Lack of awareness of European road rules could land you in trouble with local authorities and void travel insurance cover. For example, if you’re driving in Denmark you need to check for children under the car before driving, and headlights are required to remain on both day and night in Sweden, Norway and Iceland.
Research from comparison site Mozo has found that Australians planning to drive during their next European holiday should study up on local road rules to avoid being caught on the wrong side of the law.
While packing sunscreen, swimmers and sunglasses makes sense, be sure to leave some room for a first aid kit, breathalyser and a hi-vis jacket.
“Holiday research often includes where to dine, tourist hotspots and the best place to book accommodation, but if you intend to drive while in Europe it’s crucial you’re up to speed with local road rules,” said Mozo director Kirsty Lamont.
“While the basics like ensuring you know what side of the road to drive on are imperative, many European countries carry quirky road rules that are easy to miss.
“You can unwittingly void travel insurance if you break local road rules, not to mention the risk of landing on the wrong side of the law or endangering lives.
“For example, in Scandinavia you must leave your headlights on day and night and in Russia, Bulgaria and Belarus it’s illegal to have a dirty car. In Denmark, you must to check to see if there are any children under the car before driving.
“Pleading ignorance to local road rules will do little to help you, so be sure to study up if you plan on driving while on holiday in Europe.”
Ms Lamont suggests people call their travel insurer and find out what their level of cover is for driving a car overseas. “Understand exactly what your policy covers and be confident about what the local road rules are. Then you’re free to sit back and enjoy the roadside scenery.”
France: Drivers must carry breathalyser, reflective jacket, warning hazard triangle. Some parts have a clean-air policy and if you drive through these areas you must display an air quality sticker on your windscreen.
Germany: Drivers must carry a reflective jacket and warning hazard triangle. Some areas have a clean-air policy and if you drive through these areas you must display an air quality sticker on your windscreen.
Spain: Drivers must carry a reflective jacket and warning hazard triangle and a spare pair of driving glasses is they are required by the driver. Some one-way streets have the rule that you must park on the side of the road with even house numbers on even days, and vice versa on odd days of the month. Speed camera detectors are illegal.
Albania: You must carry a first aid kit and the maximum blood alcohol level is 0.01%.
Denmark: Check for children under the car before driving.
Switzerland: No washing your car on Sundays.
Russia, Bulgaria, Belarus: Illegal to have a dirty car.
Scandinavia: Headlights must remain on, day and night.
Cyprus: You may not eat or drink anything while driving, including water.
Finland: The speed limit drops by 20kph in winter.
Czech Republic, Slovakia, Estonia, Hungary, Romania: Zero alcohol limit for all drivers.