With French law now dictating that all drivers must carry an unused breathalyser kit in the car at all times, road safety organisation and the number one for breakdown cover in the UK*, GEM Motoring Assist is urging motorists to be aware of foreign rules and regulations before setting off this summer.

During the summer holidays, people will be packing up their cars and driving to Europe’s top spots for a getaway. Before heading off, however, it is vital to not only ensure you and your car are covered, but also to know the latest driving laws in foreign countries.

David Williams MBE, CEO of GEM Motoring Assist, comments: “Every summer we stress the importance of preparing for driving abroad and this year is no different. Our free leaflet ‘Your Introduction to Driving in Europe’, including ‘Before you travel’ and ‘If things do go wrong’ sections, offers top tips to help drivers get ready for a stress-free journey this summer.

“With a country-by-country guide for driving in Europe, the leaflet, along with European Traffic Police Network advice at, provides up-to-date information and advice for those driving to a holiday destination. We’re confident that having this advice in one place will make everyone’s holiday planning that bit easier this year.”

GEM’s top tips to be prepared:

  1. A service – it makes sense to have your car serviced before you go, but as a minimum make sure to check the tread on the tyres, oil and water levels
  2. Vehicle Registration Document – keep a copy of this with you at all times, never leave it in the car
  3. Nationality plate – this must be the approved pattern, design and size
  4. MOT Certificate – if your car is more than three years old make sure you take this with you
  5. Mechanical adjustments – be aware of the headlight requirements; you will need beam deflectors
  6. Driving Licence – take both parts of your licence with you, and if you haven’t updated your licence do it now as the new style photo-card is valid in all EU countries
  7. Equipment checklist – make sure you have high visibility jackets for each person, at least one warning triangle, first aid kit, replacement bulbs and a spare pair of prescription glasses
  8. Maps and routes take a detailed map and plan your journey well in advance

GEM’s top ten most unusual foreign road rules:

  1. In Finland, if you hit an elk or deer you must immediately report the collision to the police
  2. Both Spanish andSwiss law demands that if you need glasses for driving you must carry a spare pair with you in the car
  3. In Sweden, it is compulsory to have dipped headlights on during the day and night
  4. If you are towing a caravan in Portugal you must have a current inventory of all contents to show a police officer if requested
  5. In Germany, it is an offence to run out of fuel on a motorway and to make rude signs to other road users
  6. In Austria, you must not park a caravan within 500m of a lake
  7. In Italy, police can impound your car if you do no present the relevant ownership documents
  8. In Norway, vehicles travelling downwards on hilly roads have priority
  9. In Greece, carrying a petrol can in the car is forbidden
  10. In France, police have the power to confiscate your car and your licence on the spot if you are caught speeding