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10 tips for safe driving in Europe

International driving laws – Confused? Top 10 tips for Safe Driving in Europe

The British love to drive.

Millions of car trips to European countries are taken every year and fly/drive holidays are ever popular, sometimes even to far away and exotic destinations. If anything, car trips abroad are set to increase as they represents the ideal independent and highly personal travel experience most of us crave. Many of those car trips involve driving down a new and unfamiliar autoroute, autobahn or autostrada. Despite attempts to simplify European Union motorist laws across the member states, rules can still change rather markedly at some border crossings. Before you set out, you need to check what you legally need to carry in your car and what the conditions are where you’re planning to go. This has been made easier thanks to the interactive map/widget the Foreign Office has made available at fcowidget.com

Car Emergency Breakdown Tools; Car Safety Kits;

 10 tips for save driving in Europe 10 different EU road rules you might not know | source: license free image https://pixabay.com/static/uploads/photo/2015/11/17/21/46/navigation-1048294_960_720.jpg
 

10 tips for safe driving in Europe
10 different EU road rules you might not know

 

01 Snow Shovels - winter tyres and snow chains

Heading to snowy places? You must keep a snow shovel in the boot of your car in countries such as Croatia and Sweden. Also, winter tyres or snow chains are legally required in most northern, eastern and Alpine regions depending on road conditions or the month of travel.

Ideal kit: check our winter driving section

 Winter Driving Rules | image source: license free image https://pixabay.com/static/uploads/photo/2015/02/12/17/08/winter-633965_960_720.jpg

02 High Visibility Jackets

High Visibility Reflective jackets (adult vest) in case of a roadside breakdown are law in Austria, Belgium, France, Italy, Spain and many other countries. France insists that jackets are kept in the passenger compartment, not in the boot of the car.

Car Safety Kits; Car First Aid Kits; Car Fire Extinguishers;

 High Visibility Vest - 10 tips for save driving in Europe 10 different EU road rules you might not know | creative commons image

03 France: priority from the right

The French custom of ‘priorité à droite’ is notorious. Nowadays not all traffic joining a road from the right has priority but the practise is still common in some places, i.e. rural areas crossroads.

 Right of Way - France: 10 tips for save driving in Europe 10 different EU road rules you might not know | creative commons image

04 Headlights <ON>

 Keeping headlights on at all times is compulsory in all Scandinavian and many eastern European countries; even in summer daytime.

 Headlight ON driving rule | image source: license free image https://pixabay.com/static/uploads/photo/2015/03/26/10/20/cars-691144_960_720.jpg

05 Safe Alcholol limits - or none at all !

In England and Wales, the drink drive alcohol limit is quite generous for drivers, 80mg per 100ml of blood, compared to 50mg in most European countries and Scotland. In some places, i.e. Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia the legal limit is zero. In France you need to carry breathalizers (France Driving Kit).

 Drinking + Driving - 10 tips for save driving in Europe 10 different EU road rules you might not know | creative commons image

 06 No Dirt !

Driving a dirty car is illegal in Romania (except perhaps for rally cars but this is not clear). It is also one of a few countries where you should officially report any damage to the car before or at arrival to avoid legal problems when leaving.

 Dirty Car - 10 tips for save driving in Europe 10 different EU road rules you might not know | creative commons image

07 Speed Limits

A top speed limit of 130km/ h (80mph) is law for most European motorways but in Poland it is 140km/h (86 mph). Many German motorways have no legal limit but 130 km/h is recommended.

 Speed Limits - 10 tips for save driving in Europe 10 different EU road rules you might not know | creative commons image

08 No running out of Gas

 German autobahn users may be free to drive fast but running out of petrol on the motorway is considered an avoidable, illegal incident and fines can be heavy.

 Empty Tank - 10 tips for save driving in Europe 10 different EU road rules you might not know | creative commons image

09 'Cheating' not allowed - no pre-warn systems

Satnav devices that warn of upcoming speed cameras might be legal in the UK but are banned in many places, i.e. Germany, France and Cyprus.

 Speed Trap ; 10 tips for save driving in Europe 10 different EU road rules you might not know | creative commons image

10 Drive on the Right

Remember to drive on the right! It’s easy to forget your usual habit of driving on the left. The only other EU members to do so are Cyprus, Ireland and Malta.

 Drive on the RIGHT - 10 tips for save driving in Europe 10 different EU road rules you might not know | creative commons image

Have a safe trip and enjoy a great time!

 * this list is no substitute for checking the latest EU and international rules. Please check e.g. www.gov.uk and AA Touring Tips + advice before you drive abroad. /  EVAQ8.co.uk

 

For more info on travel and car safety, also see Which Car Fire Extinguisher? and How to make your Personal Emergency Plan.