Are you planning to take your car across the Channel to France or elsewhere in Europe this summer?
If so, have a great time. Driving in Europe is generally much more fun than driving in the UK, as long as you are properly prepared.
Here’s a quick checklist of things to remember before you go:
- Fit headlight converters to your car or have your headlights adjusted by your dealer (check your car manual for advice)
- Check whether you need a GB sticker & buy a warning triangle (2 for Spain) and at least one yellow reflective vest
- Service your car if necessary and make sure your insurance is valid for European use – remember that you may only have 3rd party cover abroad unless you pay for extra cover – ask your insurer!
- Make sure your tyres are correctly inflated, check the oil and water and top up the windscreen wash
- Are your windscreen wipers in good condition? Replace them if they are worn or torn.
- Check all your lights and make sure you have a full set of spare bulbs – in many countries it’s a legal requirement
- Make sure you have suitable maps (paper or sat nav) for the countries you will be driving in
- If you need glasses to drive, take a spare set
Finally, check the country-specific driving requirements for the countries you are visiting – I recommend the AA’s website for this:
- Visit the AA’s European driving guide (highly recommended)
Different countries have all sorts of different rules – most of them are simple and cheap to obey but easy to get wrong if you don’t know about them. Also note that speed limits are usually slightly different but are normally clearly signed as you cross the border into each country.
Finally – remember to drive on the ‘wrong’ side of the road! It’s not too difficult, as long as you remember to think about it. Don’t rely on autopilot and you’ll be fine.
Above all, enjoy the experience. I love driving in Europe – the roads are usually quieter and often better and more scenic than the UK.