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Top tips for driving abroad

  • Prepare before you go
  • Know the law
  • Avoid on-the-spot fines
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Don't let your holiday break down before you've left Calais make sure you're fully up to speed with these top tips for driving on the Continent.

There's more to driving on the Continent than slapping on some GB stickers and driving on the other side of the road. Preparing properly can save time and money and make for a more relaxed holiday, according to auto rescue firm Mondial Assistance.

Lee Taylor, automotive director at Mondial Assistance, said: 'British motorists are always surprised by the fact they can be fined on the spot in other countries. We urge holidaymakers to drive responsibly, but also to have access to an emergency fund should they find themselves in this situation.

'We recommend people check that they have breakdown cover and that it includes not just the cost of getting the car back to the UK, but also the cost of accommodation and onward travel if they are stranded miles from home. The most important thing, however, is having the phone number of their roadside assistance provider should any problems arise.'

Top tips for driving abroad
β€’ Take your driving licence, insurance certificate, roadside assistance policy and vehicle registration document.
β€’ Check with your insurance company that you're fully covered to drive abroad, including cover for any medical expenses that could result from an accident.
β€’ Check with your motor assistance provider that you have the right level of cover on your vehicle and whether the cover changes in continental Europe from that provided in the UK.
β€’ Request a Green Card from your insurance provider. The card is not required by law to cross borders within the European Union and some other countries, but it will prove that the minimum third party liability cover required by law in the visited country is in force.
β€’ Plan your route in advance. Pack a map and/or GPS unit.
β€’ Make sure your car is not overdue for a service, and perform checks on oil, tyres, petrol, battery and water before you leave as these are the most common causes of breakdown.
β€’ Buy headlamp beam deflector strips and a warning triangle. Headlights must be dipped during the day, for example this is the law in Denmark, Finland, Sweden and Iceland.
β€’ Check you have a spare wheel and a jack, first-aid kit, jump leads, a torch, fuse kits, reflective jacket and spare car lightbulbs.
β€’ Familiarise yourself with the country's motoring laws, print a copy and keep it in the car. For example, blood alcohol limits vary from country to country.
β€’ Place a GB sticker on your car. Failure to do so could result in an on-the-spot fine. If you have a GB Euro-symbol on your numberplate then you don't need a GB sticker when driving in Europe.
β€’ Check on which side of the road you'll be driving.
β€’ Ensure you are driving within the country's speed limits.