Set aside all the Brexit woes and the storm of hot air that goes with it. Leave or remain, Europe, as a continent, is going nowhere and your British Tourist Pounds will be as welcome as they always have been because real life goes on. It seems many people are taking the ‘staycation’ route because of the uncertainty but there will still be some adventurous souls who will venture across the Channel for a Euro-holiday road trip.
Of course, being ‘abroad’, they do things rather differently on their highways. You think British traffic rules are tough? Wait and see what some European countries have come up with. The French traffic police in particular are noted for being intensively preoccupied with nicking motorists.
The rules of the road are not the same either, because in almost all countries of Europe they drive on the right. The only exceptions are here in the UK (in which case you won’t be abroad), Malta and Ireland (which isn’t continental Europe). Roundabouts can be a bit of a challenge as well since vehicles move in a counter-clockwise direction. Avoid staying in the centre lane of a three-lane highway and instead stay in the right and only pass a car when needed.
The Check List
The first thing to say is that as it is possible to drive through several European countries in just a few hours, it pays to organise an itinerary. Different strokes for different folks, so you’ll need to know what rules and requirements each country operates. In general though almost all require some or all of the following, so it’s easiest to tool up fully for the road trip.
• ID. Your passport.
• A valid driving licence. A supplementary driving document, like an International Driving Permit may be required post Brexit.
• Proof of insurance and MOT.
• A first aid kit
• A warning triangle
• One or more reflective jackets. Pack one for every occupant to be sure.
• A GB sticker. Watch this because we don’t yet know what Brexit will bring.
• If using your own car, the headlights will need to be realigned using a beam deflector.
• A self-breathalyser. Compulsory in France where they like to see two on board.
Additionally, more than 170 cities and towns across ten countries around Europe, including Germany, France and Italy, have areas where the highest polluting vehicles are regulated and monitored. You may end up paying a fee or registering your vehicle if you enter a low emission zone. France, for example, has introduced 'clean air' windscreen stickers as a legal requirement in some cities. These are known as Crit’Air vignettes and they identify a vehicle’s emissions levels. There may be restrictions.
It won’t hurt to pack spare parts like bulbs, a fire extinguisher, maps and up-to-date satellite navigation and, it goes without saying, do not drink and drive. At all.
Most of the items required are available from good motor factors and motoring organisations have plenty of up to date information. The final and most important item needed is of course a really good, reliable car so check out our great selection of vehicles to suit all purposes; they are all AA inspected and have been HPI-checked. Plan ahead for a safe Euro road trip.