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If you’re planning to go abroad with your car, it’s well worth making sure you’re fully prepared for every eventuality, so why not save yourself some time and stress and read Trusted Dealers’ top tips below.
Always check what compulsory in-car equipment you will need in the country you are driving to. For example, in July 2012, it became compulsory for all cars on French roads to carry a breathalyser to enable motorists to check they are under the French limit of 50mg per 100ml of blood – this is 30mg lower than in the UK. Motorists in France are also legally required to carry a warning triangle and a fluorescent vest.
Check the driving laws
Make sure you are familiar with the driving laws for the country you will be driving in. This doesn’t just mean checking which side of the road to drive on, you should also look at the speed limits, what paper or documentation is required by law, alcohol limits and other important rules and regulations.
Check your car insurance
Always check with your car insurance company that you are fully covered to drive abroad. If you do not have overseas cover and you are involved in an accident, you might only be entitled to minimum legal cover in the EU, in which case you can pay an extra premium to extend your insurance cover or the duration of your time abroad if required. If you have breakdown cover do not assume this will extend abroad – you may need to increase your existing cover or take out a standalone European Breakdown cover to make sure you are fully covered.
Have you got a European Health Insurance (EHIC)?
Have you got an EHIC card? This will entitle you to reduced or free state healthcare if you fall ill or are injured whilst travelling abroad. It is not a substitution for a travel insurance policy but it could prevent you from having to use your policy for medical purposes, particularly if your excess is high. For further information visit www.nhs.co.uk.
Create a travel pack
Make sure you have all the information you will need to drive abroad in one folder, to include where to go for help should you get into any difficulties on the road. In addition to your passport, driving licence and driving licence counterpart you may also need a vehicle registration document (V5), a motor insurance certificate, an International Driving Permit (if required or advised), your breakdown policy and contact numbers, travel insurance documents and any emergency helpline numbers.
Prepare your car
Make sure you’ve fully prepared your car before a trip abroad, for example, if its due a service, get this booked in before you go. You can also carry out some simple checks yourself to ensure your car is in good, roadworthy condition, for example checking for tyre pressures and topping up your oil. These regular checks are vital to keep your car on the road whether you are at home or abroad.
Vehicle identity reminder
Some countries require the appropriate country identification numbers to be displayed on your vehicle, for example the GB sticker needs to be displayed if you’re travelling from the UK. Failure to do this could result in an on-the-spot fine, however, if your number plate includes the GB Euro symbol, you won’t need an additional sticker within the EU.
Carry a breakdown kit
Always make sure that wherever you travel you have an in-car tool kit to cover emergencies. Things to add to your kit include a fire extinguisher, first-aid kit, torch, blanket, warning triangle and reflective jacket, a jack and wheel removal tools in case of a puncture.