Summer motoring 2012: top tips
Top tips for driving abroad
Follow our tips for a stress-free and safe journey when taking your car abroad.
Car check: It’s cheaper to check your car is in good working order before you depart than to recover it when you’re abroad. Consider a service before you leave.
Consider cover: European breakdown cover is available from all the major providers, either annually, or for just the period you’re away. The extra cost will still be cheaper than sorting a problem that occurs in a foreign land.
Papers: As well as the usual passport and personal travel insurance, make sure you take the original of your car’s logbook (the V5 document), both parts of your licence and your insurance certificate. Some countries will also require a valid MoT certificate if applicable – check our guide to driving requirements in your destination country at the bottom of this page.
Insurance: All insurance companies have to cover you to the bare minimum, but that might be no more than third party cover. Check with them before you go - so you don’t get lumbered with a potentially painful bill if the worst happens.
Safety kit: French law has changed and now requires all drivers to carry a breathalyser in their car. You also need to carry a warning triangle, a high-visibility jacket (in the cabin, not the boot) and leave any radar detector systems at home. Once again, check our guide to driving requirements in your destination country at the bottom of this page.
Lay off the booze: Different countries have different drink-driving limits, so it’s best to abstain if in doubt. Our guide to driving requirements in your destination country has a list of these varying limits – find it at the bottom of this page.
Watch your speed: Get carried away on the motorway and the French police have the right to fine you on the spot, even if they can’t add points to your licence. Your average speed might also be measured between toll gates on a motorway. Get the information on speed limits by using our guide to driving requirements in your destination country at the bottom of this page
Lights: Headlights are shaped to throw more light to the side of the road, so make sure you attach the reflectors to stop the beams from dazzling oncoming drivers.
Fuel: The exchange rate has helped to make European fuel prices good value compared with the UK. Be smart and fill up in France on your way home.
Stay legal abroad
Use the following dropdown to find out what you'll need to stay legal when driving abroad.