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Preparing to Drive Abroad

Driving in foreign countries can be a daunting experience, as there will be different traffic laws to contend with compared to the UK. Make sure you are prepared for the challenges of driving before you get away with this helpful checklist from Dexel Tyre & Auto Centre.


Drive on the Right Side of the Road

You should bear in mind that a great deal of countries drive on the right hand side of the road, and this can be incredibly daunting if you have never done so before. Double check which side of the road the country you are visiting uses and make sure that you feel confident to drive accordingly.

Before you go – If you are planning to take your own car to a country that drives on the opposite side of the road, purchase headlight convertor stickers to avoid dazzling other road users with your lights at night.

When you are there – take great care when negotiating roundabouts and overtaking as these tasks can be difficult the other way around!

Prepare your Paperwork

Before driving abroad, it is important that you have all the necessary documentation in place. Make sure that you are legal to drive where you intend to and that you have the correct permits you need. If you are driving your own vehicle, make sure that you have with you all the documentation that you need.

Before you go – As well as all necessary driving paperwork you should ensure that you are insured to drive abroad. You can buy insurance when you are abroad, but it is far less stressful to check all the small print before you head off.

When you are there – Keep all of your documents and phone numbers for your insurance and breakdown cover providers with you whenever driving in case you are required to produce them.

Learn the Laws

Different countries will have different traffic laws in place and it is important that you abide by them! Fully research everything you need to know to keep yourself legal including what you are required to carry in your vehicle, whether you must display a ‘GB’ sticker on your car and any speed or parking limitations.

Before you go – Read up as much as you can! The AA and the Foreign Office websites both supply useful information about the road laws and regulations you need to abide by.

When you are there – Stick to all laws you have learnt and follow all signs that you see, even if other motorists are not. Observe all the rules, even if you think that they are unnecessary.

Check the Road Sign Symbols

Most road signs are fairly self-explanatory, but as they can vary between countries it is important that you understand the information they are conveying!

Before you go – Check whether speed is displayed in miles or kilometres and research the road signs that you may encounter.

When you are there – Obey all signs that you encounter and it might be a good idea to carry a phrase book in the situation that you need to translate a linguistic sign, such as parking information.

Map Out your Route

Whether you intend to stick to highways or only use the car to nip to the beach, you should always map your route out first. Make sure you have an idea of where you are going and carry a paper map with you. Whilst sat navs are useful, they are illegal to use whilst driving in some countries, so a paper map could prove to be a helpful back up.

Before you go – Purchase up-to-date maps of the areas in which you wish to travel and research whether or not tolls are in force. If they are, you should figure out how you will pay your tolls before you go.

When you are there – Double check your map before you set off on any journeys and remain calm if you do end up veering away from your route. Always have change handy, just in case you do find yourself on a toll road that you have not already paid to use.

Stay safe when driving abroad this year!

If you have any queries about getting your vehicle ready for a long journey, simply contact your local Dexel Tyre & Auto Centre where one of our specialists will be happy to provide more advice.