Even for experienced drivers, driving overseas can be a daunting challenge. Here are our top tips for navigating the rules of the road abroad.
Keep your documents handy
Even if you're taking your own car overseas, remember to take your driving licence and insurance documents with you.
If you're driving in a non-EU country, you may also need an International Motor Certificate or an International Driving Permit – your insurer can help you figure out what you'll need.
And don’t forget to check that your car insurance policy and breakdown cover will protect you for the whole of your trip.
Adapting your vehicle
If you’re driving your own car overseas, you'll also need to make sure your headlights are modified if you're driving on the other side of the road. An easy way to do this is with a headlamp beam convertor or adapter stickers, which are cheap and widely available.
Your vehicle also needs to display the country letters of where you’re from. If you’re driving in the EU and you’ve got the GB Euro symbol on your number plates, that’s good enough. But if you’re driving outside of the EU, for example in Switzerland, you’ll need to have a GB sticker.
Make sure you also check for any equipment you're required to carry in your car by law in the countries you’re visiting. The rules vary from country to country, but it could include a first aid kit, fire extinguisher, warning triangle, breathalyser, snow chains or spare lamp bulbs.
Check the rules of the road
This might sound obvious, but knowing the rules of the road where you’re going can make your trip a lot less stressful.
Every time you get into the car, remind yourself which side of the road you’re driving on – especially when you need to negotiate roundabouts or turnings.
Keep an eye out for speed limit signs and try to familiarise yourself with any unusual road signs before you set off.
Plan your journey
Marking out a route on an old-fashioned map can help you concentrate on your driving (and not trying to figure out directions on the road).
If you can, load your SatNav with the relevant country's maps before you head off to help you while you're out and about.
Have an LPG-fuelled car?
You’ll need to make extra travel arrangements if you’re planning to drive your LPG car to Europe.
Firstly, you can’t take it in the Channel Tunnel, so you’ll have to use the ferry. And if your route takes you through the Mont Blanc Tunnel in France, you must tell the attendant at the toll point and they’ll give you a special sticker.
You’ll also need to make sure you’ve got the right fuel pump adapter for wherever you’ll be driving.