Things to remember when driving in Europe, by Andy Millington

I just thought I would to share a few tips on driving in Europe, gained from  experiences when travelling with a trailer. This is my check list, but there is also lots of information about driving in different countries on the AA website.

Before you leave, make sure that you have all your essential documentation.

- Vehicle registration document

- Vehicle MOT certificate

- Vehicle Insurance certificate

These need to be the original documents and not photocopies.

Have you got European Break down cover for your car and trailer?

The following items are required by law in Europe

- 1 Yellow vest  per passenger –kept inside the vehicle and not in the boot, so that they can be put on before getting out of the car in the event of an incident/accident

- Warning Triangle – which needs to be placed 100m behind your vehicle in the event of a breakdown

- A set of Spare Bulbs

- 2 Breathalyser kits -only required in France

- Red and white diagonal stripe board on the rearmost part of your boat/trailer – only required for Italy but acts as a warning throughout the whole trip

Look out in Aldi or Lidl as they often have European driving kits on offer in the spring time – much cheaper than elsewhere

If you are towing a trailer or rib, following some recent rumours, I have spoken to various organisations and obtained the following information

- MOT for the trailer - Not required but proof of ownership may be asked for, if stopped by the police.

- Items on the trailer eg Boats – again may be asked for proof of ownership.

- Extra lighting on sides of the trailer -  only required  on Trailers manufactured  after Sept. 2012

In France and Germany, speed camera information on a GPS needs to be disabled as it is illegal

Tolls/road tax

- Road Tolls – tolls in France are payable at the toll stations along the motorway.

- In Switzerland you will need to buy a Vignette for both the car/motorhome and the trailer. These can be purchased from the Swiss Embassy in London, before you leave, or at the border into Switzerland

- There are no Tolls in Germany

- There is a road tax/vignette in Austria, which can be purchased at petrol stations before entering Austria.

From my experience, I always feel that if you have a tidy trailer you are less likely to get pulled up.

- remove old flight ribbons that flap around

- Make sure ends of straps are well tucked in and not hanging loose.

- All lights working and number plate not obscured.

- Check your tyres and bearings regularly – 1100 miles is a long way!  Carry spares as it can be difficult to get them abroad

I hope this has been useful. If you have any queries drop me an email:  ribs @ itcaworld.org

Safe travels,

Andy Millington

International Topper Class Association