Going away during the summer is something that many look forward to. Prevention is better than cure and if you are taking your own vehicle abroad it is a great idea to be prepared for the unexpected. This week’s tips give advice on driving abroad from IAM RoadSmart’s head of driving and riding standards, Richard Gladman.
Make sure you have the right insurance and breakdown cover. In an event of a breakdown you want to make sure you have international coverage and also know what numbers and companies you have to get in touch with.
Plan your journey. If you know you are going to be doing a few trips in it is better to know the road and not rely on sat-nav. Some sat-navs do not function internationally, and unless you have a lot of data it can be costly using your phone as a navigation system. In some countries sat-navs with speed camera information are illegal. How about going old school and investing in a new map to plan your journey out? If the technology lets you down at least you have a back up.
If possible do not go at it alone. It is better to have two drivers who can take turns to avoid fatigue. On a family trip children can appreciate a bit of attention; how about taking a turn in the back? Give yourself plenty of time and don’t set unrealistic deadlines to catch ferries or to arrive at your accommodation
Make sure you have the right documentation. We recommend taking your full driving licence, your insurance documents, both the car and travel documents, you vehicle registration certificate and lastly European Health Insurance Cards and passports, dependent on your destination.
Legal and equipment requirements vary from country to country. Check websites such as https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice andhttp://ec.europa.eu/transport/road_safety/going_abroad/index_en.htm
Don’t drink and drive or break local speed limits as fines can be issued on the spot in some countries and the exchange of information between police forces is now commonplace so your misdemeanours may follow you home
Check your car before you leave. If you are not up-to-date with your car servicing, we recommend going in for a full service to avoid any hiccups whilst travelling.
Driving abroad can be exciting, but it brings a new set of challenges that you must be prepared for. By ensuring that you get the basics right you can be much more relaxed and able to enjoy new sights and experiences safely.