Driving Abroad with a UK Licence

by Julia on February 10, 2020

Here’s the good news – you don’t need additional driving lessons to drive abroad with a UK licence. Refresher driving lessons may be useful if you’re feeling rusty but are by no means compulsory.

That said, there are a few important considerations to bear in mind when planning a trip overseas. If you intend to take your own car with you, it’s vital that you first familiarise yourself with any country-specific rules and regulations you might not be aware of.

With the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union current rules could change significantly for UK citizens as of January 1, 2021. Therefore, it’s a good idea to find out where you stand in the legal sense and from a general safety perspective before you depart.

What to Take on Your Road Trip

Driving overseas doesn’t have to be particularly difficult, but you always need to have your wits about you. Primarily due to the fact that you may be driving on the right-hand side of the road with the steering wheel on the ‘wrong’ side of the car.

It’s important to be prepared for any eventuality and ensure you have everything you need; this is why taking a few extra driving lessons to refresh could be a good idea. In terms of documentation, you’ll need to take the following with you on your trip:

  • Your driving licence

  • Your National Insurance number

  • Passport or other proof of ID

  • V5C certificate (‘log book’)

  • Proof of travel insurance

  • Motor Insurance certificate

  • Valid European breakdown cover document

  • Insurance green card

  • GB sticker for your car

You may be asked to present any of these documents/certificates at any time, so they need to be kept with you while you’re on the road in Europe. Don’t make the mistake of leaving them in your hotel or apartment when taking trips, as doing so could result in a penalty notice (fine) being issued.

There are also several additional automotive accessories that are a legal requirement when driving in Europe. You must therefore ensure that you also take the following with you on your trip:

  • High visibility jackets for all occupants of the vehicle

  • A warning triangle in case of emergency

  • Fully stocked first aid kit in good condition

Aside from these compulsory items, European road safety authorities also strongly recommend taking the following when driving in Europe:

  • Replacement bulbs

  • Fire extinguisher

  • At least one working torch

  • Power bank for mobile phones

  • Blankets and spare clothing

  • A spare fuel can

  • Water and refreshments

  • Reliable satellite navigation

  • A traditional paper map

  • Photocopies of important documents

  • Extra supplies of important medication

Prior to departing, you may also wish to contact your insurer to establish where you stand in the event of an accident or incident overseas. Not all insurance policies include overseas protection, while some offer limited coverage for EU driving under certain circumstances only.

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