Post-Brexit driving changes to look out for

Your guide to post-brexit motoring changes

With the endless coverage in the news these days, you’d be forgiven for suffering from Brexit fatigue and simply glazing over at the mere mention of the word.

But you shouldn’t, because what happens with Brexit could have some serious implications on all aspects of your life; not least if you spend a lot of time driving in Europe.

To help you get to grips with what to expect in a post-Brexit world, we’ve pulled together a rundown of some of the main changes that could come into play when Britain exits Europe.

Post-Brexit motoring changes

International Driving Permits (IDP)

An IDP is, in essence, a translated version of your existing driving licence.

It allows foreign officials to quickly and easily check your credentials. It only costs £5.50 to buy and you can apply for one at the Post Office.

To add a little bit of confusion, there are three different IDPs and you could be turned away at the border or face other enforcement action, such as a fine, if you don’t have the correct IDP.

So which IDP do you need? A 1926 IDP is for those travelling to just Lichtenstein in Europe, although it does cover you for driving in Mexico and Somalia too. The 1949 IDP is valid for 12 months and is required for Spain, Malta, Cyprus, and Ireland, while a 1968 IDP is needed for all other EU countries and is valid for three years.

For a full list of which IDP you’ll need for your travels, head to the Department of Transport’s website.

Good news for those of you who live in Northern Ireland but cross into Ireland regularly, as the UK government has said that an IDP won’t be necessary for you post-Brexit.

Green Cards

In addition to an IDP, drivers heading to Europe with their car will also need a European Green Card.

These will replace the European Certificates of Insurance that previously allowed UK drivers to travel under their existing policy.

Whilst there was previously a lot of talk about the Republic of Ireland (ROI) and Northern Ireland border, it seems that the ROI and the UK have struck a deal and residents of the ROI will not require a Green Card to travel across the border into Northern Ireland.

The same can’t be said if you live on the other side of the border, because no reciprocal deal has been made as yet, meaning those living in Northern Ireland will need to have a valid Green Card every time they travel into the ROI.

Fortunately, it’s not difficult to apply for a Green Card and it shouldn’t cost you anything. You just need to get in touch with your car insurance provider.

For all 1ST CENTRAL customers in need of a Green Card, just fill out this simple form and we’ll get yours in the post to you. We just ask that you give us at least three weeks’ notice before you head off on your travels.

For those of you who live in Northern Ireland, there’s a little bit of good news…we’ve decided to issue you annual Green Cards, so that any time you need to cross the border into the Republic of Ireland, you don’t need to worry about whether or not your Green Card is valid.

If you want to find out more about Green Cards, you’re in luck as we’ve pulled together the Green Card: Ultimate Guide, so check it out.

Low Emission Zone (LEZ) road use

Hundreds of towns and cities across Europe have established ‘Low Emission Zones’ which prevent the most polluting vehicles from entering certain areas.

Drivers are required to buy emissions stickers from local outlets before entering these areas, which can cost up to £10 each, so it’s best to check which ones you need before you start your journey.

Many countries, including France, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Germany and Spain all have their own unique sticker system, so it’s worth taking a look at the Green-Zones website well before driving in any of these countries.

With that in mind, regulations vary from country-to-country, and most offer exemptions for classic cars, which are those defined as being over 30 years old and registered in an EU or European Economic Area country.

It’s possible that this exemption could cease for British-registered classic cars after Brexit. If that’s the case, the only option for you is to plan a journey that avoids the LEZ areas.


Post-brexit motoring changes might mean you need to renew your passport sooner than you think

Another thing for you to worry about, and unfortunately might have to fork out for, is that if your passport has less than six months left on it, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to travel across Europe. Therefore, you might want to renew it ASAP.

In light of another new development, you might even need to apply for a visa to travel across the continent, which could cost around £50, although these costs could be waived if agreements are put in place as part of the deal. However, this is very much ‘to be determined’.

It’s also worth noting that if there’s a no deal, your EHIC cards will no longer be valid. Instead you’ll need to purchase travel insurance as you would if you were travelling to any other non-European country.

However, if there’s a deal, your EHIC card would be valid until the end of the transition period on 31st December 2020.

Republic of Ireland driving licences

Residents of the Republic of Ireland driving on UK licences won’t be able to continue using their licences if there’s a no deal.

The Irish Road Safety Authority (RSA) has said that UK licences held by those resident in the ROI will “not be recognised” after a no-deal Brexit.

Advice issued by the Republic’s driving licence authority is for motorists to exchange their permits ahead of the UK’s exit from the EU.

However, drivers from Northern Ireland who drive in the ROI won’t be impacted.

Other things to consider when driving in Europe

Road traffic accidents

If you’re planning to take your car to Europe post-Brexit, it’s worth checking with your insurer before you leave to make sure that, if you’re involved in an accident with a European motorist and want to make a claim against them, your insurer will contact their insurer on your behalf.

Currently, if your insurer isn’t obligated to provide this service, the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB) would step in.

However, post-Brexit, this will no longer be the case, and you’ll be forced to deal with a foreign insurance company; most likely in the language spoken in that country.

Number plates and GB stickers

Currently, UK-registered cars driving in EU and EEA countries are required to have a GB sticker stuck to the back of their car, unless the vehicle is fitted with a Euro plate.

But if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, UK-registered cars will be required to display a GB sticker, even if they’re fitted with a Euro plate.

However, if you replace your car’s Euro plate with a number plate that features the GB sign without the EU flag, you won’t be required to use a GB sticker.

Trailer registration

Post-Brexit, UK drivers will be required to register their commercial trailers weighing over 750kg and non-commercial trailers weighing more than 3,500kg before they can be towed in most EU and EEA countries.

Motorists can also voluntarily register non-commercial trailers that weigh more than 750kg, but there’s no legal requirement to do this.

Driving licence exchange for expats

Post-brexit motoring changes look to impact those using a UK driving licence in Ireland.

The Department for Transport (DfT) says British expats living in European countries should exchange their UK driving licence for a local EU licence before Britain leaves Europe.

Current rules allow UK driving licences to be easily swapped for European ones, but this looks set to change post-Brexit.

British expats might even be required to take a driving test in their country of residence if they don’t exchange their licence before the rules change.

So now you know all about the potential post-Brexit driving changes, why not check out our guide to driving abroad? And whilst you’re at it, it might be worth topping up your knowledge of the local driving laws too.

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