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Driving In Europe Tips and Laws

Car hire at your holiday destination or even driving directly to your holiday resort is a common occurrence. Driving while on holiday as opposed to other forms of getting around includes a number of key benefits from a greater ease when transporting families to budget efficiency and greater freedom to explore. If you are considering driving in Europe, you will do well to familiarize yourself with the latest driving regulations and tips.

Driving On the Right Side

Outside of the UK and in Europe, driving is done on the right hand lane, in complete contrast to the way in which you have been accustomed to. For the UK holidaymaker, this experience may seem stressful and even hazardous should old habits kick-in and you find yourself driving on the left side. Helpful tips include:

  • Practice Run - The location of the gearshift may require some getting used to as well as the location of other driving shifts. Before driving away into busy roads, consider a practice run at the parking lot or in a quite side street.
  • Drive Slower - Reduce your normal speed to allow for further breaking distance and error correction time. You may also consider following a slower moving vehicle up ahead, even if you feel you can go quicker. Make sure you keep a safe distance.
  • Place A Reminder - Visual reminders as to which side you are meant to drive on are incredibly effective. These can include wearing one glove on the right hand, placing a sticky note in the cabin and other visual aids provided they do not hinder your view of the road.

Child Safety

Similar to the UK, the EU has strict regulations when it comes to transport children in a moving vehicles. Infants (categorised under 1 years of age) must use a rearward facing child restraint. When the child is between 1 and 3 years of age they could use a rearward facing or forward facing child restraint. It is also important to keep in mind that in order to use a forward facing restraint or seat, the child should also weight over 9 kilograms. If you are considering car hire, you are recommended to bring the child seat with you, as it is also useful on flights and will help sooth the child due to familiar smell and shape of the seat. Children above 3 years of age should wear a child restraint till they reach the age of 12 years or height above 135cm.

Get a Green Card

The Green Card is one of the documents you should consider having if you plan to drive in a the EU along side your driving license and proof of ownership (useful to have). The Green Card is recognised throughout most of Europe and equals the national Motor Insurance Certificates of the countries you will be visiting. The Green Card does not stand for car insurance though. It simply shows that you have the minimum compulsory Third Party insurance cover, required by the law of the country you are driving in. If you are driving your own car, ask your insurance company for your green card. If renting, the hire company will furnish you with a local insurance certificate so the green card won't be needed.

Alcohol Levels

Driving under the influence of alcohol is against the law in the EU as it is in the UK. However, note that in some European countries the permitted level of alcohol in your blood may fall short of the UK threshold. For example, in France the drink-driving limit is 0.05% BAC, while in the UK it is 0.08% BAC. Furthermore, in France you are required by law to have at least two single use breathalyser kits in your vehicle at all times. Currently if you are unable to produce it when asked at the roadside, there is an 11 euro fine. Breathalysers are available to purchase in the UK as well as in France at local patrol stations.

Drive safely and enjoy your holiday. Written for euro visit guide by Affair Travel. Holiday villa company with properties in Europe from villas in Croatia to villas in France. Affair Travel is ABTA licensed and ATOL protected.