Error parsing XSLT file: \xslt\FacebookOpenGraph.xslt Mark Sinclair's blog - 4 August: Driving abroad
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Mark Sinclair's blog - 4 August: Driving abroad

Date: 04 August 2015

Mark Sinclair is Tusker's chief operating officer

At this time of year we receive lots of calls and emails from drivers asking for advice before taking their cars abroad for family holidays. 

We are always more than happy to receive these enquiries and to point people in the right direction, as making a few simple preparations before you go can certainly help you avoid some very awkward or even dangerous situations.

We thought we would share some of the most important, and often overlooked, aspects of taking a vehicle abroad.

Desktop research

It certainly pays to do a little research before you go.  Work out your routes and establish rest points and any toll roads (some countries require that you buy a Vignette in order to drive on any of their roads).  Find out about any specific rules and regulations that may differ from UK driving. 

For instance did you know that it is a legal requirement in France for every vehicle to carry at least one unused breathalyser kit (although fines have been postponed indefinitely)?  Finally, don't overlook the rules and regulations for countries that you may just be passing through - they still apply.


As well as your UK driving license, you will also need the V5C document if you are the legal owner or the VE103 certificate if the car is leased, which you can obtain from the leasing company.

You should also check that your insurance fully covers you for the locations that you will be driving through and you may need to notify your insurer in advance of any overseas travel.

For driving in countries outside of the EU, you may need an International Driving Permit.

If your vehicle does not have Europlates with the GB sticker on you will need to display the GB sign and outside of the EU you will need one regardless of your type of numberplate.

Hiring a car

The problems relating to the change in the law regarding the paper counterpart when hiring a car have been widely publicised.  Thankfully, the codes that are required now have a much longer 'shelf-life'.

This means that life can also be made a lot simpler by generating the code before you leave, however, it is also possible to access the system and generate a code from your overseas location - all you need is internet access, your driving licence and your NI number.

Breakdown assistance

Most company car packages come with European Roadside Assistance as standard, but it is worth checking this before you go.  Save the international telephone number for your breakdown service in your phone.  It is also worth saving the number 112, the European emergency call number you can dial anywhere in the EU, rather than trying to remember it in an emergency situation.


It is a legal requirement to adjust headlights for driving on the right in order to avoid dazzling oncoming drivers.  It may be possible to do this yourself, as many vehicles now have a simple lever adjustment function.  However, check well in advance as it may require a visit to the dealer.  Remember to adjust them back again as soon as you return to the UK.

Other useful items

It is a good idea to take your driver pack with you, where issued.  Additional items may be useful, and are often a legal requirement in certain countries, such as a warning triangle and hi-vis jacket.