Mirror, signal, manoeuvre
Driving at home can be tricky enough - and it is even more of challenge when you drive overseas. Tackling the Arc de Triomphe at rush hour is an experience in itself!
Just for starters, most countries drive on the right hand side so all the car controls in a hire car will be on the left. Plus you'll typically be negotiating roundabouts anticlockwise instead of clockwise!
When driving, you'll need to take extra care and be really observant.
Here are our Top 10 Tips for taking the wheel overseas:
- DO take your driving licence, car insurance certificate and V5 vehicle registration document.
- DO make sure your car insurance policy covers you for international driving.
- DO ask your car insurance company for an International Motor Insurance Certificate (a Green Card) if driving in a non-EU country.
- DO check if you need an International Driving Permit (IDP) as well.
- DO make sure you have valid breakdown cover.
- DO make sure you have travel insurance and check the level of cover is suitable.
- DO check which side of the road you'll be driving on.
- DO know where you're going - plan your journeys, pack a map or if you have one, use SatNav if your system can be loaded with the right maps for where you're going.
- DO stick to the local speed limits - trying to discuss a speeding offence with a policeman in broken English or sign language can be really tricky!
- DO check what is required by law in the countries you are visiting for example some countries require you to carry a first aid kit, fire extinguisher, warning triangle, headlamp beam reflectors or spare lamp bulbs - plus they're handy to have, just in case.
- DO carry an EHIC card - this entitles you and your family to state provided emergency medical care in the EU if you or a member of your family is taken ill or injured. Find out more about the EHIC card
- You can pick up an application form for the EHIC at most post offices or you can apply for one online from the Department of Health.
- DO fix a GB sticker to the back of your car, making sure it's clearly visible.
- DO get a Camping Card International if you're camping - it gives you discounts and lots of liability insurance cover.
- An organisation like RAC will be able to supply you with one for a small fee.
- DO make sure the driver of any vehicle with over 9 seats is over 21 years old and has at least one year's driving experience on a full licence.
- DO make sure you are carrying the right fuel pump adaptor if you run an LPGfuelled car.
- Remember, that LPG cars are NOT allowed in the Channel Tunnel.
- If you're taking an LPG car through the Mont Blanc Tunnel in France, you MUST tell the attendant at the toll point: you'll get a special sticker.
- If you're hiring a car, DO make sure you have your driving licence with you and DO make sure the hire company issues you with comprehensive collision damage waiver insurance. This will cover you for incidents or accidents.