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How to keep on the right side of the law driving in Europe

Written by: Emma Lunn
Holidaymakers escaping the British weather should read up on the rules of the road before taking their car to Europe.

With staycations at risk of being ruined by rain, motorists might be planning to snap up last minute bargains and escape the wet weather for sunnier climes.

Taking their car abroad gives motorists the freedom to explore uncharted territory and set their own schedule. However, even the most experienced of drivers may screech to a halt trying to navigate the dos and don’ts of cruising on the continent.

Halifax Car Insurance has put together the following tips to help holidaymakers stay safe behind the wheel this summer:

  • Licence to drive: Remember your driving licence and make sure your GB sticker is clearly visible on the back of your car if your number plate doesn’t already include it.
  • Burning rubber: With heatwaves sweeping across much of Europe this summer, make sure you’re prepared to travel in the heat. Pack enough drinking water and avoid travelling during rush hour to avoid getting stuck in traffic jams. Also check your tyre pressure, as high temperatures and under-inflation can increase the risk of punctures.
  • All aboard: Many European countries require drivers by law to carry a first aid kit, fire extinguisher, warning triangle, reflective jacket, headlamp beam reflectors and spare bulbs. Check reliable sources like government websites for the most up-to-date information.
  • On the continent: Drivers heading to France need to carry a personal breathalyser kit with two disposable testing units and a special child restraint for children under the age of 10 to sit in the front seat. Drivers travelling to Paris, Lyon and Grenoble are required by law to display a ‘clean air’ sticker on their car windscreen to identify its emissions levels.
  • Insurance needs: Make sure you have adequate breakdown cover and motor insurance for driving abroad. If you’re involved in an accident, contact your insurer immediately and take plenty of pictures of damage caused to your vehicle.

Paul Birkhead, head of Halifax Motor Insurance, said: “There’s still time to make a speedy getaway this summer by planning a road trip to the continent. Although summer holidays should be about rest and relaxation, driving can be stressful at the best of times – particularly when in a foreign country.

“Planning properly, reading up on local laws and having the right insurance in place will help motorists to follow the sun in confidence and enjoy a late summer break behind the wheel.”


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