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Driving in Europe

 

Requirements, Country Guides and Checklists

While the idea of driving in Europe can be a more appealing prospect than using public transport in a country where you might not speak the language, you do need to make sure you familiarise yourself with the rules of the road and what you need to carry on board when driving in Europe. The information you will find here will give you what you need to know if you’re planning to drive a hire car or your own vehicle. By providing you with our comprehensive guides to driving in specific countries, we hope that you can learn about the rules and regulations for each country, using the driving in Europe checklists to ensure you have a safe and comfortable journey.

 

Before you drive in Europe

Don’t drive in Europe unprepared - read our advice on travel insurance, safety and driving conditions while away in Europe.

  • • Familiarise yourself with the driving laws of the country you are visiting – including local speed limits and which side of the road they drive on!
  • • You should be aware that provisional licences are a national document issued within the framework of driver training and do not entitle the holder to drive outside the territory of the issuing member state.
  • • Check with your insurance company that you’re fully covered to drive in Europe, including breakdown recovery and any medical expenses resulting from an accident.
  • • Check whether you need a Green Card for the country you’re visiting – this provides minimum insurance.
  • • Check whether you need an International Driving Permit.
  • • Service your vehicle before leaving the UK.
  • • Check you can comply with the vehicle requirements of the countries you’ll visit.
  • • Check your safety equipment, bulbs, jackets, warning triangles etc. Many are required in Europe by law.

 

Requirements for driving in Europe

The regulations of what you need to carry with you in your vehicle when you're driving in Europe can differ very much from the UK. One example is your proof of vehicle ownership (V5 log book). In the UK, you are advised not to carry this in your vehicle; however in many European countries if you don't then you could be subject to a fine.

We have detailed comprehensive driving information for each of the European countries covered by our European breakdown policies. Click on the country flags detailed alphabetically below to access our guides and checklists for driving in Europe.

 

Andorra Austria Belgium Bulgaria
Andorra Austria Belgium Bulgaria
       
Croatia Czech Republic Denmark Estonia
Croatia Czech Republic Denmark Estonia
       
Finland France Germany Gibraltar
Finland France Germany Gibraltar
       
Greece Hungary Iceland Italy
Greece Hungary Iceland Italy
       
Latvia Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg
Latvia Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg
       
Madeira Monaco Netherlands Norway
Madeira Monaco Netherlands Norway
       
Poland Portugal Ireland Romania
Poland Portugal Ireland Romania
       
San Marino Slovakia Slovenia Spain
San Marino Slovakia Slovenia Spain
       
Sweden Switzerland United Kingdom Vatican
Sweden Switzerland United Kingdom Vatican City

 

 

Key points for driving in Europe:


  • • Drive defensively and expect the unexpected – the local driving style may be different to that of the UK.
  • • Don’t drive when you’re tired and take regular breaks on long journeys.
  • • Always wear a seat belt and make sure other passengers do too.
  • • Don’t drink and drive – the alcohol limit may be lower than in the UK and in some countries there is zero tolerance for drink driving.
  • • Don't use your mobile whilst driving.
  • • Don’t overload your vehicle and ensure you can see out of the back window.
  • • If you’re involved in an accident, contact your European Breakdown Cover immediately and take photographs of damage to your vehicle.

 

Driving your own car

You should have a GB sticker clearly visible on the back of your car if your number plate doesn’t include this information. You’ll also need headlamp converters if you’re driving on the right-hand side of the road.

 

Motorcycles


  • • Make sure your travel insurance covers you before you decide to drive or be a passenger on a motorcycle - check the exclusions carefully. Our recent research shows that a quarter of young travellers admit to driving or being the passenger of a moped or quad bike without checking if their insurance covers them first!
  • • Always wear a helmet and protective clothing, whether you’re the driver or a passenger.
  • • There should never be more than two people on a motorbike.
  • • Never ride the bike when you have been drinking alcohol.

 

Breakdown Cover for Europe

When you know more about driving in the country you plan to visit, you’ll need to find the right European Breakdown Cover for your vehicle. Breaking down in a foreign country can be a stressful experience, so it’s great peace of mind to know that there’s someone you can call and speak to in your native tongue should the worse happen. We offer great value policies for Single Trip European Breakdown Cover and Annual Multi Trip Breakdown Cover, if you plan to take regular journeys.

 

Countries covered by our European breakdown policies

Our European breakdown cover policy provides comprehensive cover throughout Europe. Territorial Limits are defined in the policy wording as Mainland Europe excluding the United Kingdom other than during the direct journeys between your home and your international departure point.

Mainland Europe is defined as Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canary Isles, CroatiaCzech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, MadeiraMonaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of IrelandRomania, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom and Vatican City.