Top Tips For Driving Abroad this Summer
It’s summertime and that means one thing: a road trip. There’s nothing like taking your car abroad because it’s freeing, flexible and cheap. Once you disembark the ferry in France, Holland or Belgium, you’re on the continent and ready to roll. Of course, driving in Europe, even though we are still technically Europeans, is a lot different than in the UK. As a result, it’s easy to get caught out and end up in a tight spot with only a police officer’s broken English and stern gaze for company.
As always, your best bet is to do some thorough research and be prepared like a good Boy Scout. If this sounds like too much hassle, don’t worry because we’ve got you covered. Below is a selection of our top tips for driving abroad this summer that will keep you on the right tracks.
Only the Republic of Ireland, Cyprus, and Malta follow the British’s lead and drive on the left-hand side of the road. Of course, you are well aware of this because it isn’t a big secret, yet it’s incredible how many people forget. No, not when driving in general traffic but when coming up to a roundabout. The urge to bear left in a left-hand drive car is strong and even the most experienced drivers abroad can come unstuck. Slow down, get in gear, and follow the flow.
Stockpile The Shrapnel
Tolls are few and far between in Britain. There’s the one on the M6 and the rest are probably a distant memory. Europe doesn’t feel the same way and you might have to pay for a toll road at a moment’s notice. With many of them unable to accept card payments, the only option is to use cash. Considering our affinity with cashless payments, it’s a good idea to save up small bits of change in case of a toll-related emergency. The good thing about driving abroad this summer is that the currency isn’t going to change any time soon!
Watch Out For Random Rules
Obvious laws, like wearing a seatbelt and not using a mobile phone, are easy to follow because they’re universal. However, certain countries have quirks that you need to follow too. Take Italy, for example. Cars that aren’t parked in the direction of the flow of traffic are in breach of the law and subject to penalties. Spain, on the other hand, takes flip flops seriously, which means you can’t drive while wearing them. The Swiss like it if you have an extra pair of glasses as a backup if you have a prescription. They might sound funny but they can land you in hot water.
When will the pain ever end? The answer is not any time soon even with the October deadline on the horizon. Anybody driving abroad this summer has to take British and Euro number plates into account or you risk getting pulled over by the police. At the minute, whether it happens or not or we get a deal, the official advice is to use a GB sticker. The badge clearly indicates you’re a British driver and should appease the authorities. On the topic of Brexit, you might need an International Driving Licence after the October 31st so be sure to check the rules beforehand.
Have A Break, Have A Kit-Kat
Okay, you don’t need to eat a Kit-Kat if you don’t want but you should pull over and take a rest. Why? It’s because the stress and hassle associated with driving abroad this summer will chip away at your concentration levels. Having to focus on driving on the right-hand side of the road and read foreign road signs is enough to make anyone tired. The result is a silly mistake which might lead to an accident. Don’t take the risk; turn off at a service station and recharge your batteries.
It’s a cliché but Europeans have a different style of driving, namely a more aggressive one. Motorists on the continent might change lanes without indicating or accelerate into a small gap and you need to be ready. By driving defensively, it gives you the means to react quickly and, therefore, avoid unnecessary accidents. Whether it’s your fault or not, you don’t want to have to speak to the police and contact your insurer. Talk about a way to ruin a holiday!
Driving abroad this summer should be tonnes of fun because there’s nothing like hitting the open road. Still, please take caution and expect the unexpected.