Things to Consider Before Driving Overseas
If you're planning on renting, borrowing, hiring or ever bringing your own car with you on your trip abroad you will need to be prepared. Driving on the wrong side of the road, breaking down, theft and not having the correct documents are all too common problems, which can be avoided by simply preparing both yourself and your car. Check out our guide to driving overseas for all the information you'll need to know!
Before You Leave
- Ensure you have enough power steering, brake fluid, oil and screen wash.
- Check that all bulbs, lights and the horn are working.
- Check your tyre pressures are correct. Think about whether you will need to add extra.
- Get your car serviced. This should be completed early to pick up any potential problems and therefore avoid any major breakdowns abroad.
- Does your car insurance cover you to drive abroad? Check your current insurance levels as surprisingly if you have UK comprehensive cover, this may equal to third party fire and theft abroad. You may be able to upgrade your cover for a small extra charge. Obtain a 'green card' or similar document which confirms that your policy has been extended to cover the third party liability requirements of the countries through which you are travelling.
- Do you have breakdown cover? If so, do they provide cover for call outs made abroad? Always check the small print and ensure you have the right cover for your trip.
Note: Leaded petrol is not usually available in Northern Europe. Consider purchasing anti-wear additives that can be added to the fuel.
Essential Documents to Bring
- Valid full driving license (not a provisional)
- Counterpart driving license
- Valid car insurance documents
- International driving permit - these are valid for a period of 12 months
- Travel insurance documents
Essential Things to Keep in the Car
- Local language phrasebook.
- Warning triangle.
- High visibility jacket (enough for the whole family).
- Breakdown contact details.
- Road maps.
- Emergency contact details including car breakdown company and travel insurance provider (including claims information).
Hiring, Borrowing or Renting?
If hiring, borrowing or renting a car abroad always make sure you:
- Obtain the correct paperwork.
- Read the small print!
- Complete a thorough all-over inspection of the car in front of the person you are renting it from. Make notes of any existing damage to the car, however minor, and take photographs as evidence. If you don't, you could be blamed and charged for something that wasn't your fault.
- Has the car got enough fuel? How much fuel is already in the car? If the car requires returning with a full tank, check where the nearest petrol station is.
- Does the car meets your needs? Has it got enough luggage space? Three doors or five?
- Where and when will you need to return the car? Is there a charge for being late?
- Ask whether the car has breakdown cover and what to do in an emergency.
Be aware each country has different road laws that will apply to both yourself and your vehicle. It is illegal in some countries to use a Sat Nav to detect fixed speed cameras, whereas others prohibit the use of them completely. Always remember to check the individual rules of your destination before you travel; however, here are some general rules that will apply whichever country you visit:
- Don't drink and drive.
- Avoid leaving handbags and valuable items in the car at any time.
- Never leave the car unlocked and unattended.
- Making phone calls while driving is against the law in many countries.
- Avoid overloading the car.
- Ensure you have clear visibility out of all mirrors and windows.
- Make sure you have enough money to pay for toll and motorway charges.
- Plan your route before you leave.
Driving abroad may seem confusing and daunting at first, especially if the country you're visiting drives on the opposite side of the road! But the above tips should help you feel a little bit more prepared before you begin your globetrotting adventure on the road!We hope you enjoyed this article and found it to be helpful. If you did, please use the social sharing buttons above to like and share it! Feel free to let us know if we missed anything out using our Facebook and Twitter pages!