We may be an island, but with regular ferry crossings from a choice of UK ports and the Euro Tunnel, there is the option of driving to our holiday destination.
The cost of a crossing is usually at a per vehicle rate, so if you are heading on a family holiday it can be more affordable than paying for individual flights. With luggage limits, it can also be more affordable and convenient to drive if you want to take bulky equipment. Skis, bikes, kayaks or simply everything you need to keep a toddler and baby happy are all easier to transport by car. There are also plenty of us who simply wouldn’t contemplate flying.
We all know that as soon as we cross the water, we have to adjust our watches and adjust to driving on the other side of the road. This can take a bit of time to get used to, however it isn’t the only difference to driving on U.K. roads. By preparing in advance, you can be well equipped for your summer adventure.
Preventing Problems: Ensure your Car is Fit for the Job
Breaking down is never an enjoyable experience, but when you are in a foreign country the problem is escalated. With language barriers and unfamiliar processes, a break down could ruin your holiday. Before you go, ensure your car has a valid MOT that isn’t going to expire before or during your holiday. In addition to an MOT, it could be advisable to book your car in for a service.
You should certainly check the tyre pressure, liquid levels and lights before you head off. Depending on your destination, you may also need to adjust your headlights, disable the speed camera detection feature on your Sat Nav and even check the specification of your child’s car seat to comply with the rules of the road. You will also need to display a GB sticker on your vehicle. Check whether you have European break down cover and upgrade your policy if not.
Regulatory Requirements on Foreign Roads
In many foreign countries it is essential that warning triangles and reflective jackets are carried in the car and are accessible in the case of a break down. Breathalysers and other essential equipment is also a legal requirement in certain countries, so research what you need in advance in order to comply.
In addition to equipment, it is important that you carry the appropriate paperwork on your trip. You need to carry your Full Driving License, V5 Registration Document, Passport and Motor Insurance Certificate. In certain countries you will also need to buy and display an International Driving Permit.
If you have hired, leased or borrowed a UK car and are not the named owner, you will need a VE103 Vehicle on Hire Certificate and a Letter of Authorisation to state that you have permission to take the car out of the country.
Payment on Foreign Roads
When calculating if driving is a more cost effective option than flying, you should take into consideration the additional charges that you might incur on route. It isn’t just London with Congestion charges in Low Emission Zones, so be prepared to pay if you are heading into other major cities. More commonly, you may face toll charges to drive on major routes through parts of Europe.
By preparing in advance, you will know which rules, charges and adjustments apply to your journey, so that you have exactly what you need to legally and safely reach your destination. If you want to kick things off by book a service or MOT, Holmer Green Service Centre can assist.