If you’re planning on heading over to the continent, or further afield, there are a few things to bear in mind before driving abroad.
It might be a trip you have been planning for a while, or perhaps it’s on the cards once you’ve passed your theory test and mastered the practical skills required to get a licence.
If the latter is true, it’s really important to check if you need to have held your driving licence for a certain amount of time or be a certain age before taking to the roads in another country. If you plan to hire, some companies require you to have held your licence for a specific length of time or be at least 21 years old.
Here are five things to consider before driving abroad:
1) Know the licence requirements –The minimum age for driving a car in the UK is 17 but other countries have their own rules so it is important to check. Both the RAC and AA have information on their websites on the rules for different countries. You can use your UK driving licence to drive within the EU/EEA, but if you drive outside these countries you will need an International Driving Permit (IDP). You will also need to be over 18, be a British or Northern Ireland resident and have a full driving licence to apply for an IDP. You can buy an IDP for £5.50 from the Post Office, the AA or the RAC.
2) Get insured –You must make sure your insurance covers you outside the UK. Let your insurer know that you will be travelling overseas and check if your existing policy covers you. Providers can normally extend your cover for when you’re driving in the EU but this may only be third-party cover. Your insurer should also be able to issue you with a Green Card that proves you are insured abroad. This is a requirement for certain countries including Macedonia, Montenegro and Turkey.
3) Be aware of the local driving laws – Know what paperwork or documentation is required for you to carry by law. Also be aware of local speed limits, alcohol limits and other rules and regulations such as carrying children. The AA has a list of the compulsory documentation that is required in certain countries on its website.
4) Get breakdown cover –What would you do if you broke down in another country and struggled to find the local lingo to explain you had a flat tyre or the engine had overheated? Both the RAC and AA recommend getting breakdown cover that will cover you abroad which could also cover the cost of getting you and your vehicle back to the UK.
5) Stock up your in-car kit –Ensure you have all the correct equipment for driving abroad. Have a breakdown kit in your car, including a warning triangle and reflective jacket plus a first aid kit. In some countries it is a requirement for you to carry certain equipment. In France, for example, drivers are technically now required to carry a self-test breathalyser.
Plan your journey with care and have a great trip!