Going on a driving holiday can be really rewarding. Taking to the open road means you can go where you please and stay wherever takes your fancy. A driving holiday lets you see so many more places compared to a regular package trip. However, driving abroad does require some preparation. Not only do many countries drive on the right hand side, but also you need to be aware of different laws and driving restrictions.
Being a member of the EU, means anybody with a full UK driving licence can legally drive in any other EU country. Furthermore, nearly all insurance policies that cover you to drive at home will also permit you to drive in Europe, so you don’t have to worry about extra cover. However, most breakdown services won’t help you outside the UK, so it is worthwhile ensuring you get European cover. BreakdownDirect.co.uk specialise in European car breakdown cover, so if the worst does happen, at least you won’t be left stranded.
Preparing your car
The main difference to driving in Europe compared to the UK is that nearly all countries drive on the right. Of course, nobody is suggesting you alter your car to be left hand drive, but you do need to make some minor alterations. Cars sold in the UK are designed for driving on the left. This means that the headlights are designed to illuminate road signs on that side of the road, which in Europe could lead to you dazzling other drivers coming the other way. Simple headlight conversion kits can be bought to alter the beam, and are legally required for all UK cars that are driven in Europe.
In addition, if your number plate doesn’t have an EU symbol on it, you’ll need a sticker describing the origin of the vehicle i.e. “GB”. In many countries in the EU, drivers are also required by law to carry such things as spare bulbs, hi-visibility jackets, and even breath-test kits in the boot of the car. It is, therefore, worth ensuring you check the laws in the different countries you intend to travel in and buy the necessary equipment.
Driving outside the EU
If you intend to drive in a country outside of the EU, such as the United States, things are a little different. In some countries, including America, your EU driving licence will be valid for six months, which means you are free to drive. However, in other countries, you may have to apply for an International Driving Permit. These are becoming less common these days, but some countries still require one. However, they are easy to obtain and are available from most motoring organisations or the post office for a small fee.
If you hire a car abroad, you will automatically be insured. However, if take your own car to a country outside the EU, you will have to make sure you have insurance that covers you for that particular country. Contact your insurance provider, who should be able to arrange the relevant policy.