It’s understandable that you may feel nervous if you haven’t driven in Europe previously. But provided you have all the relevant information and understand the rules and regulations of the particular country you’re in, then your trip should be a comfortable and stress-free experience.
Preparing yourself for the journey ahead involves many aspects and it might be helpful to make a checklist before you travel. Many of these important points also apply to journeys on unfamiliar roads in the UK and as such they are generally based on common sense.
It helps to get acquainted with all the major regulations of any foreign country but the two rules that you should always be aware of relate to speed and alcohol limits. The limits on these will vary from country to country within Europe, and in some cases the limits are far more restrictive than they are in the UK. As a result, you should be sure of checking these first before you look at any other regulations.
You should also pay attention to average speed limits that apply on some of the motorway equivalents. These may be more strictly monitored between checkpoints than they are in the UK and the fines for transgressions can be severe.
Wherever you are in the world, one of the most stressful driving situations is to being lost. In a foreign country with unfamiliar roads, these feelings can be exacerbated with unfamiliar road signs and rules, so try to take measures that will prevent it.
If you have a SatNav that can be programmed for use in Europe then you should certainly take it with you. Alternatively, take a route planner for the relevant country and get acquainted with it before you set off.
Hiring a Car
If you are taking your own vehicle away with you then you won’t have to spend time getting used to all the controls and other things that come with an unfamiliar car. However, if you are going on holiday by plane then you’ll need to hire a car at your destination in order to be fully mobile.
Sometimes, your tour operator will provide a car as a part of your holiday package but if this isn’t the case then you should look into making arrangements long before you fly. There are car-hire comparison sites that you can use that will give you a selection of rates from all of the leading companies.
Once you’ve received your quotes then you can check all the relevant terms and conditions and make certain that the hire contract is suitable for you. This is the point at which you should also check whether the insurance provided is adequate and whether you should opt for any add-ons such as European Breakdown Cover.
Checking and booking in advance is useful for many reasons. Usually you have a far greater chance of getting your first choice of car at a price to suit you. If you leave things to the last minute then you may have to settle for a vehicle that isn’t suitable and if you wait until you arrive at the airport, your selection may be very restricted and prices may be far higher than you want to pay.
Whether you take your own car or hire a vehicle in Europe, remember to plan ahead and your driving experience should be a pleasurable one.
*Image of a man driving a car via Shutterstock