Driving in Europe.
Your Driving Licence in Europe
Despite what you read on the internet about buying an international Driving Licence in practice you will find a UK photo licence is sufficient. Every country in the EU accepts the standard UK driving Licence. However you need to check that your licence is fully valid and up to date before driving in Europe. ignore any advice on the internet about needing an “international driving permit” they are not legal.
Check our earlier page on ensuring your driving licences is legal. You should also acquire a special code to enable access to your online driving licence at DVLC. This may be essential if you have a car breakdown or it is stolen and you need to hire a car to complete the holiday.
There are some more travel tips you need to know before you even book your ferry or Eurotunnel trip.
In practice almost all car insurance policies (even if you bought it as fully comprehensive or third party fire and theft) becomes a third party only policy outside the UK. This means they pay if you damage another car but not your own. Doing a quick preliminary read of your own car policy may not make this fully clear to you. I would always recommend you make sure you speak direct to your car insurance company to give them full details of travel.
I would do this even if your policy says you have 15 or 30 days automatic Green Card cover. Check what that really means!
Ask the questions directly for example do you have full comprehensive cover when driving in Europe outside the UK? What happens if your car is stolen whilst abroad? If you don’t check this out you may find your car is missing one morning and you have no theft cover. (Even if you had bought your standard comprehensive or fire and theft policy cover it may not be valid outside the UK)
Most car breakdown policies will not be valid when you are driving outside the UK. Check with them direct. You may need to upgrade to a european policy or buy a special one off temporary cover policy. Whilst on the phone be sure you get a written list of what specific countries are covered. You may find yourself deciding on the spur of the moment to drive for a short day trip to a neighbouring country and find you are not covered.
Holiday Maintenance Service Check.
Book your car in for a full holiday maintenance car service check before you set off. You are likely to be doing a far higher mileage at potentially higher temperatures than normal. Make it clear to us that you are going away and we will schedule a full check. You do not want any breakdown to ruin that holiday do you.
Take all car manuals with you when driving in Europe. A small village mechanic may not be fully familiar with your model of car. Even if they don’t speak good English they should be able to follow the diagram charts.
you may also need to consider travel insurance in case of health problems but still take the appropriate health certificate to get free medical help in case of sickness or injury. Develop a list of all emergency telephone numbers you may need when driving in Europe. Your mobile phone customer service number. Your bank phone numbers etc. Relatives contact details etc. Check for medical cover. Who to call if you have a car breakdown. Make sure you have the international number as most 03 or 08 numbers do not work outside the UK.
Driving rules for each country you will visit.
Check the relevant driving in Europe regulations for each country you will be visiting. You will find them listed on both the AA and RAC website. It is better to know the local rules before you break them than find yourself being confronted by an angry police officer who speaks little English.
Published by Scott Cheyne of