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Legal guide to UK motoring, sections for law enforcement, Driver licensing, learner and new drivers, buying and selling, speeding fines, owning a vehicle, wheel clamping, traffic information.

1 Before you leave…..
First of all check your and other travellers, especially children's passports are not out of date and that your driving license is valid for overseas driving. Provisional licences will not allow the owner to drive while abroad. The new photocard full licence is the one recognised in Europe. Being a foreign driver may mean you have a maximum speed limit applied to you, which may be slightly under that countries normal limit. Drivers must be over 18 years old.

Get your car serviced before you leave. Have everything checked and tell the garage of your choice that you are driving abroad. Simple or cheap jobs can be considerably more expensive abroad and can seriously damage your holiday budget. Obviously, not everything can be accounted for but our advice is to check and replace if needed the filters, belts and all fluid levels like water, oil and coolant levels. Check your tyres and brakes, wipers and battery. Get this work carried out a short while before you intend to travel to allow some time for parts to be ordered if required. Once fixed make sure you drive the car to make sure whatever work has been carried out was done properly. Better to discover a few problems now than when on uncharted roads!

Before you go, buy roadmaps and use the information on this site to familiarise yourself with that countries road signs and various rules and laws. Check the roads you want to take before you set off, look out for roadworks or delays, make sure the map you use is up to date. It is a good idea to make an estimate of how long you expect your journey to take. This will allow you to take regular breaks and stops for food if needed and not fall behind. Driving while tired should not be done, especially on foreign roads.

Make sure you plan your route properly before you set off. Understanding maps and directions while trying to navigate your way on the opposite side of the road and notice road signs while attempting to read a map is not recommended.

Notify your insurance company that you will be driving abroad and extend or amend the policy accordingly
Take out travel insurance and breakdown insurance and remember to take it out early enough to get the information through the post so you can take it with you, they are no good at home when you break down in the south of France!

You will also need to take your full driving licence, paper and card. Full registration documents and insurance papers. If an international driving licence is required, take that too. Keep them all together safe in a folder so there is no chance of misplacing any of them.
It is advisable to make copies of all the relevant aforementioned documents and leave them with a friend or relative back home you you can contact if need be.

A white GB sticker must be applied if you are taking your vehicle abroad or on holiday with you.
Differences between various countries' laws will be explained later, but to comply with most, a warning triangle, a complete set of bulbs and a first aid kit. Some countries require you to have enough illouminus jackets for every person in the car in case you break down on the motorway. More about this later.

Your cars headlights are designed to work while driving on the left side of the road, so when driving in a foreign roads it is thoughtful to purchase beam deflectors so you don't dazzle oncoming motorists.

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2 While travelling
Give yourself plenty of time to get to the port tunnel or first planned stop or rest place. Driving fast will put you in danger and get you arrested before you have even begun your trip.

It is vitally important to know your route. Riving on the right side of the road in a right hand side drive car is very confusing at first. Adjust all mirrors accordingly and ensure you are confident enough not to make a mistake, which could be extremely costly.

You can never allow your concentration to waver. At home driving is automatic, and if you allow yourself to slip into your normal routine you will almost certainly have a crash, which in a foreign country is the last thing you want to do.

Think in opposites. In this country, turning left in most cases only requires you too look right, in another country it will be right turns that are predominantly easier to take. Roundabouts will be the opposite direction while slip roads will be on the right side not left. Driving on a motorway will be concerning at first, with cars whizzing past your off-side you may feel un- easy but take some time to adjust and you should be fine.

The most common times for concern are when leaving a petrol station or after you have stopped for some time to refresh. We recommend that the driver focus solely on the task of driving without distractions.

If you still feel unsure, it may be a very good idea to tape a piece of paper on the steering wheel or somewhere in your line of sight, but not obstructing your view, which reminds you. Something like, 'REMEMBER, DRIVE ON THE RIGHT' should do the trick!

Use only well lit, busy areas to stop and take a break. Carry on if the roadside café or service area looks half closed down or people there put you in a nervous disposition. Car crime and theft is as common as it is on our shores, so while it may not be possible for you to put everything in the vehicle out of sight, make sure your car is securely locked. If you are towing or have items on a roof rack, make sure they are secure.

Tiredness is the biggest killer on UK roads today, so with the added difficulties of driving in another country it should be the drivers main priority to take regular brakes to ensure his/her safety and that of the passengers and other road users.

Take along plenty of water and snacks for the journey. If you have children, trying to keep them entertained throughout a long car journey becomes extremely important for everyone's sanity! Plenty of travel games are available. Take some favourite CD's and audio stories so passengers should never get bored.

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3 Safety and Legal Advice
As a foreign driver it is essential that you obey the laws and etequette of the country you are driving on. Police officers will take an extreemly dim view of a foreigner driving recklessly, over the limit or deliberately going asgainst the laws of the road.

Always wear your seatbelt.

As a foreign driver, you would expect to take the blame in case of an accident. Therefore, never admit liability or apologise. People will throw the book at a foreign driver, behaving wrecklessly on their roads, as youwould expect. If the accident is very serious, call the police immediately. Take all persons' involved number plates and car details along with names, addreses and contact details. It is advisable to take a photograph of the scene for future reference.

Most countries drink driving policies are stricter than our own, so don't risk drinking and driving. In scandanavian countries, a glass of wine will place you over the limit, so our advice is to just not risk it at all.When you want to drink, leave your car at home, just like you would back in the UK. There are no excuses.
Tiredness is the biggest killer on any roads, and as a foreign driver, your chances of a crash are dramatically increased, and increased again when tired, don't push yourself and if possible, swap driving duties with someone.

Always be aware for potential thieves. Never ever pick up hitch - hickers and never ask people to show you directions. Ask a garage or roadside shop, not strangers. Be wary of double acts in car parks and service stations, while one person pretends to help you, the other may be stealing stuff from your backseat or roof rack.

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Specific country's laws regarding cars and safety
1 Austria
2 Belgium
3 Germany
4 Denmark
5 France
6 Italy
7 Luxembourg
8 Netherlands
9 Norway
10 Spain
11 Switzerland

1 Austria

Children in cars: child under 12 and 1.5 metres in height cannot travel as front or rear passenger unless they use a suitable restraint system.

Documentation: always carry your driving licence, vehicle registration document (V5), and certificate of motor insurance. If your licence does not incorporate a photograph ensure you carry your passport to validate the licence. If the vehicle is not registered in your name, carry a letter from the registered owner giving you permission to drive.

Drinking and driving: Don't do it. You will be fined if the level of alcohol in the bloodstream is between 0.05 per cent and 0.08 per cent. Over this level and you will incur a fine and/or suspension of driving licence.

Fines: On the spot fines are issued. Ensure an official receipt is issued by the officer collecting the fine.
First-aid kit must be carried.

Fuel: All grades of unleaded petrol, diesel and LPG are available as well as lead substitute additive. It is allowed to carry petrol in a can. Credit and debit cards are widely accepted, although they probably won't work at automatic pumps. At many garages in rural areas only automatic pumps are available at lunch time, during the evening and weekend, so make sure you're topped up. It's a good idea to let your card issuer know you will be travelling abroad. This ensures they don't suspend your card if they spot it being used in unfamiliar places, which they sometimes do as an anti-fraud measure.

GB sticker: UK registered vehicles displaying Euro-plates (circle of 12 stars above the national identifier on blue background) no longer need a GB sticker when driving in European Union countries.

Headlamp converters are compulsory.

Lights: dipped headlights must be used in poor daytime visibility. Motorcycles must use dipped headlights during the day at all times.
Minimum age for driving, provided you hold a full UK licence, is 18 for a car, 18 for a motorcycle over 50cc, and 16 for a motorcycle under 50cc.

Motorcycle drivers and passengers must wear crash helmets.

Motor insurance: third-party insurance is compulsory. A green card is not required but your insurer should be advised of your trip.

Seat belts are compulsory for front and rear seat occupants, if fitted.

Visibility Vests are now compulsory in Italy, Austria and Spain (and likely to become compulsory throughout the EU) if you need to walk on a motorway. In Spain we've been told you need a vest for every potential occupant of the car, and that they must be carried inside the car, rather than in the boot. Other sources have said you don't have to carry one, but if you breakdown on the motorway you will be breaking the law if you walk to an emergency phone without one. We're trying to clarify the position.

Warning triangle is compulsory.

Be especially careful when setting off from service stations or restaurants on the left side of the road. Take care when overtaking - allow more space between you and the car in front so you can see further down the road ahead. Austria has strict drink driving laws, only allowing 0.25 milligrams of alcohol per litre of blood - stricter than the UK where the limit is 0.4. Seat belts front and rear are obligatory everywhere. Speed limits, shown below, are implemented rigorously. Radar traps are frequent. In Austria, and heavy on-the-spot fines can be levied. Remember - Speeding and other traffic offences are subject to on-the-spot fines

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2- Belgium

Children in cars: children under 3 cannot travel as front-seat passenger unless they use a proper child restraint system. Children under 3 in the rear must use a proper child restraint if one is available. Children over 3 and under 12 must use appropriate restraints front and rear.

Documentation: always carry your driving licence, vehicle registration document (V5), and certificate of motor insurance. If your licence does not incorporate a photograph ensure you carry your passport to validate the licence. If the vehicle is not registered in your name, carry a letter from the registered owner giving you permission to drive.

Drinking and driving: Don't do it. You will be fined up to 125€ on the spot if the level of alcohol in the bloodstream is between 0.05 per cent and 0.08 per cent. You will also have to surrender your licence for 3 hours. You could be prosecuted, which could result in a fine of up to 2,500€. Over this level and fines shoot up to 10,000€, and you could face prosecution with a maximum penalty of 6 months in prison and a 5 year suspension of your licence.

Fines: On the spot fines are issued. Ensure an official receipt is issued by the officer collecting the fine. As a foreign motorist you could refuse to pay the fine, but if you do you must offer a surety or run the risk of having your vehicle impounded.
First-aid kit is advised, but not compulsory.

Fuel: All grades of unleaded petrol, diesel and LPG are available as well as lead substitute additive. Leaded is getting hard to find. It is allowed to carry petrol in a can. Credit and debit cards are widely accepted, although they probably won't work at automatic pumps, which are often the only pumps open out-of-hours. It's a good idea to let your card issuer know you will be travelling abroad. This ensures they don't suspend your card if they spot it being used in unfamiliar places, which they sometimes do as an anti-fraud measure.

GB sticker: UK registered vehicles displaying Euro-plates (circle of 12 stars above the national identifier on blue background) no longer need a GB sticker when driving in European Union countries.

Headlamp converters are compulsory.

Lights: dipped headlights must be used in poor daytime visibility. Motorcycles must use dipped headlights during the day at all times.
Minimum age for driving, provided you hold a full UK licence, is 18 for a car and motorcycle.

Motorcycle drivers and passengers must wear crash helmets.

Motor insurance: third-party insurance is compulsory. A green card is not required but your insurer should be advised of your trip.

Seat belts are compulsory for front and rear seat occupants, if fitted.

Visibility Vests are now compulsory in Italy, Austria and Spain (and likely to become compulsory throughout the EU) if you need to walk on a motorway. In Spain we've been told you need a vest for every potential occupant of the car, and that they must be carried inside the car, rather than in the boot. Other sources have said you don't have to carry one, but if you breakdown on the motorway you will be breaking the law if you walk to an emergency phone without one. We're trying to clarify the position.

Warning triangle is compulsory.

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3 Germany

Bulb replacement set is advised, but not compulsory.

Children in cars: children under 12 or 1.5 metres tall are not allowed to travel unless using an appropriate restraint.

Documentation: always carry your driving licence, vehicle registration document (V5), and certificate of motor insurance. If your licence does not incorporate a photograph ensure you carry your passport to validate the licence. If the vehicle is not registered in your name, carry a letter from the registered owner giving you permission to drive.

Drinking and driving: Don't do it. Over 0.05 per cent and you could face fines, endorsement or even imprisonment, depending on the severity of the offence.

Fines: On the spot fines are issued. Just about every possible driving offence can be subject to a fine, even running out of fuel on the Autobahn! Ensure an official receipt is issued by the officer collecting the fine.

First-aid kit is compulsory.

Fuel: All grades of unleaded petrol, diesel and LPG are available as well as lead substitute additive. Leaded no longer exists. It is allowed to carry petrol in a can. Credit and debit cards are widely accepted, although they probably won't work at automatic pumps, which are often the only pumps open out-of-hours. It's a good idea to let your card issuer know you will be travelling abroad. This ensures they don't suspend your card if they spot it being used in unfamiliar places, which they sometimes do as an anti-fraud measure.

GB sticker: UK registered vehicles displaying Euro-plates (circle of 12 stars above the national identifier on blue background) no longer need a GB sticker when driving in European Union countries.

Headlamp converters are compulsory.

Lights: dipped headlights must be used in poor daytime visibility. Motorcycles must use dipped headlights during the day at all times.

Minimum age for driving, provided you hold a full UK licence, is 17 for a car and motorcycle.

Motorcycle drivers and passengers must wear crash helmets.

Motor insurance: third-party insurance is compulsory. A green card is not required but your insurer should be advised of your trip.

Seat belts are compulsory for front and rear seat occupants, if fitted.

Visibility Vests are now compulsory in Italy, Austria and Spain (and likely to become compulsory throughout the EU) if you need to walk on a motorway. In Spain we've been told you need a vest for every potential occupant of the car, and that they must be carried inside the car, rather than in the boot. Other sources have said you don't have to carry one, but if you breakdown on the motorway you will be breaking the law if you walk to an emergency phone without one. We're trying to clarify the position.

Warning triangle is compulsory

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4 Denmark

Children in cars: children under 3 cannot travel unless they use a proper child restraint system. Children under 3 in the rear must use a proper child restraint if one is available. Children over 3 must use appropriate restraints front and rear.

Documentation: always carry your driving licence, vehicle registration document (V5), and certificate of motor insurance. If your licence does not incorporate a photograph ensure you carry your passport to validate the licence. If the vehicle is not registered in your name, carry a letter from the registered owner giving you permission to drive.

Drinking and driving: Don't do it. Anything over 0.05 per cent and you could face anything up to imprisonment. Fines: On the spot fines are issued for the infringement of all traffic regulations. Ensure an official receipt is issued by the officer collecting the fine.

Fire extinguisher is advised, but not compulsory.

First-aid kit is advised, but not compulsory.

Fuel: All grades of unleaded petrol, diesel and LPG are available as well as lead substitute additive. No leaded. It is allowed to carry petrol in a can. Credit and debit cards are widely accepted, although they probably won't work at automatic pumps, which are often the only pumps open out-of-hours. It's a good idea to let your card issuer know you will be travelling abroad. This ensures they don't suspend your card if they spot it being used in unfamiliar places, which they sometimes do as an anti-fraud measure.

GB sticker: UK registered vehicles displaying Euro-plates (circle of 12 stars above the national identifier on blue background) no longer need a GB sticker when driving in European Union countries.

Headlamp converters are compulsory.

Lights: as in the rest of Scandinavia cars and motorcycles must use dipped headlights during the day.

Minimum age for driving, provided you hold a full UK licence, is 18 for a car and motorcycle.

Motorcycle drivers and passengers must wear crash helmets.

Motor insurance: third-party insurance is compulsory. A green card is not required but your insurer should be advised of your trip. Seat belts are compulsory for front and rear seat occupants, if fitted.

Visibility Vests are now compulsory in Italy, Austria and Spain (and likely to become compulsory throughout the EU) if you need to walk on a motorway. In Spain we've been told you need a vest for every potential occupant of the car, and that they must be carried inside the car, rather than in the boot. Other sources have said you don't have to carry one, but if you breakdown on the motorway you will be breaking the law if you walk to an emergency phone without one. We're trying to clarify the position.

Warning triangle is compulsory.

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5 France

Children in cars: children under 10 are not allowed in the front. In the rear they must use a proper restraint system appropriate to their weight, which means a child seat if they weigh between 9 and 15 kg. Over this weight they can use seat belts with a booster cushion.

Documentation: always carry your driving licence, vehicle registration document (V5), and certificate of motor insurance. If your licence does not incorporate a photograph ensure you carry your passport to validate the licence. If the vehicle is not registered in your name, carry a letter from the registered owner giving you permission to drive.

Drinking and driving: Don't do it. Over 0.05 per cent and you could face anything up to imprisonment. Fines: On the spot fines are issued. Ensure an official receipt is issued by the officer collecting the fine.

First-aid kit is advised, but not compulsory.

Fuel: All grades of unleaded petrol, diesel and LPG are available as well as lead substitute additive. Leaded no longer exists. It is allowed to carry petrol in a can. Credit and debit cards are widely accepted, although they probably won't work at automatic pumps, which are often the only pumps in rural areas open out-of-hours, which also means lunch-time form noon to 3pm. It's a good idea to let your card issuer know you will be travelling abroad. This ensures they don't suspend your card if they spot it being used in unfamiliar places, which they sometimes do as an anti-fraud measure.

GB sticker: UK registered vehicles displaying Euro-plates (circle of 12 stars above the national identifier on blue background) no longer need a GB sticker when driving in European Union countries. Headlamp converters are compulsory. Lights: dipped headlights must be used in poor daytime visibility.

Motorcycles over 125cc must use dipped headlights during the day at all times.

Minimum age for driving, provided you hold a full UK licence, is 18 for a car and a motorcycle over 125cc and 15 for a motorcycle under 125cc.

Motorcycle drivers and passengers must wear crash helmets.

Motor insurance: third-party insurance is compulsory. A green card is not required but your insurer should be advised of your trip. Road signs in France. Seat belts are compulsory for front and rear seat occupants, if fitted.

Visibility Vests are now compulsory in Italy, Austria and Spain (and likely to become compulsory throughout the EU) if you need to walk on a motorway. In Spain we've been told you need a vest for every potential occupant of the car, and that they must be carried inside the car, rather than in the boot. Other sources have said you don't have to carry one, but if you breakdown on the motorway you will be breaking the law if you walk to an emergency phone without one. We're trying to clarify the position.

Warning triangle is highly recommended, although hazard flashers can be used. One or the other is compulsory

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6 Italy

Children in cars: children under four cannot travel unless they use a suitable restraint system. Children between four and 12 cannot travel in the front unless using a suitable restraint system.

Documentation: always carry your driving licence, vehicle registration document (V5), and certificate of motor insurance. If your licence does not incorporate a photograph ensure you carry your passport to validate the licence. If the vehicle is not registered in your name, carry a letter from the registered owner giving you permission to drive.

Drinking and driving: Don't do it. Over 0.05 per cent and you could face anything up to imprisonment.

Fines: On the spot fines are issued. Ensure an official receipt is issued by the officer collecting the fine.

First-aid kit is advised, but not compulsory.

Fuel: All grades of unleaded petrol (benzina), diesel (gasolio) and LPG are available as well as lead substitute additive. Leaded no longer exists. It is allowed to carry petrol in a can. Credit and debit cards are widely accepted, although they probably won't work at automatic pumps, which are often the only pumps open out-of-hours and at lunch-time (from noon to 3pm) away from the Autoroutes. It's a good idea to let your card issuer know you will be travelling abroad. This ensures they don't suspend your card if they spot it being used in unfamiliar places, which they sometimes do as an anti-fraud measure.

GB sticker: UK registered vehicles displaying Euro-plates (circle of 12 stars above the national identifier on blue background) no longer need a GB sticker when driving in European Union countries. Headlamp converters are compulsory. Horns are widely used to warn other vehicles of your approach, although they are officially banned in built-up areas.

Lights: dipped headlights must be used in poor daytime visibility, and in all tunnels at all times. They must also be used when on motorways, and (we believe) dual carriageways, and (again we believe) on all out of town roads as from August 2004.

Motorcycles must use dipped headlights during the day at all times.

Minimum age for driving, provided you hold a full UK licence, is 18 for a car and for a motorcycle over 125cc. If you've got an old-style all-green licence you might find the police will not understand them, so either get them up-dated or take an International Driving Permit as well.

Motorcycle drivers and passengers must wear crash helmets.

Motor insurance: third-party insurance is compulsory. A green card is not required but your insurer should be advised of your trip. Seat belts are compulsory for front and rear seat occupants, if fitted.

Speed limits: From 1 January 2003 some three-lane motorways with emergency lanes may have a speed limit of 93mph (150km/h). Visibility Vests are now compulsory in Italy, Austria and Spain (and likely to become compulsory throughout the EU) if you need to walk on a motorway.

Warning triangle is compulsory.

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7 luxembourg

Children in cars: children under 12 or 1.5 metres tall cannot travel in the front unless they use a proper child restraint system. Children under 3 in the rear must use a proper child restraint. Children over 3 can use appropriate restraints in the rear, but can only use the lap part of a full seat belt..

Documentation: always carry your driving licence, vehicle registration document (V5), and certificate of motor insurance. If your licence does not incorporate a photograph ensure you carry your passport to validate the licence. If the vehicle is not registered in your name, carry a letter from the registered owner giving you permission to drive.

Drinking and driving: Don't do it. Anything over 0.08 per cent and you could face anything up to imprisonment.

Fines: On the spot fines are issued for the infringement of all traffic regulations. Ensure an official receipt is issued by the officer collecting the fine. Fire extinguisher is advised, but not compulsory.

First-aid kit is advised, but not compulsory.

Fuel: All grades of unleaded petrol, diesel and LPG are available as well as lead substitute additive. No Leaded. It is allowed to carry petrol in a can. Credit and debit cards are widely accepted, although they probably won't work at automatic pumps, which are often the only pumps open out-of-hours. It's a good idea to let your card issuer know you will be travelling abroad. This ensures they don't suspend your card if they spot it being used in unfamiliar places, which they sometimes do as an anti-fraud measure.

GB sticker: UK registered vehicles displaying Euro-plates (circle of 12 stars above the national identifier on blue background) no longer need a GB sticker when driving in European Union countries. Headlamp converters are compulsory. Lights: flash your headlights when overtaking during the night. Minimum age for driving, provided you hold a full UK licence, is 17 for a car and motorcycle.

Motorcycle drivers and passengers must wear crash helmets.

Children under 12 are not allowed on motorbikes.

Motor insurance: third-party insurance is compulsory. A green card is not required but your insurer should be advised of your trip.

Seat belts are compulsory for front and rear seat occupants, if fitted.

 

Netherlands

Speed limits: visiting motorists holding a licence for less than 2 years cannot exceed 75 km/h.

Warning triangle is recommended as its use is compulsory Netherlands

Children in cars: children under 12 and 1.5 metres tall cannot travel in the front unless they use a proper child restraint system. Children under 3 in the rear must use a proper child restraint if one is available. Children over 3 must use appropriate restraints in the rear.

Documentation: always carry your driving licence, vehicle registration document (V5), and certificate of motor insurance. If your licence does not incorporate a photograph ensure you carry your passport to validate the licence. If the vehicle is not registered in your name, carry a letter from the registered owner giving you permission to drive.

Drinking and driving: Don't do it. Anything over 0.05 per cent and you could face anything up to imprisonment. Fines: On the spot fines are issued for the infringement of all traffic regulations. Ensure an official receipt is issued by the officer collecting the fine.

Fire extinguisher is advised, but not compulsory.

First-aid kit is advised, but not compulsory.

Fuel: All grades of unleaded petrol, diesel and LPG are available as well as lead substitute additive. No leaded. It is allowed to carry petrol in a can. Credit and debit cards are widely accepted, although they probably won't work at automatic pumps. It's a good idea to let your card issuer know you will be travelling abroad. This ensures they don't suspend your card if they spot it being used in unfamiliar places, which they sometimes do as an anti-fraud measure.

GB sticker: UK registered vehicles displaying Euro-plates (circle of 12 stars above the national identifier on blue background) no longer need a GB sticker when driving in European Union countries. Headlamp converters are compulsory. Lights: There is no obligation but a recommendation to use dipped headlights on open roads and during poor visibility.

Motorcycles must use dipped headlights during the day at all times.

Minimum age for driving, provided you hold a full UK licence, is 18 for a car and motorcycle. Motorcycle drivers and passengers must wear crash helmets.

Motor insurance: third-party insurance is compulsory. A green card is not required but your insurer should be advised of your trip. Seat belts are compulsory for front and rear seat occupants, if fitted.

Warning triangle is advised, as its use is compulsory.

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Norway

Children in cars: children under 4 cannot travel unless they use a rear-facing child seat.

Documentation: always carry your driving licence, vehicle registration document (V5), and certificate of motor insurance. If your licence does not incorporate a photograph ensure you carry your passport to validate the licence. If the vehicle is not registered in your name, carry a letter from the registered owner giving you permission to drive.

Drinking and driving: Don't do it. The limit is very low (equivalent to a small glass of wine or half a pint of weak beer). Anything over 0.02 per cent and you could face anything up to imprisonment.

Fines: On the spot fines are issued for the infringement of minor traffic regulations. Ensure an official receipt is issued by the officer collecting the fine.

Fire extinguisher is advised, but not compulsory.

First-aid kit is advised, but not compulsory.

Fuel: All grades of unleaded petrol, diesel and some LPG are available as well as lead substitute additive. No leaded. It is allowed to carry petrol in a can. Credit and debit cards are widely accepted, although they probably won't work at automatic pumps. It's a good idea to let your card issuer know you will be travelling abroad. This ensures they don't suspend your card if they spot it being used in unfamiliar places, which they sometimes do as an anti-fraud measure.

GB Sticker is compulsory.

Headlamp converters are compulsory.

Lights: You must use dipped headlights during the day. Minimum age for driving, provided you hold a full UK licence, is 17 for a car and motorcycle.

Motorcycle drivers and passengers must wear crash helmets.

Motor insurance: third-party insurance is compulsory. A green card is not required but your insurer should be advised of your trip. Replacement bulb kit is advised, but not compulsory. Seat belts are compulsory for front and rear seat occupants, if fitted.

Warning triangle is compulsory.

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Spain

Children in cars: Children under 12 cannot travel in the front unless using a suitable restraint system.

Documentation: always carry your driving licence, vehicle registration document (V5), and certificate of motor insurance. If your licence does not incorporate a photograph ensure you carry your passport to validate the licence. If the vehicle is not registered in your name, carry a letter from the registered owner giving you permission to drive.

Drinking and driving: Don't do it. Over 0.05 per cent and you could face anything from a severe fine, withdrawal of your licence, up to imprisonment.

Fines: On the spot fines are issued. Ensure an official receipt is issued by the officer collecting the fine.

First-aid kit is advised, but not compulsory.

Fuel: All grades of unleaded petrol (benzin), diesel (gasoleo 'A') and LPG are available as well as lead substitute additive. Leaded no longer exists. It is allowed to carry petrol in a can. Credit and debit cards are widely accepted, although they probably won't work at automatic pumps, which are often the only pumps open out-of-hours and at lunch-time (from noon to 3pm) away from the Autoroutes. It's a good idea to let your card issuer know you will be travelling abroad. This ensures they don't suspend your card if they spot it being used in unfamiliar places, which they sometimes do as an anti-fraud measure.

GB sticker: UK registered vehicles displaying Euro-plates (circle of 12 stars above the national identifier on blue background) no longer need a GB sticker when driving in European Union countries.

Glasses (Spectacles): wearers must carry a spare pair in the car at all times.

Headlamp converters are compulsory.

Lights: dipped headlights should be used in poor daytime visibility.

Motorcycles must use dipped headlights during the day at all times.

Minimum age for driving, provided you hold a full UK licence, is 18 for a car and for a motorcycle over 75cc. If you've got an old-style all-green licence you might find the police will not understand them, so either get them up-dated or take an International Driving Permit as well.

Motorcycle drivers and passengers must wear crash helmets.

Motor insurance: third-party insurance is compulsory. A green card is not required but your insurer should be advised of your trip. Replacement bulb set is compulsory. Seat belts are compulsory for front and rear seat occupants, if fitted.

Warning triangle is compulsory. One only is required for non-Spanish registered vehicles. Two required for Spanish vehicles, but to avoid difficulties with the police we recommend two triangles should be carried.

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Switzerland

Autobahn tolls: In Switzerland you pay an annual motorway tax, even if you're only using the motorways for an hour or two. A vehicle sticker, or vignette, (in 2003 costing CHF40 for vehicles up to 3.5 tonnes maximum total weight) must be displayed on the windscreen by all vehicles. Of course, if you don't need to use a motorway you don't need to pay, although it's difficult to cross the country without doing so. If you don't display a vignette you'll be liable to a fine of CHF100 plus the cost of the vignette.You can buy the stickers in the UK from the Swiss Centre. Call them on freephone 00800 100 20030 for information. You can also buy them in Switzerland from customs offices at the frontier or service stations, garages and post offices

Children in cars: children under 7 cannot travel in the front unless they use a proper child restraint. Children between 7 and 12 must use seat belts or child restraints which are appropriate to their size and age.

Documentation: always carry your driving licence, vehicle registration document (V5), and certificate of motor insurance. If your licence does not incorporate a photograph ensure you carry your passport to validate the licence. If the vehicle is not registered in your name, carry a letter from the registered owner giving you permission to drive.

Drinking and driving: Don't do it. Anything over 0.08 per cent and you could face anything up to imprisonment.

Fines: On the spot fines for infringing some traffic regulations. Ensure an official receipt is issued by the officer collecting the fine.

Fire extinguisher is advised, but not compulsory.

First-aid kit is advised, but not compulsory.

Fuel: All grades of unleaded petrol, diesel and some LPG are available as well as lead substitute additive. No leaded. It is allowed to carry petrol in a can. Credit and debit cards are widely accepted, although they probably won't work at automatic pumps. It's a good idea to let your card issuer know you will be travelling abroad. This ensures they don't suspend your card if they spot it being used in unfamiliar places, which they sometimes do as an anti-fraud measure.

GB Sticker is compulsory.

Headlamp converters are compulsory.

Lights: You are required to use dipped headlights during the day. Minimum age for driving, provided you hold a full UK licence, is 18 for a car and motorcycle over 125cc, and 16 for a motorcycle under 125cc.

Motorcycle drivers and passengers must wear crash helmets.

Motor insurance: third-party insurance is compulsory. A green card is not required but your insurer should be advised of your trip.

Replacement bulb kit is advised, but not compulsory.

Seat belts are compulsory for front and rear seat occupants, if fitted. Spectacles: if you wear spectacles for driving, you must carry a spare pair in the car.

Warning triangle is compulsory.

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Information Table

Country Motorway Open Road Town Alcohol mg/litre
Austria 130 km/h 100 km/h 50 km/h 0.25
Belgium 120 km/h 90 km/h 50km/h 0.25
Denmark 130 km/h 80 km/h 50 km/h 0.25
France 130 km/h(110 when wet) 90 km/h 50 km/h 0.25
Germany none unless shown 100 km/h 50 km/h 0.25
Italy 130 km/h 90 km/h 50 km/h 0.4
Luxembourg 120 km/h 90 km/h 60 km/h 0.4
Netherlands 120/110 km/h 80 km/h 50 km/h 0.25
Norway 90 km/h 80 km/h 50 km/h 0.1
Spain 120 km/h 100 km/h 50 km/h 0.25 (0.1 for new drivers)
Switzerland 120 km/h 80 km/h 50 km/h 0.4

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