Driving in Europe can be a very different experience than driving at home in the UK. Even if you are a proficient driver and feel comfortable navigating the roads close to home, your experience may leave you lacking for driving in Europe if you do not prepare carefully. Before you head to abroad to Europe for holiday, work, school, or other purposes, you should keep in mind some basic preparations that will allow you to be a legal and safe driver in any European country.
In the UK, you must be at least 17 years of age to obtain your license for driving a car. Along with being 17 years old, you also must pass a vision examination and provide sufficient proof of your identity to be provided with a license.
When you are in Europe, however, these qualifications may not apply if you want to drive legally. Some non-EU countries require that you be at least 18 years old and that you obtain an international driving permit. You can use your Great Britain or Northern Ireland license in EU countries, as well as Switzerland. However, countries outside of the EU typically will require that you first obtain the international driving permit before you arrive. To obtain this permit, you must pay the required fee, be 18 years of age or older, be a resident of Great Britain or Northern Ireland, and have passed your driving examination.
Familiarisation with European Driving Laws
Proper licensing is only aspect of becoming a legal driver in Europe. You must also familiarise yourself with the driving laws of the country or countries you plan to visit. The laws at home may be second nature to you, and you may not automatically what to expect in all sorts of traffic here. However, once you arrive in Europe, your expectations could be off-target entirely.
You can begin learning the driving laws in Europe by doing some basic research online. You can also get helpful information from travel or cover agencies. By having the basics in mind, you can better prepare yourself for driving abroad in Europe and avoiding circumstances that could put a damper on your enjoyment of travelling out of the country.
The cover you have for your car in the UK may be insufficient for driving in Europe. In fact, some countries may require that you acquire additional cover through a third-party insurer before being allowed to drive at all. Most countries expect you to have the minimum coverage allowable by law. It could help you, however, to purchase additional cover to safeguard you and your possessions in case of an accident, theft, or other unforeseen circumstances. This extra cover may cost a bit more. Yet, you may view it as a worthwhile investment to protect you against even greater financial loss in the event you become ill or injured while driving or you are involved in an accident.
Necessary Car Equipment
Before you head abroad to Europe, you would do well to invest in equipment you may need for your car. Preparing for circumstances like a flat tyre or a mechanical malfunction can save you time and money. It could also prevent you from being fined or otherwise punished by authorities in that country. Some of the gear in which you may invest may include a tyre jack and funnels in case you must top off your engine liquids. It could help you even more to have your car thoroughly serviced prior to leaving the UK.
These tips can help you make the most of your European excursion. Driving in European countries can differ greatly than driving in the UK.