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Top Tips for Driving in Europe

Europe is a stunning place to visit. Popular with holiday makers and travellers from all over, the continent oozes history, culture and charm and has a landscape that varies from the flattest camping ground to the rockiest mountain ranges. Better still, it boasts its own trophy cabinet of cars from a range of big names. It’s no wonder then that Europe’s 10 million squared kilometres are home to some incredible driving opportunities. That said, when planning an excursion by road, it’s always important to know what you’re getting yourself into - and planning is key. The windy mountainous roads and tiny cobbled streets could be worlds away from what you’re used to, so here are five things to help make it an even more enjoyable, exciting and stress-free experience:

Get it right - One of the most important elements of driving anywhere is road positioning. The UK is part of the 35% of the global population where it has been accepted practice to drive on the left hand side. Europe, however, joins the United States, South America, Russia and the Middle East where right is right. Make sure you take your time when first adapting and remember the effect this rule has on road signs, emerging from junctions and roundabouts.

Choose your car wisely – Driving on the ‘other side of the road’ to normal brings with it, naturally, the need to switch sides on the car to aid road positioning and visibility. Whilst many people who take to foreign roads are happy to remain in their own car, it’s worth considering choosing a European vehicle to suit the mirrored positioning. Whichever side you choose, ensure you check the car’s vitals before setting off, like you would on any long journey. Tyre pressure, oil and water checks are essential parts of your trip.

Check and check again - When it comes to paperwork and driving abroad, you can never have too much. In order to avoid any problems whilst driving in Europe, ensure you have your full license, vehicle documents, breakdown cover details and insurance policy, and check they’re all up to date and valid for your trip. Contact your policy provider if you have any doubts as to how you’re covered, as it’ll keep worry at bay while you’re on holiday.

Do your homework – Unless you’ve done it a handful of times before, driving in Europe is likely to be a daunting experience. In order to make it as stress free as possible, make sure you know where you’re going, what the terrain is like and, most importantly, what the rules of the road are. It’s advised to avoid alcohol when driving (as drinking and driving is often an even more serious offence on the continent), and speeding is just as monitored as it is in the UK so watch that needle.

Follow your kit list – No, gently rolling through the German hills isn’t going to see you stranded in killer heat or at risk of bear attack, but it pays to prepare. Your ‘kit list’ shouldn’t just cover car sweets and spare socks either. Certain rules in Europe state you must carry particular things in your car. In order to avoid trouble with the law, remember your GB sticker, hazard triangle, first aid kit, high visibility jackets, tools to fix your bulbs if necessary and, if possible, a spare tyre.


published: 24/02/2015 09:02:28

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