Are you preparing for a holiday abroad this summer? Sharon Parsons of Coodes Solicitors’ Personal Injury and Clinical Negligence team shares her tips for driving in Europe.
If you going on holiday to Europe this year, it is advisable to know some of the regulations and what you legally need to carry in your car.
If you get stopped, particularly in France, you may be asked for photocopies of key documents. So, if you are taking your own vehicle to Europe it is a good idea to carry the original and two copies of:
In most European countries you will need headlight beam adjusters and in most countries dipped headlights are compulsory in tunnels. In France you also need to carry:
Keep some loose change – many European countries operate toll roads (France, Germany and Spain especially) so make sure you have plenty of change. Some toll roads have automated booths and credit cards and prepaid currency cards do not always work.
In France it is illegal to use sat navs that indicate where speed cameras are located. You could be fined up to €1,500 for driving with a satnav or GPS system with this feature. The AA has some useful information on this here.
Be aware that in most European countries there is a lower drink-drive limit than in the UK. In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, it is 80mg per 100ml blood. However, in most European countries, as well as in Scotland, it is 50mg per 100ml blood – almost half! Clearly, not drinking alcohol at all before you drive is the safest policy.
Make sure you have a pen and paper to hand so you can take down details if you are unfortunately involved in an accident. If the accident involves a foreign car and caravan or a lorry and trailer make sure you check the licence plate on both parts of the vehicle. In some countries the car and caravan or lorry and trailer have different plates. It has been known for foreign vehicles to get away with insurance claims because only one licence plate has been taken. So check both ends of the vehicle and also take photographs of the damage and of the road conditions.
Spending just a bit of time familiarising yourself with rules and regulations and ensuring you are carrying everything you need to will help you avoid problems when you are on holiday. It is not as much fun as researching the best beaches or planning which restaurants you will visit, but it should help you feel more confident about driving abroad. Safe travelling this summer.
The RAC has detailed advice on driving in Europe here.
If you have been involved in an accident while abroad, please contact Sharon Parsons in the Personal Injury and Clinical Negligence team at Coodes Solicitors on 01326 213033 or firstname.lastname@example.org