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Driving Abroad in Europe

Driving Abroad in Europe

Posted On 21 Jun, 2014

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For most UK drivers, there is one overarching difference between driving on the continent and at home, namely you drive on the other side of the road.

But there are actually all kinds of other differences too. For example in Germany when on the autobahn, there is no speed restriction – this can be quite a shock when you find a vehicle passing you doing twice the speed of the UK motorway limit. Particular care needs to be taken when pulling out to overtake – a car doing 150mph can rapidly go from a spec in your rear view mirror to right behind you.

Along with differing speed limits, there are also cultural differences. In some European countries sounding the horn is much more commonplace than in the UK which can be a little alarming for UK drivers are only used to the horn being used as a warning for poor or dangerous manoeuvres. In the same vain, a little nudge on the bumper when parking is considered standard practise and unlikely to cause any issue whereas in the UK this type of behaviour is unlikely to be tolerated whether or not any damage is caused.

Undoubtedly one of the biggest areas for UK motorists to prepare for in addition to driving on the other side of the road, is compliance with different countries’ legal requirements. Fines can be significant for those road users found not to be carrying all the necessary equipment in their vehicles – some of which is over and above what is required in the UK. Close care must be paid to these legal requirements and research to establish what is required when driving on different European countries.

Driving safety records do vary across Europe, however, generally the vehicle safety requirements and road quality is higher than in say India, than the far East or Africa. Do your research and be prepared for differences from what we are used to in the UK and you will have a pleasant journey.

If you are happier hiring a vehicle after flying in to Europe then Hertz has a continental network which will ensure you are able to rent a car conveniently on arrival. Whether you take your own car or hire one as long as you prepare and plan your driving abroad adjustment to the differences over and above, driving on the other side of the road will generally be seamless.

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