Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Driving Safely across Europe . . .


Driving Safely across Europe

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Be better prepared before you leave.

Consular staff across Europe will be promoting the “Drive safely in Europe” campaign ahead of the UK Easter holidays showcasing their new video highlighting what British people should do before they drive in other European countries.

Every year more and more British drivers are heading to Europe. Last year close to 2.5 million vehicles travelled from the UK to France on Eurotunnel Le Shuttle alone. Many more British visitors travel to mainland Europe by sea or rent hire cars during their stay.The vast majority of British drivers and their passengers will have a safe and trouble-free journey. Every year, however, Consular staff provides assistance to British travellers involved in road traffic accidents and incidents.

Incidents involving British drivers often occur due to a lack of familiarity with the local regulations and driving conditions. The latest FCO Know Before You Go video wants to encourage drivers to properly prepare for their trip and to be aware of the main differences in driving conditions and regulations.

To steer clear of trouble when driving in Europe, follow our top tips:
  • Remember to drive on the right – driver should be on the kerb side at all times!!!
  • Know the speed limits and remember they will be displayed in kilometres per hour: 130kph = 80mph, 120kph = 74mph, 110kph = 68mph, 50mph = 31mph. Penalties for speeding offences can be harsher than in the UK and on the spot fines are enforced
  • Carrying the right equipment in your car when abroad is a legal requirement. Things like a warning triangle, first aid kit, accessible hi-viz jackets for ALL passengers and a replacement set of bulbs are the minimum standard
  • Cars with a GPS navigation system that can detect the location of speed cameras must have this function deactivated (check country specific requirements when transiting throughout Europe)
  • Make sure you have all the correct documents with you. Don’t set off without your passport, driving licence, vehicle registration, insurance documents and travel insurance. Also leave copies of these documents with a family member or friend
  • Make sure your breakdown insurance covers you for driving in Belgium and repatriating your car to the UK. Leaving your car in a Belgian garage when you return to the UK can be costly and stressful
  • Don’t drink and drive. The legal blood-alcohol limit is different in Belgium and other European Countries than it is in the UK. Random testing is common and fines are heavy
  • Remember that the number for Emergency Services in Europe is 112
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