Top tips for driving abroad this summer

That dream foreign family driving holiday can turn into a nightmare with proper preparation.

That dream foreign family driving holiday can turn into a nightmare with proper preparation. - Credit: PA

A summer holiday on foreign roads certainly sounds ideal, but without the right preparation it can quickly turn into a nightmare trip.

With areas of Europe ever popular, and more people choosing to travel even further afield under their own steam, making sure that you're clear on local rules and regulations is important.

Nick Lloyd, road safety manager for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, said: 'When planning a trip abroad which involves driving it's easy to forget the basics.

'Check the rules of the road in the countries in which you will be driving so you know what documents or equipment you need to take with you.'

The best way to ensure that you're ready to hit the road is to check every aspect of your car. That means fuel, oil, water levels and the state of your car's battery. Checking a car's tyres is also imperative, as a blowout abroad could cause a serious headache.

If a car needs a service, make sure that this is done before heading out. Also, check that the country you're visiting doesn't require additional safety equipment in your vehicle. For instance, some countries require you to carry a full set of replacement bulbs. It only takes a minute to check, but doing so could help avoid a possible fine.

Another area to check is the drink-drive limits in foreign countries. Although it's always recommended to never drink before getting behind the wheel, even a small amount in your system can be potentially illegal.

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Mr Lloyd added: 'Remember to ensure that your car is in good mechanical order. If it needs a service, don't leave it until the day before you are due to depart, as this may not give the garage enough time to carry out unexpected repairs.'

When you start out driving in a foreign country, it can be daunting to travel on the 'wrong' side of the road. That said, it's important that you remain focused on areas such as junctions and roundabouts in order to avoid a potential collision. Even when pulling into a service area requires concentration, as it is here that low-speed accidents can sometimes happen.

Drivers need to fit their cars with beam deflectors too, as without them oncoming traffic is dazzled at night. It can also bring with it a fine should police pull you over. Reflective jackets are also needed for each occupant of the car in most countries.

There's also a phone number that motorists can use should they find themselves in difficulty. This can be used in any country, with drivers needing to simply dial 112 in order to speak to someone who can help. A warning triangle is necessary in all countries for exactly those situations.

Preparation is essential to a hassle-free driving trip abroad. By making a few small checks before heading out, there's no reason that a foreign driving holiday has to be a bad memory.