If you’re going to mainland Europe on business, then you may well be hiring a car to get around. The road networks are generally excellent, and the standard of driving is good, but there are still some things that you will need to think about. Let’s take a look at some of them here.
Depending on where you are driving, there are laws about what you must carry in your car with you. This usually involves having a high-visibility jacket, a warning triangle that you can place behind your car in an accident, and sometimes a first aid kit. These regulations apply to anyone on the roads – it doesn’t matter where you’re from, and fines can be hefty. It’s best to do your research beforehand and bring everything along that you might need. The equipment is usually inexpensive, and you can find a good list of what you need and where here.
Similar to the above, things can be slightly different in different countries, and you really need to be aware of this. Don’t drive into a new country without having first done your research or you could find yourself in a difficult situation. One example of a major difference is that in France there are some roundabouts whereby the people currently on the roundabout don’t actually have priority, which is usually the case, and they must yield to those entering.
Insurance and Coverage
If you’re hiring a car, then you’ll probably have insurance and possibly breakdown cover included, but if they’re not, or you’re taking your own vehicle, then you’ll need to ensure you have the necessary policies. A minimum of third party insurance is required all over Europe, and it’s a good idea to have breakdown cover too. You don’t want the hassle of trying to arrange for your car to be towed away in a foreign country. Breakdown Direct offer specific European cover if it’s not included in your current policy or you need a new one.
There are numerous other little quirks of driving that you should probably be aware of. Americans for instance are often surprised at how organised multiple-lane motorways are, and particularly in Germany, you are expected to move out of the outside lanes immediately to allow faster vehicles to pass, and they will flash their lights. It’s not really considered rude.