Tips for Driving in Europe

When you arrange a holiday as a group or as a family, it can save you money if you decide to drive or rent a car when you get to your destination. Hotel transfers can be expensive outside of package holidays and, aside from this, it can be frustrating having to organise train or bus travel especially to areas you have never been before.

Many people choose to drive, especially in European countries, so once you have arranged your trip and your hire car excess insurance, if you are renting, take a look at the below tips to make your European driving experience a pleasant one.

Make sure you have all the legal requirements

This might seem obvious to some, but driving requirements do vary from country to country. Naturally, you should bring your passport, full driving licence – both the photograph and paper sections – and check that your insurance covers your journey. However, there are things in most countries that you might not be aware of, such as items you need to bring.

For example, in Italy and France you must bring the above by law, as well as a GB sticker on your car (if you don’t have an EU number plate), headlight converters, a warning triangle and reflective jacket. Also in France now you must have an approved breathalyser or face a £9 fine. Many shops sell kits containing many of the legal requirements, so be sure to buy these before you leave.

Don’t make assumptions based on British understandings

This means that quirks and understandings that take place in Britain are likely to not be the same in Europe. For example, Italian drivers are known to drive quickly and directly to their destination and will be less likely to let you on to the road in front of them.

If you see flashing headlights in Italy, it is safest to assume the driver is telling you he or she does not plan to stop, when in England they could be letting you go. In some countries, the sounding of a horn is a gesture for pedestrians to cross, while in the UK it is the first sign of road rage.

Update your SatNav

It is even more vital to know where you are going when you are driving on unfamiliar roads. If you have European maps on your SatNav, be sure to update them before you leave. If you don’t have a SatNav, hire one. It is bad enough being lost in Britain, but being abroad makes it that much more difficult.