- You must carry a self-test breathalyser in your car. It has to be unused, in date and show the French certification mark (NF).¹
- You must not carry any device in your car that’s able to detect speed cameras. If you’re planning to use a Sat Nav device, make sure you check it before you leave, so you can disable camera alerts if necessary.²
- There is a list of items you’re required by law to carry in your car when driving in Spain. If you’re missing any, you could get a big on-the-spot fine.³
Here’s the list:⁴
- 2 red warning triangles⁵
- Headlamp beam deflectors
- Spare tyre or tyre repair kit⁶
- Reflective jackets
- Any gadgets with a screen that could distract the driver (except Sat Navs) must be positioned somewhere where the driver cannot see them.
- There’s also a fine of €200 for using earpieces, headphones or headsets while driving,⁷ so make sure you don’t listen to music on headphones – even wireless ones, or use any kind of handsfree phone system with a headset.
Check out this handy video from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office on Driving Safely in Europe:
- Germany is particularly strict on drink driving for new drivers: the permitted blood alcohol level is 0% for any drivers that are under 21 or have held a licence for fewer than 2 years. The fine if you fail to comply? €250.⁸
- Using a roundabout in Germany? You shouldn’t indicate as you enter, but must use your indicators before leaving the roundabout.⁹
- If you are caught speeding between the hours of 10pm and 7am, the fine will be increased by a third.¹⁰
- You need to keep a warning triangle in the car.¹¹
- If you passed your test within the last 3 years, you must not exceed a speed limit of 55mph, or 62mph on motorways.¹²
- Driving in a built-up area? Look out for buses. They have right of way when pulling away from a stop.¹³
- Watch out for cyclists! There are around 18 million bikes in the Netherlands, which is more than the entire population.¹⁴
- This sign means you have priority:
- This means you don’t:
- It is compulsory for all drivers to use dipped headlights during the day. You could be fined if you don’t adhere to this.¹⁵
- You are required to carry antifreeze and a shovel in your car, and between 1 December and 31 March you must use winter tyres.¹⁶
Some general advice for driving abroad:
- If your number plate doesn’t include the GB sign, make sure you have a GB sticker on the back of your car that’s clearly visible.¹⁷
- Make sure your passport is valid; some countries require passports to be valid for a full 6 months from the date you travel and also require you to carry your passport with you when driving.¹⁸
- Get a free European Health Insurance Card before you travel; this gives you reduced-price or free access to state-provided healthcare service in all countries within the European Economic Area and Switzerland.
- Check your breakdown cover; at drive like a girl we provide three different levels of breakdown cover as add-ons to your policy: make sure you choose National Cover Plus Doorstep & European if you’re going to be driving in Europe.
- Get to know the kilometre speed limits and their equivalents in mph. Also watch out for local speed limits, which may be lower or higher than the UK versions.
Documents to bring with you¹⁹
- All UK insurance policies will automatically provide the minimum cover needed to drive within the EU – this is known as third party liability cover.
- A Green Card proves that you are eligible to drive within the EU. You do not need to have this with you but it may be worth taking so that you can easily prove you have the necessary cover if stopped by the police.
- Your Certificate of Motor Insurance may be sufficient for this (in place of a Green Card) so please check with your insurer.
- You may also want to take a European Accident Statement report form with you. This helps you and the third party record all the details of any accident you might have, even if you can’t speak the local language. You can download one of these in most European languages here.
Are you insured with drive like a girl? Your policy provides the minimum compulsory insurance for driving in the EU. Your Certificate of Motor Insurance serves as proof of this (you don’t need a Green Card) so please print it and take it with you if you’re driving within the EU.
  http://www.theaa.com/motoring_advice/overseas/driving-abroad-whats-new-2012.html
    http://www.rac.co.uk/travel/driving-abroad/countries/spain/
   http://www.theaa.com/motoring_advice/touring_tips/italy-san-marino.pdf
  http://www.theaa.com/motoring_advice/touring_tips/sweden.pdf