Know before you go: driving in Europe part 2

Aside from remembering to drive on the other side of the road, there are a few things that you need to keep in mind when driving on your next camping adventure.

We’ve put together a handy guide containing all the key things you need to know about the rules of the road in Europe. Last week we covered France, Italy and Spain. Read on below for part 2, covering Germany, the Netherlands, Austria, Switzerland and Croatia!

Germany: 

When driving in Germany, make sure you are carrying your important documents such as a valid driving license, proof of insurance, proof of ID and proof of ownership. You’re also required to carry the following items in your car:

  • Reflective jackets – to be used in the case of breakdowns or accidents
  • Warning triangle (only compulsory for vehicles registered in Germany)
  • Headlight beam deflectors (you can buy deflector stickers or adjust the beams manually depending on your car)
  • First aid kits (only compulsory for cars registered in Germany)
  • You must carry spare bulbs for your vehicle’s lights, unless it is fitted with xenon, neon, LED or similar lights

Children aged over 3 must sit in the rear of the vehicle and cannot be in a car without a car seat or seat belt. A child who is under 1.5m and under 12 must be seated in a child seat or restraint. All restraints and seats must conform to the ECE 44/03 norm.

The Netherlands: 

When driving in the Netherlands, if your car doesn’t already have Euro plates you must display a GB sticker on the back of your vehicle.

Alongside important documents (such as your valid driver’s licence, your motor insurance certificate and V5 registration document or hire car paperwork), it is recommended that you carry the following:

  • Spare bulbs for your car’s lights
  • Fire extinguisher
  • First aid kit
  • Camping Card International (gives you additional proof of identity, third party liability insurance, plus discounts at a wide range of campsites and tourist attractions)
  • Green Card (useful back-up to your motor insurance documents and shows you have got the minimum legal level of cover).

You don’t have to pay motorway tolls in the Netherlands.

Children aged under 3 must travel in the back of the car, while children between the ages of 3 and 12 can travel in both the back and front seats – however in all cases they must be in appropriate child seats or restraints.

If you’re driving into Amsterdam for a day trip remember that the trams have priority! Be sure to look out for cyclists and mopeds as well, they have right of way over cars.

Austria:

When driving in Austria, make sure you are carrying your important documents such as your valid driving license, proof of insurance, proof of ID and proof of ownership. You’re also required to carry the following items in your car:

  • Reflective jackets to be used in the case of breakdowns or accidents
  • Warning triangle
  • Headlight beam deflectors (you can buy deflector stickers or adjust the beams manually depending on your car)
  • First aid kit

Dashboard cameras are prohibited in Austria.

Children aged under 14 years and under 1.5m tall must use special seat belts or child restraints whether sitting in the front or rear of the car.

Switzerland:

When driving in Switzerland you must display a GB sticker in the rear of your vehicle even if you already have Euro plates. You must also display a motorway sticker when driving on the motorway, these are available to buy at the border and at most petrol stations.

Alongside your valid driver’s licence and insurance certificate, your car must be carrying:

  • Warning triangle
  • Headlamp converter stickers
  • If you usually wear glasses or contact lenses, you must carry a spare pair with you in the car

Additionally, it is a good idea to have the following:

  • Spare bulbs for your car’s lights
  • First aid kit
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Camping Card International (gives you additional proof of identity, third party liability insurance, plus discounts at a wide range of campsites and tourist attractions)
  • Green Card (useful back-up to your motor insurance documents and shows you’ve got the minimum legal level of cover)

Croatia: 

If you’re driving through Croatia, make sure you are carrying your important documents such as your valid driving license, proof of insurance, proof of ID and proof of ownership. You’re also required to carry the following items in your car:

  • Reflective jackets to be used in the case of breakdowns or accidents
  • Warning triangle
  • Headlight beam deflectors (you can buy deflector stickers or adjust the beams manually depending on your car)
  • First aid kits are compulsory
  • You must carry spare bulbs for your vehicle’s lights, unless it is fitted with xenon, neon, LED or similar lights

As it is the law in Croatia to carry these items, if you’re stopped without them then you may face an on-the-spot fine.

Children under 12 must ride in the back.

 

You can find more information on driving in Europe on the RAC website. If you are renting a car on a fly-drive journey, be sure to double check whether you will be provided with the necessary equipment for your vehicle, or if you need to purchase it ahead of time.

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