The minefield of driving abroad

If you're a UK motorist heading off abroad it's key to do your homework on the driving laws of the country you intend to drive in

Just when you thought it was challenging enough driving on Britain’s roads, now holidaying motorists are being reminded to clue themselves up on European driving laws as the great British summer getaway is under way.

If you’re a UK motorist heading off abroad it’s key to do your homework on the driving laws of the country you intend to drive in. Driving overseas presents a totally different challenge to the roads at home, in terms of both etiquette and rules.

We’re here to help guide you through some of the quirkier local rules across the globe…

France
Travelling with a breathalyser and warning triangle in your vehicle is compulsory here.

If you’re using a sat nav, be sure to disable the speed camera-detecting part of it. Why? It’s illegal and can result in your car being impounded and your licence confiscated.

Spain
Drivers who usually wear glasses have to carry an extra pair of specs in their vehicle when behind the wheel.

Norway
Car headlights must be on at all times here. Also remember that zero-tolerance drink-drive rules dictate that you can’t even have a half-pint before getting behind the wheel.

Cyprus
Consumption of any drink or food is strictly prohibited when driving, so you’ll need to pull over if you feel dehydrated and need a drink of water.

Portugal
If you’re planning a cycling holiday in Portugal, don’t put bikes on the back of your car here – it’s illegal.

Finland
It’s compulsory to report any accident involving a large animal (elk, reindeer, etc) to local police.

Russia
Unclean cars are literally dirty words to Russian police. They can fine you or have your licence taken away if they deem your car to be too dirty.

Thailand
No matter how hot the day, it’s illegal to drive with your top off. If you do, you could face a hefty fine or even a prison term.

Japan
If you’re a passenger in a car driven by someone who’s had a drink, you could receive the same punishment as the drunk driver. Beware if it rains, as accidentally splashing a pedestrian is also illegal.

Denmark
The Scandinavian country scoops the prize for having perhaps the most bizarre localised driving custom of all. Each time before you start driving here you must first check underneath your car for sleeping children.

Don’t forget…

  • Several European nations now require drivers to carry headlamp converters, first aid kits and reflective jackets
  • You should check our terms for driving your insured car abroad
  • If you’re hiring a car, a DVLA-generated code has replaced the traditional paper licence

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