Top checks to make before driving abroad

Before going on a road trip abroad, it is important to have your vehicle thoroughly checked to make sure it is safe.

As the weather heats up and people start to make their holiday plans for the summer, many Brits may have a road trip abroad on the cards.

While driving in Europe is an experience unlike any other, it is important that drivers make a number of road safety checks before heading out onto the continent. There is nothing worse than finding yourself caught out at the roadside in a foreign country.

They should also take the opportunity to brush up on their knowledge about road laws in the country they are intending to drive to, as well as those that they will have to pass through on the way. There are a number of ways in which European driving laws can differ from that of those in the UK.

Brakes

One of the most important aspects that you must have checked before heading abroad is that your brakes are working well.

If you are driving through Germany, where the autobahns have no speed limit, then you must know that you can slow down quickly in an emergency.

Alternatively, if you are driving through areas that are crowded with pedestrians or, in the case of Holland, cyclists they you must be able to stop in the event that one of them ends up in front of you.

Checking your brakes to see if they are safe is a complicated process and involves a lot of parts that can be subject to wear and tear. What's more, the change can be so gradual that drivers may not notice the fall in quality until it's too late.

For this reason, it is well worth having a technician check your brakes for you before going on a Euro road trip. Car Shop can offer brake checks for free, so it is well worth booking in for one.

Tyres

Driving abroad can be stressful and the last thing you want to happen is find that your handling is out due to worn out tyres or bad wheel alignment. This is especially true if you are planning on visiting areas with particularly narrow roads with a lot of corners and steep sides, such as the Alps or the Rhine Valley.

For this reason it is important that you have your vehicle tyres checked before you set off. Tread depth is important for maintaining grip - in the UK the minimum depth is 1.6mm - and is especially vital when travelling at high speeds or on windy roads. You should also check for bulges, cuts and lumps in your tyres and check that your air pressure isn't decreasing quickly over a few days. The latter could suggest that you have a puncture or problem with the sidewalls of your tyres, which in turn could see you getting caught out with a flat on foreign roads.

To make sure you have had a very thorough check of your tyres by expert eyes, it is worth booking in with a technician. Car Shop offers tyre safety checks for free, giving you a full report on the condition of all your tyres. Additionally, if it turns out that you need to have one of your tyres replaced then you can be advised on the right set for your vehicle and your budget.

Road law knowledge

While you may be well versed on the road laws in the UK, it is important to get a grasp on how these may differ while you are abroad. There is nothing more uncomfortable than having angry drivers around you, particularly when you are unsure why. Or worse, you do not want to find yourself pulled over by police for committing an offence that you were unaware of.

Make sure you research how road laws differ not only in the country that you are travelling to but also in the ones that you need to pass through. For example, in France and Italy, it is illegal to have a radar detector in your car or a sat nav with this function. Therefore, you must keep to the local speed limit at all times, particularly as these countries are known to enforce frequent checks.

Additionally, make sure you have any equipment on you that it is a legal requirement to have. In France you must have a warning triangle as well as your own 

  • On: 22 April 2014
  • By: CarShop

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