Planning on packing up the family in the car and heading abroad? 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 it’s 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 Country you are visiting
In France, for example, drivers must carry a high-visibility vest and an unused breathalyser kit in their vehicles.
Most European nations recommend carrying a spare bulb kit which will allow you to change your headlamps in the event of a problem. If you're heading to Spain or France you must carry this spare bulb kit by law.
4. 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.
5. 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 and British 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.
6. Be careful
Most places you are traveling will have speed limits and it’s not uncommon for ‘on the spot’ fines to be handed out by police officers. On the Autobahn in Germany there are large stretches that have no speed limit. The drivers can decide for themselves how fast to drive. Although there are no speed restrictions on parts, 130kph is recommended. Keep an eye on the signs though as you could quickly enter a section which has a speed limit.
Extra tips on driving in: