Drivers Fact Sheets

Driving Abroad

Please Do Not Drive Abroad Unprepared

Before You Go

  1. Familiarise yourself with the driving rules and laws of the country you are visiting – including obviously which side of the road they drive and local speed limits etc
  2. You should be aware that provisional licences are a national document issued within the framework of driver training and do not entitle the holder to drive outside the territory of the issuing member state.
  3. Check with your insurance so that you are fully covered to drive abroad including breakdown recovery and any medical expenses resulting from an accident
  4. Check whether you need a Green Card for the country you’re visiting – this provides proof of minimum insurance
  5. Check whether you need an International Driving Permit
  6. Service your vehicle before leaving the UK
  7. Check you can comply with the vehicle requirements of the countries you’ll visit (at certain times of the year, winter tyres may be compulsory in some countries – e.g. Germany).
  8. Find out what you need to take. The regulations of what you need to carry with you in your vehicle when you’re abroad can differ very much from the UK. One example is your proof of vehicle ownership (V5 log book). In the UK, you are advised not to carry this in your vehicle; however in many European countries if you don’t then you could be subject to a fine.

 Whilst You Are Away

  1. Drive defensively and expect the unexpected – the local driving style may be different to that of the UK
  2. Do not drive when you are tired and take regular breaks on long journeys
  3. Make sure you wear a seat belt and make sure your passengers do too
  4. Do not drink and drive – the alcohol limit could well be lower than in the UK and in some countries there is zero tolerance for drink driving
  5. Do not use your mobile phone whilst driving
  6. Do not overload your vehicle and ensure you can see out of the back window
  7. If you’re involved in an accident, contact your insurer immediately and take photographs of damage to your vehicle

Radar Detectors & Satellite Navigation Systems With Speed Camera Locations

  1. The use or possession of devices to detect police radar is illegal in most European countries. Penalties can include fine, driving ban, and even imprisonment.
  2. Some countries now also prohibit the use of GPS based navigation systems which have maps indicating the location of fixed speed cameras meaning that you must deactivate the ‘fixed speed camera PoI (Points of Interest)’ function.

Driving your own car

You should have a GB sticker clearly visible on the back of your car if your number plate doesn’t include this information.  You’ll also need headlamp converters if you’re driving on the right-hand side of the road.

Hiring A Vehicle

  1. Hire from a reputable company – the cheapest deal may not always be the best
  2. Insurance cover is often limited to the legal minimum of the country or state you hire in. You could be held personally responsible for any claim for injury or damage over this limit.
  3. Ask your tour operator or insurer if they can provide top-up insurance to increase your cover. This may be cheaper than buying it abroad.

Your Documents

You may be asked to produce your documents at any time. To avoid a police fine and/or confiscation of your vehicle, be sure that you’re documents are in order and readily available for inspection.

Documents You Should Take With You

  1. A valid full driving licence (not provisional), with paper counterpart if you have a photocard licence
  2. An International Driving Permit when necessary
  3. The original vehicle registration document
  4. Your motor insurance certificate
  5. Your passport
  6. You may need a visa for certain countries too.

It is your responsibility to ensure that you have all documentation needed to comply with the requirements of immigration, customs, health and other relevant regulations.

Borrowed, Hired or Leased

Taking a rental, borrowed, or leased vehicle abroad is simple and straightforward provided that a few simple rules are remembered and that you have the right documentation.

If you plan to take your rental or leased vehicle abroad, you must inform the rental or leasing company. You need to ensure that you have permission from the company and have all the necessary documentation, in order to avoid possible vehicle seizure and fines. That includes the essential Vehicle on Hire Certificate obtainable from your rental company. Without it, and following an incident, your vehicle could be impounded by police or other authorities until ownership is clearly established.

Specific requirements vary from country to country and are subject to change over time, but in all EU countries you will need:

  1. Motoring breakdown cover
  2. A letter of authorisation from the registered keeper.
  3. A copy of the  vehicle registration document (log book) or VE103B certificate (Vehicle on Hire certificate)
  4. International motor insurance
  5. Full driving licence (both parts to be carried at all times)
  6. Passport

Your rental or leasing company should be able to help provide you with a VE103B certificate, motor breakdown cover and international motor insurance. The VE103B certificate is available from BVRLA/All fleet services on 01452 887686 and is the only legal alternative to the vehicle registration document.

It is your responsibility, as the driver, to ensure that you and your vehicle carry everything you need

Your Passengers And You

Breakdown Cover

 Make sure that you have adequate cover. AA European Breakdown Cover provides cover for many European countries and RAC do the same.

Emergency Contact

112 is a European emergency call number you can dial in the 27 Member States of the European Union in case of accident, assault or in any other distress situation.

Car Crime

 Never leave handbags and other attractive items in obvious view even when you are in the car, and never leave anything in an unattended car.

Drinking And Driving

There is only one safe rule – if you drink, don’t drive. Laws are strict and the penalties are severe.

Insurance

Contact your insurer for advice at least a month before taking a vehicle overseas. Ensure that you’re adequately covered and have the necessary documents to prove it.

Medical Treatment

Generally you can get urgent medical treatment at reduced cost, from the health-care schemes of those countries with which the UK has health-care arrangements. You’ll find details in the Department of Health booklet ‘Health Advice for Travellers’, available from any main post office. Don’t rely exclusively on these arrangements, as the cover provided under the respective national schemes is not always comprehensive – and the cost of bringing a person back to the UK in the event of illness or death is never covered. Make sure you have adequate travel insurance.

112 is a European emergency call number you can dial in the 27 Member States of the European Union in case of accident, assault or in any other distress situation.

Credit Cards

Occasionally we hear reports of UK issued credit cards not being accepted at stores or petrol stations in other countries.

If you’re going to rely on a particular credit card whilst away we recommend checking with the card company to confirm that it can be used in the country you’re visiting. If possible use a second or even third card provider, again contacting them before you go on holiday to tell them when and where you are going.

Mobile Phones

The use of hand-held mobile phones while driving is prohibited in many countries as in the UK.

Spectacles

Make sure you take a spare pair of spectacles if you wear them – especially if you are the sole driver.

Think Right

It’s easy to forget to drive on the right, particularly after doing something familiar, such as leaving a petrol station, car park or returning from shopping.

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