Driving Abroad for the first time can be a daunting experience as there are many different rules and regulations to the UK as well as driving on the opposite side of the road. If you are driving your own car, although you are already familiar with it, you will need to adapt to being on the other side of the road and get familiar with the different rules of the road. To build up your confidence in a hire car and familiarise yourself with the car and controls, spend some time driving around a quiet area. Take your time to get used to the car! If possible, try not to plan long drives for your first time behind the wheel abroad, instead drive for shorter distances until you feel confident enough to take on longer trips.
Driving on the Right
It can take some time to get used to driving on the right, here are some tips to get to grips with it quickly:
- The Road signs should be facing you at all times.
- Keep a greater distance between you and the car in front than you normally would, giving you the time to react if need be.
- On Roundabouts, give way to the left and drive around it anti-clockwise.
- On Motorways and dual carriageways, the overtaking lane will be on your left hand side.
- Be extra vigilant when overtaking as you may find you can't see the traffic around you properly. Wait for a clear stretch of dual carriageway before overtaking.
- When driving down a narrow lane, pull over to the right to allow oncoming vehicles to pass.
Laws and Regulations
Driving laws differ across Europe, here are some of the European laws you should know before you go:
- You must carry your driving licence, vehicle registration documents and car Insurance details
- In France, you must carry a breathalyser at all times
- In many European Countries you must carry an essential kit at all times such as reflective jacket, first Aid Kit etc.
- Some countries allow you to turn right on a red signal - there will be a sign or flashing light if allowed.
- In Poland, Bulgaria and Serbia, you need to have your headlights on at all times.
- Slovakia, Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania all have a zero tolerance for drink driving.
- In Romania, it is illegal to drive a dirty car.
- If driving your own vehicle, you must have a GB sticker clearly visible on the back of your car if your number plate doesn't include this.
- In France, a single white line is equivalent to a double white line in the UK and means do not overtake.
- You must have a spare pair of glasses if needed for driving.
- Some Italian Cities don't allow you to drive through them and they require a permit called a ZTL.
There are also many more rules and regulations that aren't listed above, so ensure you do your research before you go!