Driving Abroad

To take your own car
 abroad, you need to hold a full driving licence and may have to have an International Driving Permit for the country or countries you plan to visit.

 

You will also need to take:

  • Motor insurance certificate
  • Vehicle registration documents
  • Passport.

 

 You will also need to:

  • Get in touch with your insurance company at least a month before you leave to make sure you're covered
  • Make sure your car is in good condition before you leave
  • Consider taking out European breakdown cover
  • Adjust your headlights as you'll be driving on the right hand side of the road. If you don't adjust them, you'll dazzle other drivers and you could be fined
  • Find out what you need to carry in the countries you are visiting. Items such as a reflective triangle, spare bulbs or a first aid kit may be required by law - see links below for details
  • Don't overload your car
  • Put a GB sticker on your car or you could receive an on-the-spot fine. If you have a Euro-symbol on your number plate (BS AU 145d standard) you don't need a sticker when driving in Europe. But outside the EU, and that includes Switzerland, you need a GB sticker as well
  • Left or right? In most European countries, except Ireland, Cyprus and Malta, you drive on the right
  • If you are planning to hire a car abroad you must be over 21 and have held a valid driving licence for over a year.

 

If you are going to be driving abroad it's important you find out in advance what rules and laws apply in the countries you plan to visit. For example:

  • In Austria, all vehicles using motorways and expressways must display a motorway tax sticker which you can get at petrol stations
  • In Belarus, it's against the law to drive a dirty car
  • In Croatia and many other countries, it's forbidden to carry petrol in a can in your vehicle when driving
  • In Cyprus, you can't use your horn between 10pm and 6am and never near any hospitals
  • In Finland, you must use dipped headlights during the day
  • In Greece, police can take away your number plate for parking illegally
  • In Macedonia, it's illegal for a passenger who has had too much to drink to travel in the front passenger seat of the car
  • In Russia, you're advised to avoid driving at night between towns. If you've held a driving licence for less than two years you must not go faster than 70km/h (43mph)
  • In Slovakia, you can't have any alcohol in your blood when driving. Drink driving is strictly forbidden, and in Romania you might go to prison.

 

You can find out about driving laws in each country in Europe on the AA or RAC websites.