Be aware of current European motoring laws this summer
Driving abroad poses a number of risks and not just because it is likely to involve on the other side of the road. Many people lack a general awareness of current European motoring laws.
For example, from January this year, British registered drivers travelling to France can receive an on-the-spot fine of more than £100 for not displaying a ‘clean air’ sticker on their windscreen. The Crit’Air scheme aims to tackle pollution, making it a legal requirement for all vehicles – cars, lorries, motorbikes and buses – to display its anti-pollution sticker to show how much their vehicle pollutes.
Even drivers who go abroad regularly should check the local rules of the road. Motoring organisation websites such as the AA offer up-to-date motoring advice about the country they are visiting. It’s also good practice for drivers to ensure their service schedule is up to date, that they have valid breakdown cover for Europe, and that they have carried out the usual maintenance checks such as oil, water, tyres and glass. This helps to avoid unnecessary costs and possible fines.
Company car drivers also need to see if they need to complete a VE103b form (authority to travel) before they take their car to Europe – this provides formal confirmation that they have permission from the owner to drive the car abroad.
If stopped by traffic police, you may be asked to produce the following documents:
In France, motorways are privately managed, so if you break down on the motorway your breakdown and recovery provider will probably not be able to help you. Go to the nearest emergency phone, dial 17 and the official motorway breakdown service will come to you. Once you have been towed, call the helpline for your breakdown and recovery supplier.
“Many motorists are likely to drive in Europe this summer and unwittingly break the law,” Simon Staton, a Director of Venson Automotive Solutions, said. “It’s crucial they familiarise themselves with the motoring regulations and laws if they are planning to drive abroad. If they don’t, they could find themselves having to pay a hefty on-the-spot fine or, worst case scenario, their car could be confiscated.”