Driving In Europe Checklist

Driving In Europe Checklist

Updated 27th September 2022

A driving holiday can be one of the most relaxing ways to see the sights and visit as many different places as possible in one go, but if you are travelling abroad there are various legal obligations, road laws and other factors to take into account to ensure your trip goes without a hitch.

For anyone planning on taking their own car to the European mainland, it’s a relatively simple journey via ferry or the Channel Tunnel. However, different driving rules will need to be taken into account. Brexit and the relationship between the UK and the EU is another factor that you might want to research prior to setting off. UK Government website has the latest updates on driving overseas and should be regularly consulted.

So whether you're unsure of any extra equipment you might need, any extra skills you might require or even if your insurance and excess cover is suitable for any eventuality, just taking the time to familiarise yourself with a few details will give you peace of mind and get you in the right mindset for a relaxing getaway.

Compulsory Equipment

In the UK it might seem a little unusual to carry a portable breathalyser in your car but in France, it is a legal requirement. Likewise, many countries will insist that you have other emergency incident items such as a warning triangle or reflective jackets on-board. As the rules vary from country to country and there are 27 other member states in the EU, it can be difficult to give a 'one size fits all' answer to the question of what exactly you'll need to stay on the right side of the law.

A European driving kit is a great investment and usually contains all the items you might need for travelling in countries most popular with British drivers, including Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain. Do take the time to delve a little deeper though and check that you know the requirements set out by the country you will be driving through on your itinerary.

Advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise putting together a travel pack including your passport and driving licence, vehicle registration document (V5), motor insurance certificate, International Driving Permit if needed, travel insurance documents and breakdown service contact numbers for each different territory.

Having everything is in one place and quickly at hand should you need to present it to the authorities at any time will give you peace of mind.

Many typical breakdown cover packages either extend to Europe as a standard or offer the service as an add-on. Likewise, car insurance should be double checked to make sure you are covered to drive in the countries you will be visiting. If overseas cover isn't part of your package, you'll usually only have minimum legal third party cover in the EU.

Travel Insurance

As well as car insurance, you should always consider having travel insurance for any trip abroad. If you become ill or are injured in a car accident or in another way while travelling, it can be an extremely expensive experience. Travel insurance covers medical bills and treatments as well as the results of any activities you are likely to indulge in while you are away that could cause injury.

Please remember that the EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) is no longer valid for UK citizens, so travel insurance is a must have.

As you can see there are numerous factors to consider before driving on Europe’s roads, but the majority of these are relatively simple tasks to complete.

Not taking you car

Car hire remains a choice if you prefer not to take your own vehicle. There are many options for hiring and if you do decide to hire do not forget that Direct Car Excess insurance will save you money. Buy before you travel European Car Hire Insurance.