Advice for New Drivers

Driving abroad can be an adventure. Depending on where you’re going – there will be different rules and regs, as well as driving etiquette. It’s worth checking up on these before you either take your own car abroad, or hire a car when you get there.

If you’re planning to take your own car abroad, you’ll need to:

  • Get in touch with your insurance company at least a month before you leave to make sure you’re covered.
  • Make sure your car is in good condition before you leave.
  • Consider taking out European breakdown cover.
  • Adjust your headlights as you’ll be driving on the right hand side of the road. If you don’t adjust them, you’ll dazzle other drivers and you could be fined.
  • Find out what you need to carry in the countries you are visiting. Items such as a reflective triangle, spare bulbs or a first aid kit may be required by law – see links below for details.
  • Put a GB sticker on your car or you could receive an on-the-spot fine. If you have a Euro-symbol on your number plate (BS AU 145d standard) you don’t need a sticker when driving in Europe. Outside the EU you’ll need a GB sticker too.

If you’re planning to hire a car you’ll need:

  • Be at least 21 years old – some rental companies require you to be 25.
  • Have had a driving licence for at least a year.
  • Bring your driving licence.
  • Provide a credit card as a deposit on the car.

You should also find out what rules and laws apply in the countries you plan to visit, for example:

  • In Austria, all vehicles using motorways and expressways must display a motorway tax sticker which you can get at petrol stations.
  • In Belarus, it’s against the law to drive a dirty car.
  • In Croatia and many other countries, it’s forbidden to carry petrol in a can in your vehicle when driving.
  • In Cyprus, you can’t use your horn between 10pm and 6am and never near any hospitals.
  • In Finland, you must use dipped headlights during the day.
  • In Greece, police can take away your number plate for parking illegally.
  • In Macedonia, it’s illegal for a passenger who has had too much to drink to travel in the front passenger seat of the car.
  • In Russia, you’re advised to avoid driving at night between towns. If you’ve held a driving licence for less than two years you must not go faster than 70km/h (43mph).
  • In Slovakia, you can’t have any alcohol in your blood when driving. Drink driving is strictly forbidden, and in Romania you might go to prison.