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More than six million British motorists admit to driving on the wrong side of the road when abroad. What can you do to make sure you’re covered and legal on foreign roads?

Driving away – how to stay safe with your car abroad

More than six million British motorists admit to driving on the wrong side of the road when abroad.

Issues include going the wrong way around roundabouts and pulling into the wrong side of the road at junctions, with men twice as likely to make these mistakes, according to rental firm Goldcar.

While making sure you’re on the correct side of the road is down to you, there are several things to do to make sure you’re covered and legal on foreign roads.

Insurance

The most important thing to do if you’re planning on driving abroad is to call your insurance provider and make sure you’re covered for foreign travel.

Some will cover this automatically up to a certain mileage, but might only offer third party protection. So you might want to pay to get increased protection.

Others might charge for the additional insurance. But as this is a legal requirement, you need some kind of cover.

What do I need to take with me?

Rules vary from country to country, but there are some things you should definitely have with you.

You will need your driving licence,insurance documents, MOT certificate and V5C vehicle registration document.

In some countries this is a legal requirement, in others it’s not, but it’s always best to have them with you in case you get pulled over.

Your UK driving licence is valid in a lot of countries, but you might want to consider getting an International Driving Permit. You can buy this online from the AA, RAC or Post Office and you do not need to sit any kind of test. 

Breakdown cover

While not a legal requirement, having breakdown cover protecting you abroad is a really good idea if you’re driving overseas.

Your standard breakdown cover might not cover this (although it might do) so it’s worth phoning up to check and paying for this service while you’re away.

What else will I need?

Along with your licence and registration documents, some countries require you by law to carry other things with you when driving.

For example, in France you must have (among other things) hi-vis jackets for everyone in the car, a first aid kit and a breathalyser.

There is a lot of information about this online, so check before you travel.

Wrong side

Driving on the right also brings with it some other issues which you might not necessarily think about.

First, your headlights are directed slightly to the left, so you can see road signs. If you’re driving on the right this now shines directly at oncoming traffic, so you will need beam deflectors or to adjust them manually.

Speed limits might also be in kilometres not miles per hour. Most modern cars have MPH and KPH displayed, so remember which one is which so you don’t end up with a ticket.

Modern cars all carry a GB sticker on the number plate, but if you’re in an older car you will need to attach a GB sticker.

You also need to be aware things (such as toll booths) will often be on the wrong side of the vehicle for the driver. 

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