Travel Advice: Driving in Europe involves more than keeping to the right side

Regulations can vary from country to country, so be prepared and aware

Driving abroad means you need to comply with the regulations of that country.

Driving abroad means you need to comply with the regulations of that country.

 

Taking your car to Europe means making some preparations to ensure you comply with the regulations where you will be driving. Many rules and regulations have been standardised in Europe but not everything is the same.

First thing is to get all the documents you need together – vehicle registration document, motor insurance, travel insurance and European Health Insurance card. Check with your insurance company that your motor insurance extends to Europe, if not, you may have to pay an additional premium.

Your car will also require certain equipment, it varies from country to country, but most now require that you have a breakdown triangle, reflective jackets and a first aid kit. You can be fined for not having them.

If you will be driving in Paris, Lyon or Grenoble in France you will need a Crit’Air certificate or vignette to show your car’s emissions level. It can be obtained from certificat-air.gouv.fr/en/.

In Italy historic cities like Rome, Milan, Pisa and Florence have congestion zones called ZTL, limited zones, which you must pre-pay to enter. Fines are levied for not having permission. There is no one source for finding information, find details by Googling ZTL and the city.

Factor the cost of tolls into your trip, they can mount up. Major roads usually have tolls and you can pay them by cash or credit card. Watch the speed, many countries will go after you and a fine will follow you home if you have rented a car.

Shortly the EU directive on cross-border enforcement (CBE) for driving offences will come into being. It means that driving offences committed in the EU can be followed up by the exchange of information between countries. They include speeding, drink driving, no seat belts and jumping red lights. Be careful out there.

jscales@irishtimes.com

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