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From Clean Air Zones to different alcohol laws: What you need to know before driving abroad

Simon Calder’s Travel

The approaching summertime means many people will be booking holidays abroad, and planning on renting either renting or bringing their cars.

Thousands of Brits cross the channel each year in search of new locations and experiences, with many people seeing driving as a great way of keeping a trip as flexible as possible.

But driving abroad does differ in some key areas to motoring here in the UK, which is why there are some things to remember before you buckle up and head out.

Clean Air Zones are a controversial topic across Europe and it always worth checking ahead of time if your destination has one.

Speed limits also often change and are worth checking.

Cars drive on the Champs Elysee avenue, Thursday, May 7, 2020 in Paris (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Here we look at a list of what you need to know before driving abroad.

1. Make your checks beforehand

Even before your car turns a wheel, we’d be making some pre-flight checks to ensure that your whole vehicle is in good working order. Tyre pressures need to be checked and increased if they’re low – according to manufacturer guidelines – while fluids such as oil, coolant and windscreen wash all need to be topped up before you head off.

If you’re going on a particularly long drive, then you might want to have your car serviced and inspected by a trained professional prior to your departure – it could flag up an issue which could cause a real headache during your trip.

2. Get your key equipment packed

There are some items that you’ll be required to carry in your car once you reach mainland Europe. You should also make sure that you’ve attached a ‘UK’ sticker to the rear of the car – these can be purchased in a variety of areas – and while in some countries a ‘UK’ badge on your number plate will suffice, countries like Spain always require a sticker too.

Other European countries are stricter when it comes to essential kit to carry with you. The following is required:

A reflective jacket for every person in the car

A warning triangle

Headlight beam deflectors (if you car cannot automatically do this for driving on the other side of the road).

First aid kit, which is mandatory for driving in Austria, France and Germany. Companies such as the AA and RAC will sell you a European driving kit bundle containing all of the above.

3. Ensure you have…

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