Taking your Suzuki on holiday? Our tips will take any car-related worries away.
Driving abroad is a different experience to driving in the UK, with drivers and driving customs often being different to what we’re used to.
So you need to plan ahead, making sure you understand all the different rules in other countries – and comply with them.
Below are some helpful tips to help you prepare for your holiday
1. The first thing to do is to make sure that your Suzuki is well maintained and that all your regular vehicle checks are fully up to date. You want to minimise any risk of breaking down and getting stranded in a foreign country, by checking your car over thoroughly before you go, making sure everything is in working order. And don’t do it at the last minute: make your checks a week or two before leaving, so you have time to go to your local Suzuki Service Centre to get any issues fixed. And then, nearer the time of departure, go through all the basic checks again, making sure the likes of oil and water levels, and tyre tread and pressures, are all as they should be.
2. Before you go, make sure that you have European breakdown cover with a reputable service. Don’t forget that for £69.99, you can upgrade your AA Suzuki Assistance LITE to provide full European cover.
3. Always contact your insurance company before leaving on your trip, to ensure that your policy covers you fully while travelling abroad (most policies offer just third-party cover). Some car insurance companies also offer the same level of cover in Europe as they have in the UK, often called 'green card cover' after the document that used to be required.
4. It’s important to adjust your headlights before heading to countries where they drive on the right: you must change the beam pattern to suit driving on the other side of the road, so your dipped beam doesn’t dazzle oncoming traffic. Check your owner’s handbook for advice in plenty of time, because your local Suzuki Service Centre might have to do it for you.
5. A GB sticker on the rear is still mandatory when driving any British-registered car abroad: any driver behind the wheel of a car not displaying one is at risk of being pulled over by local police. The only exception is a car displaying number plates that incorporate a blue and yellow GB logo on the left-hand side.
6. Despite much of EU road legislation being harmonised, there are still many variations, so you’ll need to make sure that you know the rules of the countries you’re driving in. Speed limits, for example, differ from country to country and you might need to carry equipment such as a high-vis jacket, first aid kit, breathalyser or a warning triangle.
7. If you’re driving outside the European Union – or if the UK leaves the EU before you go on holiday – check if you need an International Driving Permit, available from a Post Office, the AA and the RAC.
8. To avoid a potential fine and/or confiscation of your vehicle if stopped by the authorities, make sure that you drive with both parts of your licence (paper and photocard), your passport, the car’s insurance certificate and the V5C vehicle registration certificate (also known as the car’s log book) at all times.
9. If you’re travelling to a country where you don’t speak the native language, take a phrase book with you, or download an app to your smartphone before going abroad: you might need to ask for directions or deal with traffic police. Keep it, along with all your other important documents, inside the car’s cabin. And remember that in the event of an accident or other emergency, the number to dial is 112.
10. Route planning is key before setting off to a foreign country, so make sure that you know the route to your destination. Programme your satellite navigation system (which should have European data – check that it does) before you depart. And even if you do have a sat nav, a map or road atlas is always a good idea to have in the car, as a back-up.
If you’re touring or towing this summer these handy tips will help make your holiday safer and more relaxing.
On 28 March 2019, the type of international driving permit ( IDP ) that some countries outside the EU and EEA recognise changed. If the UK leaves the EU without a deal on 31 January 2020, you may need IDPs in addition to your UK driving licence to drive when visiting EU and EEA countries.
PREPARE TO DRIVE IN THE EU AFTER BREXIT - GOV.UK