Driving Abroad

Helpful tips and advice on driving in a foreign country

When planning on driving abroad you should ensure that you have done everything you can to familiarise yourself with the driving rules and regulations within the country you are visiting. By following the helpful advice shown below you could save yourself a lot of time, money and stress:

  • If you are planning on driving in the European Union (EU), the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland you can do so providing you have a valid full British driving licence. For a full list of EEA countries click here
  • If you are planning on driving in a country outside of the EU/EAA you may need an International Driving Permit. To obtain an International Driving Permit from the Post Office click here
  • Make sure you familiarise yourself with the driving laws of the country you are visiting, including laws relating to speed, required documents, alcohol limits etc. The AA has compiled a country by country guide to road rules and regulations, to view this guide click here
  • Check your documents. Ensure your driving licence is valid. You should also carry your vehicle registration document (V5), motor insurance certificate, passport, travel insurance documents and international driving permit (if required). It is also helpful to ensure you are carrying a list of emergency contact numbers
  • Contact your insurance company and check that you are covered to drive abroad, and that your breakdown cover extends to incidents occurring in a foreign country
  • If you are planning on driving a hired or borrowed vehicle you will need a letter of authorisation from the registered keeper
  • Ensure you have your car serviced prior to your trip, that tyres have the correct pressure and legal tread depth (you will need to check the legal depth requirement of the country you are visiting), and that coolant levels are topped up
  • Vehicles must display the correct country identification letters (e.g. GB) by way of a sticker or euro-plates (number plate incorporating country identification letters). Certain countries outside the EU require a ‘sticker’ to be displayed even if euro-plates are fitted to the vehicle so it is best to always display a ‘sticker’
  • Adjust your headlights beam pattern for driving on the right-hand side of the road
  • Check what compulsory in-car equipment is required in the country you are visiting. For example many countries require drivers (including visitors) to carry reflective jackets, warning triangles or breathalysers. Click here for a country by country guide
  • The European emergency number is 112; this number can dialled anywhere in the EU.
  • Ensure you have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), This card will entitle you to reduced cost (or free) medical treatment in the majority of EU countries. To apply for a European Health Insurance Card click here
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