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Driving Abroad

Driving in the mountains

There's nothing quite like the freedom of having your own transport. According to a recent survey, though, more than half of UK car owners find driving in another country stressful - not only that, of the sixty percent who admitted to jitters, over a quarter of them said they were too worried to even attempt it. Here at LHD Car Supermarket, we feel that driving abroad should be nice and simple. So we've put together some helpful advice to bear in mind.

Documents

In terms of preparation, there are a few necessary documents:

  • Driving license (paper and plastic)
  • GB sticker on the back of your car is an absolute must, and it has to be clear and visible.
  • Passport
  • LPG cars - make sure you have the right type of pump adaptor.
  • Car insurance certificate and a V5 vehicle registration document. It's a good idea to make copies of your important documents and keep them in a separate safe place, just in case. Make sure your insurance covers you for international driving, or an accident could be very expensive.
  • A standard British driver's licence will work in the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands. Norway. Poland. Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden. Outside of these areas, you'll have to apply for an International Drivers Permit, which you can obtain from the post office.

Left hand drive steering wheel and dashboard

Driving on the right

Driving on a different side of the road is where most people's anxiety comes from. It may feel a bit strange driving on the 'wrong' side of the road if you're not used to it, so it's not surprising if some people feel a little nervous. Just remember:

  • A left hand turn will take you across a lane of traffic.
  • Roundabouts are anticlockwise, and you give way to the left.
  • Change gear and hand brake with your right hand.
  • Road markings are in a different position to you, because you're sitting on the other side of the car.
  • Overtake on the right.
  • The pedals are in the same order you know; clutch, brake and go.
  • The hardest part about driving on the right is remembering. After a long, hot day, it's surprisingly easy to absent-mindedly set off down the wrong lane. Tie something round your right wrist, or put a little note on the steering wheel. Alternatively, don't remember until the screaming starts. Seriously though, most people have no problem driving on the right once they get used to it. It's really just a matter of being careful and letting yourself be confident.

Click here for a comprehensive list of countries and which side they drive on.

One last thing

A high visibility vest first aid kit and warning triangle are a must when driving in Europe. If its winter season, winter tyres are also a legal requirement.

Remember that each different country is going to have its own slightly different laws, so it's important to check what they are. For example, in some countries you'll need to carry a first aid kit, spare lamp bulbs, or even a self-breathalyser kit. In Bulgaria, it's illegal not to have a fire extinguisher (you should really have one anyway), and in Spain, it's illegal to drive wearing flip-flops. Strange driving laws from around the world.

We hope that makes you feel more at ease with driving abroad. And remember, wherever you go, you can't go wrong with a good travel guide.