Driving in Europe: Checklist & Rules

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Like many countries and states around
the world, driving in Europe comes with its own requirements. We’re here to
help you plan your trip with this essential checklist, covering the rules
you’ll need to follow when on European roads.

If your vehicle is ready for a tune-up
before heading abroad, take a look through our extensive range of car
parts
.

What You’ll Need

Documents

Before setting off for the continent,
make sure you have the following:

  • Full
    and in-date driving license
  • Valid
    passport
  • Vehicle
    insurance document
  • Travel
    insurance document
  • V5C
    log book
  • European
    Breakdown Cover documents
  • UK
    sticker
  • Up-to-date
    MOT and vehicle tax
  • Crit’Air
    sticker (France only)

If you have a paper driving license, or
one that was issued in Jersey, Gibraltar, Guernsey or the Isle of Man, you’ll
also need an IDP (International Driving Permit).

You must be at least 18 years old to
apply for an IDP.

Equipment

The following equipment should also be
taken with you when driving in Europe:

  • Reflective
    jackets
  • Warning
    triangles
  • First
    aid kit (mandatory in France, Germany and Austria)
  • Safety
    helmets (mandatory for motorcycle drivers)
  • Headlight
    beam deflectors (mandatory in countries when driving on the right e.g., France)
  • Breathalyser

UK Stickers

Some license plates have ‘UK’ and a
Union Jack flag on them; if your license plate has these, you won’t need a UK
sticker.

If not, you will need to display a UK
sticker. This is also the case if your license plate has a European Union flag
on it, the national flag of England, Scotland or Wales, or a ‘GB’ marker

The sticker should not go on the rear
license plate itself; place it anywhere else on the rear of your vehicle.

Vignettes

Some countries, such as Austria,
Bulgaria, Hungary and Switzerland, will require a vignette sticker to be
visible on the windshield. This enables you to drive on motorways and autobahns
for 7-10 days.

Impact of Brexit on Driving in Europe

Brexit resulted in the following
changes:

  • If
    you have a paper license, you’ll need an International Driving Permit
  • You’ll
    no longer need a Green Insurance Card when driving in the EU. You might need
    one for driving in Albania, Azerbaijan, Moldova, Türkiye or Ukraine
  • A
    UK sticker is required for certain vehicles; see our UK Stickers section for
    more information
  • If
    you’re travelling with a pet, you’ll need to own an Animal Health Certificate.
    They’ll also need to be microchipped and vaccinated

Tips For Driving in Europe

Here are some additional things to
consider before you start driving on the continent:

  1. Always check your breakdown cover. Make sure
    it covers you for driving in European countries
  2. Check
    your passport is valid and you give enough time for renewal if needed
  3. Consider
    photocopying any important documents, so you have spares on hand
  4. See
    if you need any specific vaccines before travelling
  5. Make
    a note of where your nearest embassy is
  6. Test
    your vehicle and make sure it’s in good working order
  7. Check
    what side of the road you’ll need to drive on
  8. Keep
    some spare parts and repair kits on you e.g., a tyre

With all of this information in your
pocket, you’re ready to head out on your European road journey. For tips on
maintaining your car ahead of travelling, check out our expert
maintenance guide.

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