Expert advice: what to do when you go abroad

Basic checks to help make a happy holiday(Picture © Europcar)

Basic checks to help make for a happy holiday (Picture © Europcar)

Assuming you’ve prepared properly for driving abroad you’ll have all the kit and paperwork you need for your car. Green Flag’s Sam Jackson runs through the things to remember when you land on Continental soil.

Before you land

“When you return to your car on the ferry or in the EuroTunnel and before you disembark, take a few minutes to walk around the vehicle and ensure that all the steps you’ve taken at home are still in place. Are your beam benders still intact, and is the GB plate still there? How much fuel do you have and do you know where to stop if it’s not much?

Stay focused

“If driving in the UK requires a lot of concentration, driving abroad requires even more. You’re driving on the opposite side of the road so even the most routine manoeuvres feel different and are more difficult. The road signs look different; some of the rules of the road are different and chances are, you’ll be having to navigate an unfamiliar route. Then there’s the standard of driving, which in some countries can leave a bit to be desired…

Don’t break the law

Rules and regulations on the Continent differ to the UK but you can still be caught out by the simplest laws. Parking enforcement can be just as rigidly enforced as it is in the UK. Make sure you park properly. Never mind breaking down: you don’t want your car to be towed away.

Map out your journey

“The more you know where you’re going, the less likely you are to inadvertently break the law by speeding or driving the wrong way down a one-way street. Sat navs are brilliant for this but do bear in mind that in France you must have the speed camera alert function disabled to comply with the law.

Check your car regularly

“Every time you take a break from driving, check your car over. Have a look at the tyres. Do they have any lumps in the sidewalls that indicate weaknesses, or debris such as nails sticking out of them? It’s better to change a wheel in the safety of a service area than to need recovering from the hard shoulder. Check the engine’s coolant levels too and take the opportunity to clean your windscreen. Again, ensure your GB sticker hasn’t come off and that the beam benders, if in use, are intact.

Take a break

“There’s often a feeling that you’re not on holiday until you’ve reached your destination. I always view the journey as part of my holiday which makes it much more relaxing because I’m not in a rush to get to where I’m going. When you’re planning your journey allow a generous amount of time to get to your destination. Take possible congestion into account and you may not be used to driving long distances so remember to take a break at regular intervals. But above all, remember to enjoy your holiday!”

Green Flag Sam JacksonSam Jackson is Green Flag’s rescue claims operations manager

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