Anyone who is planning on taking a road trip in Europe may find that driving on the continent is a little different than it is back in the UK. It is therefore sensible to be well prepared for travelling on European roads. Here are a few things for tourists to remember when driving in Europe.
Traffic laws vary greatly from one European country to another. They may also be different in each province or town, so drivers should prepare themselves by learning all they can about the specific rules of the road in the region they will be visiting. Important rules include seatbelt use, speed limits and blood alcohol levels. Driving on the right hand side of the road is universal throughout continental Europe, though in some regions it seems that the locals drive down the centre of the road.
Investing in a map or using an internet route planner can help avoid making wrong turns or getting lost in an unfamiliar area. By mapping the route in advance it is possible to locate service stations and restaurants along the way, which can be helpful if a sudden stop is required.
Car rental prices can be quite high in Europe, but savings can be made by renting a vehicle by the week, rather than by the day. Booking a car in advance can also help cut costs, since rental agencies may be willing to reduce costs during times when their inventory is high. To find the lowest prices, it is best to shop around, checking out several car hire companies or going to a wholesale rental consolidator. Before signing the rental agreement, it is advisable to read all of the terms and conditions carefully; this is the best way to avoid paying for unnecessary charges. The vehicle should also be given a thorough inspection to check that any damage is noted before driving it away from the rental office.
In all EU countries drivers are able to use their national driving licence. However, there are many other regions that require an International Driving Permit in order to rent a car or drive on the public highway. Depending on the countries being visited it may also be necessary to have proof of insurance, especially when crossing certain borders. Generally, the staff at local car rental agencies will be happy to explain more about such requirements.