Get your car in order for a drive to Europe

If you are planning a road trip to Europe then you and your car should both be prepared for the long journey ahead.

Summer is by far and away the most popular time of year to go on holiday and for many this means going on a trip abroad. What's more, some people enjoy the freedom of being able to take their own car as they drive about the continent.

However, those that are planning to make this journey should plan carefully to make sure that their car is in good working order, that they have the right equipment and that they have planned their trip carefully.

Indeed, when undertaking a long drive through Europe there are a great many points to consider. For example, the Institute of Advanced Motoring (IAM) recently released some advice on driving in Italy and uncovered a range of things that many drivers may not have thought of.

Chief examiner at IAM Peter Rodger said: “Driving from London to Rome takes a gruelling 20 hours, so preparing yourself and your car is essential. Check all of your lights are working and that your tyres have enough tread, aren’t damaged and have the right pressure. Plan your journey to include rest stops, preferably every two hours, and if you’re tired, stop and sleep for as long as you need to. You should never plan this as a non-stop journey.

“To get to Italy you may have to drive through France [...] All drivers and riders must also comply with any other French rules while in France.”

This shows the breadth of the considerations that drivers face when in Europe and each needs to be considered wherever they are going.

The Car

As Mr Rodger stated, making sure your car is properly prepared ahead of the journey is essential to avoid a breakdown while on foreign roads.

At the very least, drivers should check the fluid levels in their cars, such as coolant, oil and washer fluid. They should also make sure that their tyres are in good condition by checking them over for bulges, lumps and tears, as well as ensuring that their tread is deep enough. Lights are also an important aspect as it is the law to have these on at all times while the vehicle is in motion in some countries.

It is worth getting an expert to look over your car to find out if it is in good working condition, ready for the journey ahead. If your car is due a service then getting this done before driving to Europe is most certainly a good idea.

A technician will be able to uncover areas that may not be immediately apparent to the driver and fix them with a lot more ease and expertise than the driver may be capable of. They will also be able to advise on the best way to proceed with any repairs needed according to the driver's budget.

The Equipment

Once the car is properly prepared then the next step is to make sure it has the right equipment on board to ensure it stays within the bounds of the law while abroad, not to mention is packed efficiently.

It is important to note that in a number of European countries drivers are required by law to have a high-vis jacket and a warning triangle on board so that these can be set up in the event of a breakdown.

Additionally, in France, which it is often necessary to drive through when on the way to other locations in Europe, you must also carry your own breathalyser. This must be compliant with NF certification.

Of course, there is also the need to have the right equipment to make packing your car much easier, especially if you are going away for a long period of time. It could be worth investing in a roof rack and roof box so that you can keep your possessions on top of the car rather than having them on show on the back seat or blocking up your rear window. 

The Driver

It is as important as these other two points to make sure that the driver is always in a fit state to drive throughout the journey.

You should make sure you are properly equipped with the knowledge of relevant road laws so that you do not get pulled over by police unexpectedly. Additionally, avoid drinking alcohol at all as the limit in the UK tends to be higher than that of other countries in Europe.

Lastly, remember to take regular breaks and eat well so that you are well energised and alert throughout.

  • On: 01 July 2014
  • By: CarShop

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