Fines
The recent EU Directive on Road Safety has not been adopted by the UK, so watch out in France in particular for on-the-spot speeding fines that could add up to a £320 reduction in your holiday spending budget!
Hopefully you will not need to know that the European emergency services phone number is 112.
Always remove valuables from your car when you park up and keep as much as possible covered up. Don't make your car an easy target for thieves.
- Drive On The Right!
Unless driving in Ireland, Malta or Cyprus, drive on the right! Some drivers leave a post-it note on their steering wheel to remind them - it's surprisingly easy to forget!