Brits planning to drive while travelling abroad this summer have been warned they could face fines worth over 1,000 euros.

Motorists who aren’t aware of the varied driving rules across Europe could land themselves in trouble with the law and lose out on money that would be better spent on enjoying their time off. Fortunately, experts at Motor Match have helped break down some of the most common things that might land drivers in trouble.

A lot of the fines dished out are due to very simple mistakes that are easy to overlook. Therefore, it’s vital that you familiarise yourself with the rules before getting behind the wheel abroad.

Carrying compulsory equipment

Motor Match advised: “UK drivers abroad need to ensure they are fully prepared with the required equipment when driving in Europe. Items such as a warning triangle, a high-visibility jacket, and a first aid kit are essentials.”

Also, on the list is a magnetic UK sticker. Brits need to display a UK sticker clearly on their vehicle if the number plate has:

  • A GB identifier with the Union Flag

  • A Euro symbol

  • A national flag of England, Scotland or Wales

  • Numbers and letters only – no flag or identifier

“In Europe, If Brits drive without the correct sticker, they will be given a €140 or £120 fine while on the continent.”

Regarding essential documents

“Every driver should double-check their paperwork before heading overseas. A valid driving licence, car insurance details, and vehicle registration documents are needed at all times. Missing any of these could significantly disrupt your plans and result in fines up to €750. It’s better to be over-prepared than to face any delays.”

“As of April 1, 2024, the DVLA requires that anyone seeking an International Driving Permit must visit a participating PayPoint location, equipped with their full valid photo-card licence, a standard passport photograph, and possibly a valid passport if they have an older paper version licence. This new procedure is a departure from the past and underscores the need for drivers to be thoroughly prepared before heading to their PayPoint location.”

“Not every country requires an International Driving Permit, but for over 140 countries that do, including key destinations like Turkey, Mexico, Canada, and Australia, being prepared with the correct type of IDP is crucial for lawful and hassle-free driving.”

About using sat navs

“While using sat-navs, drivers must be aware of restrictions. In countries like France and Cyprus, sat-navs are prohibited and can lead to fines as high as €1,500 as they make drivers aware of speed cameras. It may be worth looking into whether you can turn the speed camera detection feature off.”

On adjusting headlights

“UK vehicles are designed for left-hand traffic, so when driving in countries where you must drive on the right, adjusting your headlights is crucial to avoid dazzling oncoming traffic.

“Headlamp converters, which adjust your headlights for driving on the right side of the road, are readily available and can be easily installed. It’s important to remove these converters once you return to the UK. If you’re caught driving in France without these adjustments, you could face an immediate €90 fine.”

Speed Limits

Speed limits can differ significantly across European countries and are strictly enforced. Understanding and adhering to these limits is vital. The penalties for speeding can be severe, so it’s important to research and respect the speed regulations of each country you visit. Here are the speed limits for some European countries on motorways:

  • France: 130 km/h (110 km/h in rain)
  • Germany: No official limit, but a recommended speed of 130 km/h
  • Italy: 130 km/h (110 km/h in adverse weather conditions)
  • Portugal: 120 km/h
  • Spain: 120 km/h