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If you’re planning to take the long drive abroad, don’t forget your driving licence, but also think about getting an International Driving Permit, (so plan ahead of your journey and route) which shows that you have a driving licence in the UK. You may not need this permit for most European Union countries, but it can be useful to carry anyway. The aim of this permit is to cut down problems caused by language differences. It can come in handy as an identity document if you lose your passport.
Also, take your Vehicle Registration Document. If you can’t take the original because it’s a company car or you’ve borrowed or hired it, you will need a letter of authority from the owner or a Vehicle on Hire Certificate (VE103B) instead.
If you’re taking your own car abroad, check with your insurer whether you should have a Green Card (International Motor Insurance Certificate). Again, you won’t need this documentation for many of the EU countries, but you do need it in other places. It simply shows that you have insurance cover for the country you’re visiting, but check exactly how much cover your policy gives you while outside the UK.
Before you go, attach a GB sign to the back of your car or caravan. Don’t forget that if you’re driving on the other side of the road, you will need converters to attach to your headlamps to adjust the direction of the beam so that it doesn’t dazzle oncoming drivers. Pack a First Aid kit, fire extinguisher, warning triangle, and spare light bulbs. They’re required by law in many countries, but even if they’re not, it’s a good idea to have them in case you need them. Take a spare set of keys. You can’t imagine the trouble and expense this precaution can save you if you lose your first set. And breakdown cover can be a real blessing. If you already belong to a motoring organisation, you may be covered already, or it may be able to extend your cover. Don’t forget your passport and any visas you may need.
When you’re in another country, you must obey its rules of the road. Find out as much as you can about the speed limits and priorities at junctions before you go. If you break the law in some countries, such as France, you can be pursued for that offence once back home in the UK.