If you're embarking on a UK and Europe driving holiday soon, here are 13 little-known tips for self drive success.
1. Lost in France?
In larger cities, follow the sign for 'Toutes Directions" which literally means “All Directions”. Follow these and you'll be geared towards a major roundabout or intersection - with more signposts and the (greater) possibility of re-finding your route.
2. Failing to offer assistance to a person in danger is illegal.
In France, if you come across ANY car accident and don’t stop, you could be charged. Penalties include suspended prison sentences and fines.
3. By law, all drivers in France must have a high visibility jacket.
And ideally, all occupants too. The jackets have to be inside the car (not in the boot). A warning triangle is also obligatory for break downs. Don’t drive off without checking that you have both, because it's your responsibility, not the car rental's.
4. Left or right hand drive?
In Europe, only four countries drive on the left: United Kingdom, Ireland, Malta, and Cyprus.
5. UK motorways and dual carriageways.
Overtake on the right only. Undertaking is illegal and no one does it (try it and you might cause an accident, or at the very least you'll cop the abuse of annoyed drivers!) Remember, always keep left, except to pass.
6. For left hand drive.
The same rule applies – no undertaking. However, you’ll have to overtake on the left instead. Always keep right, except to pass.
7. The driver’s thank you.
There are more than 25 million cars on the road in the UK, so a little etiquette is well received. If another driver gives you right of way, wave (or nod) as a signal of thanks. Fail to do so at your own risk - you have been warned!
8. Flashing indicators.
At night you might see UK drivers flashing their indicators once on each side, or a single quick flash of their full beams. Panic not, this is how British drivers show gratitude when it’s dark.
9. Smoking in your car is illegal in Greece.
10. Yellow lines.
In Spain, if the road has NO yellow lines, it means no parking. Whereas in the UK, a yellow line means parking is strictly prohibited.
11. Don’t get annoyed behind the wheel in Germany.
Abusive language and naughty gestures also carry a motoring fine.
12. Stay lit in Scandinavia.
In some Scandinavian countries, it’s illegal to drive without your headlights on, even in daylight. Check before you push the stick into drive.
13. Spanish specs appeal.
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If you wear glasses, you’re required to carry a spare pair when driving on Spanish roads.