Drivers could be breaking the law abroad because of incorrect kit

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File photo dated 21/12/16 of a driver blowing into a breathalyser. Police have launched a summer crackdown on the "menace" of drink and drug driving.

Drivers could be breaking the law abroad because of incorrect kit

Varying motoring rules and requirements in each European country mean that many drivers may be breaking the law when driving on the continent this summer.


Motorists are being urged to read the Highway Code where they are going to be driving and to check they have the correct kit while abroad.

Most European countries stipulate that a first aid kit should be in all cars. However, other countries require more specific kit. In Serbia, for example, a length of rope is needed, while in Scandinavia you must have your headlights on at all times and in Greece every vehicle should carry a fire extinguisher.

Drivers in France have to legally carry breathalysers, reflective jackets and warning triangles, and in certain cities such as Paris and Lyon, a Crit-Air (air quality) sticker must be displayed. Fines are given to those who don't comply. The AA recommends officially buying the stickers well in advance.

In Germany, drivers are advised to carry warning triangles, hi-vis jackets and spare bulb kits, but these are not compulsory. Some German cities have environmental zones where certain vehicles are restricted. To drive in the areas, an environmental 'Plakette' (sticker) must be displayed.

Spain has similar rules to the rest of Europe, but every car must carry a spare wheel and drivers have to carry a spare pair of driving glasses if glasses are required. All speed camera detectors are also illegal and have to be disabled.

Research from online comparison site Go Compare suggests that one in 10 drivers will be stopped by police when driving abroad.

As well as kit requirements, experts have also advised those travelling abroad to brush up on their road knowledge.

David Hammond, motoring expert at Halfords, said: "Unfamiliar road signs, lack of local knowledge and driving on the opposite side of the road can all lead to a disconcerting driving experience on the continent. Being prepared and knowing local laws means families can drive with confidence and avoid unnecessary fines and hassle."

By Ted Welford