Hints and Tips for Driving on the Continent this Summer

by Averil @ An Post Insurance | Jul 06, 2016

Taking your own vehicle affords a freedom you don't get when flying, but when driving in Europe, there are numerous rules and regulations, bye laws and procedures that differ from country to country. To help you have a trouble-free trip abroad with your car this summer, we've compiled this handy list of thing you should do and know before you set off on your travels. 

Work out your route – if you're planning to drive a long way to your destination or even to go on a driving holiday, work out your route in advance and make sure you have the relevant maps, or make sure that your SatNav has been updated with the correct maps.

Rules of the road – know the laws and regulations for each country you plan to travel to. In France, for example, drivers must carry a high–visibility vest in their vehicles. In Vienna, it's illegal to use your car horn while it’s against the law to run out of fuel on an autobahn in Germany. If you're heading to Spain or France you must carry a spare bulb kit by law. 

Let us know – Your Post Insurance policy automatically provides you with cover within the EU for up to 31 days. If further cover is required, please contact us prior to travelling on 1890 22 11 11 and we can arrange additional cover for you. Remember to always carry your insurance certificate with you. 

Road worthy – Make sure to have your car serviced and check before you head off, especially the wiper blades, indicator lights, brake lights, oil and water. If your car’s tyres are likely to be worn down to below 2mm before you get back, replace them before you leave. 

Bright lights – when driving through Europe vehicles from the Ireland must use headlamp converters by law, so not to dazzle oncoming drivers, as our headlamps are designed for driving on the left–hand side of the road. Fitting headlamp converters will reposition the angle of your beam, ensuring the safety of other road users and giving you the right visibility of the road ahead. Not making the adjustment to your headlight could result in a fine. Additionally in some countries it is compulsory to use dipped headlights at all times when driving during the day. Remember to remove the beam converters as soon as you return to Ireland.

Even the small things – it might not seem important but it is compulsory to have a Euro sticker number plate displayed on your vehicle when travelling on the continent.

Kind to the planet – Many cities across Europe now operate low emission zones, congestion charge schemes and other restricted access schemes. Many of these affect foreign–registered vehicles and some require registration before you travel. Visit www.urbanaccessregulations.eu to find out more.

Safety first – You can call 112 anywhere in the European Union in case of an accident, assault or any other distress situation. It is also worth while saving important and useful umbers such as the police, hospitals, breakdown assist, and your accommodation into your phone in advance of your travels. Also, you will need to bring warning triangles with you to alert other drivers to the fact you are stationary. This is required by law in most European countries.

Be insured – Whether you’re planning a family holiday, a city break or something more adventurous, it’s always a good idea to take out travel insurance. Post Insurance Travel Insurance can cover you against losses such as medical care or assistance, loss or theft of money or passport, cancellation or cutting your travels short. With a wide range of options, with Post Insurance Travel Insurance you can be sure you have the cover you need when you’re away from home.