Planning on packing up the car and heading to the Euros? Make sure to be prepared before you go, here are some tips to reduce the stress of the journey:
1. Plan your route in advance
If you're planning to drive a long way to your destination or even to go on a driving holiday, work out your route in advance and make sure you have the relevant maps and you can at least find your way out of the port. If you plan to use a satnav, make sure it works wherever it is you're travelling, as some only have certain pre-loaded maps.
2. Is your car serviced?
Make sure to have your car serviced and check its condition before you go away, especially the wiper blades, indicator lights, brake lights, tyres, oil and water. Before you set off, it may be useful to have a local breakdown assistance phone number to hand while driving abroad.
3. Check the laws and rules of the road
For example, drivers must carry a high-visibility vest, full driving licence, your vehicle’s registration document, your motor insurance certificate and an unused breathalyser kit in their vehicles.
Hands free mobile-phone use is banned in France. Drivers caught using a mobile phone while on the road even using a headset or Bluetooth are liable to an on-the-spot fine of €135.
4. Bring a spare set of car keys.
It’s not obligatory but it might be handy to bring a spare one. Imagine the hassle of losing your keys, then have no way of getting into your car... or once in it, of starting it.
5. Petrol (gasolene)
It’s advised not to fill up on the autoroute! Wait until a major intersection near a town or city, and come off the autoroute. A hypermarket or superstore is usually located close to the autoroute and you could save money.
Most French autoroutes (motorways) have tolls which are marked with the word “Péage". The normal process is to pick up a ticket from a booth as you enter the autoroute (just press the button); you pay the toll either when you leave the autoroute or else when the toll section comes to an end. It will cost more if you are towing a caravan etc. so make extra allowances for the expenses on your chosen route. For example if you are driving from Paris to Bordeaux in a car it will cost about €55 euro. You can check how much it will cost you to travel certain routes here.
7. Check your insurance policy
If your Car Insurance policy is with 123.ie, you will have the minimum level of cover to drive in all EU countries. If you notify us before you travel we can provide full cover for 30 days free of charge. Talk to our customer care team if you are traveling for more than 30 days. More information on driving abroad can be found here. If your insurance isn't with 123.ie make sure to check your insurance policy or contact the provider to see if you are covered for driving abroad and if so, how much cover you have.
8. Be seen
When driving on European roads, motorists must use headlamp converters by law. This is due to the fact that vehicles travel on the right-hand-side - the opposite side of the road to Ireland and the UK - meaning motorists could dazzle oncoming traffic with cars designed for Irish roads. Fitting headlamp converters will reposition the angle of your beam, ensuring the safety of other road users and giving you the right visibility of the road ahead. They can be purchased before you go for as little as €9.99.