Driving in a foreign country is daunting at the best of times. Driving on the other side of the road is bad enough without a foreign language, unfamiliar road signs and sometimes aggressive drivers to worry about!
Like everything else though, a little preparation can go a long way and help you to avoid potential bumps in the road. Here are our top tips to make your foreign driving experience more manageable.
Before you travel
Before you head off there are a number of essentials you will need to have:
Your licence – Ensure your full drivers licence is valid and with you. Keeping your passport to hand can be useful also as a second form of identification.
Log book - Vehicle registration document
Insurance – Ensure your car insurance policy covers you for your trip abroad. Allianz Ireland comprehensive and third party, fire and theft car insurance policies cover you for up to 60 days driving within the EU and other countries*. If you are not an Allianz car insurance customer, please check your cover with your insurer before you travel.
Allianz Ireland policy holders, please note: Your certificate of motor insurance includes your Green Card. The Council of Bureaux Green Card is a protection mechanism for victims of cross-border road traffic accidents. It consists of 47 member countries.
Maintenance – Is your vehicle in a suitable working order? Make sure you check tyres for condition, pressure and tread depth. Are your headlights, brake lights and indicators in full working order? Remember, if driving at night, ensure your dipped headlight beam doesn’t dazzle other road users.
Know the legal requirements – Some countries will require you to have, a warning triangle, hi-vis jacket, fire extinguisher, or a first aid kit. Make sure before you travel that you have everything required.
Have a plan – Before you set of it is a good idea to plan out you route. Update your SatNav and pre-load your route, be on the look out for road works and know the local speed limits.
European Health Insurance Card – The EHIC allows the holder to access healthcare services when travelling to or on holiday in another EU or EEA country. It is a good idea to have yourself and your family covered with the EHIC while in the EU or EEA countries.
Learn more about the EHIC at http://www.hse.ie/eng/services/list/1/schemes/EHIC/.
For additional travel insurance, check out Allianz Global Assistance, our sister company, which sells and underwrites a range of travel insurance products, including: single trip, annual multi-trip and backpacker cover and more. **
While you are abroad
In case of emergency – 112 is the number you need. 112 is the emergency call number in the European Union.
Security – Ensure your vehicle is locked and secure at all times. Do not leave bags and valuables in plain sight at any time. Valuables should be locked in the glove compartment or boot.
Drinking and Driving – Never ever drink and drive.
Know your side – Ensure you know which side of the road you will travel on before you go. Pay particular care when approaching roundabouts and when merging lanes or leaving petrol stations.
And remember the basics: belt up, slow down and allow plenty of time for your journey.
*Your Policy is automatically extended to cover you to travel to or on the Continent of Europe for up to 60 days in any period of insurance. The insurance also operates during the course of Sea Transit, Channel Tunnel Transport or Rail Transport (including loading and unloading). For travel to any country not referred to above, or if your intended period of foreign travel exceeds 60 days you must contact us. Allianz p.l.c. will also provide the minimum legal insurance required by law to use the Car in any European Union country and any other country which has made arrangements to meet the minimum insurance requirements set by the European Union.
Allianz p.l.c. is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland.
**Allianz travel insurance is underwritten by AWP P&C SA and sold by Allianz Global Assistance. Allianz Global Assistance, trading as Mondial Assistance Ireland Limited is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland. AWP P&C SA is authorised by L’Autorité de contrôle Prudentiel et de Résolution in France and is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland for conduct of business rules.
Information correct as of July 2019