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Driving in Europe – what you need to know

New laws for driving in Europe

Let’s face it, driving in Europe can be tricky if you don’t know the rules. When you’re driving at home you know the laws of the road.  When you reach the continent, each country has a different take on things, and 2016 is going to make things even trickier.

In an attempt to crack down on law-breaking foreigners and improve road safety across the continent, the European Commission is in the process of finalising several new driving laws which will affect British motorists. But what are these new laws?

Traffic fines & penalty points

Photo by: sdecoret/Fotolia
Photo by: sdecoret/Fotolia

As you’re probably aware, if you’re caught by the police committing an offence such as speeding, you can be given an on the spot fine. If however, you’re only caught on camera on the continent in your own vehicle, there is nothing the authorities can do. You get away with it.

This has now changed. If you’re caught on camera using a mobile, speeding, ignoring red lights, drink driving or driving under the influence of drugs, police will have the power to track your car and penalise you with fines or even court action.

Under the new laws, European police will also be able to issue penalty points to your British licence.

Driving in France

There are also some new laws for France. The drink driving limit has been reduced to 0.02% for novice drivers. This basically means no alcohol whatsoever!

Drivers are also forbidden from using headphones whilst driving. This includes any headset device attached to the ear for making calls or listening to audio. Integrated systems are still allowed.

Driving in tunnels

There are a lot more road tunnels in Europe than the UK. As a result, we often aren’t aware of safety procedures should the worst happen. If you experience any problems in a tunnel, follow these guidelines:

Photo by: Birgitt.Bautze/Fotolia
Photo by: Birgitt.Bautze/Fotolia

Approaching & in the tunnel

  • Turn your headlights on
  • Keep your distance from the vehicle in front
  • Keep an eye out for nearest emergency exits
  • Never reverse or perform a U-turn in a tunnel
  • Stay in the same lane.

Congestion & breakdowns

  • If traffic slows, turn on hazard lights
  • If traffic slows or stops, leave at least 5m between you and the vehicle in front
  • If traffic stops moving for any length of time, turn off the engine

Accidents & fire

  • Turn on hazard lights
  • Park as close to the tunnel walls as possible
  • Turn off the engine
  • Put on a reflective jacket and exit the vehicle.
  • In the event your car catches fire, drive out of the tunnel if possible and phone the emergency services
  • If you can’t drive out of the tunnel, get to a lay-by, emergency lane, or as close to the tunnel wall as possible and phone the emergency services
  • Turn off the engine but leave the key in the ignition
  • Don’t try to extinguish the fire yourself unless it’s just started
  • Don’t open the bonnet – it will be hot and can help the fire spread
  • If it’s not possible to extinguish the fire, leave the tunnel quickly via the emergency exits

Drive safely!

2 thoughts on “Driving in Europe – what you need to know

  1. what a big improvement to the website its very alluring now and much more friendly love it makes me want to live the dream and buy a house in portugal once we see whats happening with brexit rules we will hopefully buy a house there

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