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Top Tips for Driving Rented Vehicles Abroad

Posted on by Whitgift Hire Team

Driving abroad can be challenging – and driving a hired van can be even trickier if you are unfamiliar with foreign roads. You need to take extra care, so do some research before you set off to enable you to cope if things go wrong. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your trip.

  1. Drive on the Right

Most European countries drive on the right-hand side. This means negotiating roundabouts anti-clockwise instead of clockwise. It can be easy to forget, especially after leaving a car park or petrol station, so keep your wits about you. Visibility can be an issue when driving a van, so bear this in mind when overtaking on the other side.

  1. Keep to the Speed Limits

Speed limits vary from country to country, so always check limits wherever you are to avoid hefty fines – and remember that you are using kilometres instead of miles. Also, some countries don’t allow the use of radar and speed camera detectors, even in Sat Navs.

  1. Documents to Take

You may have to produce your documents at any time, so carry them with you. In many countries, it is a legal requirement to carry your full driving licence, insurance and ID. To take a hire car out of the country, you need a letter of authorisation, and either the original vehicle registration document (V5C) or a Vehicle on Hire certificate (VE103). Also, check if you need an International Driving Permit (IDP) as well.

  1. Drink Driving

The laws are strict and penalties are severe. While driving in France, you must always carry at least one unused, certified breathalyser kit.


  1. Medical treatment

Carry a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), which entitles you to reduced cost and sometimes free state medical treatment. But make sure you have travel insurance as well.

  1. Further tips

* It is compulsory to carry a reflective jacket in your vehicle in France, Spain, Italy, Austria, Portugal and Croatia.

* The emergency call number you can dial anywhere in the EU if you have an accident or need emergency help is 112.

* Snow chains are compulsory in some countries even when using winter tyres.

* Fix a GB sticker to the back of your car to avoid paying an on-the-spot fine.

* Using a hand-held mobile phone while driving is categorically banned.

* Some countries require you to carry a first aid kit, fire extinguisher, warning triangle, headlamp beam reflectors or spare lamp bulbs.

* If you run an LPG-fuelled vehicle, make sure you are carrying the right fuel pump adaptor.


General Advice for Drivers Visiting Britain

For those looking to hire a vehicle once arriving in Britain, there are a few considerations you must make.

* You must drive on the left hand side of the road and overtake on the right.

* Speed signs are in miles per hour and not in kms.

* Traffic lights turn from red to amber then green, and not directly from red to green.

* You must have a valid driving licence for the vehicle that you are driving and valid road tax.


Whitgift Hire are the leading providers of van hire services in the Croydon and wider London area, providing a range of hire options to suit all needs. Get in touch today to find out more.

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