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    Tips for hiring and driving a car abroad

    Hiring a car and driving in Europe does not differ widely from the process in the UK. However, it is important to be well prepared and up-to-date with the systems of the countries you are visiting. You will need to ensure that you take the right documents and familiarise yourself with the local customs and legislation.

    In this guide, we highlight the documents you need to take with you when travelling abroad and give you hints and tips on how you can stay safe on the roads. We also discuss ways in which you can get the best deals on your car hire insurance, and how to navigate your way around unfamiliar territory.

    Preparation

    Here are just a few of the preparatory documents you will need before setting off on your trip. Wherever you go, you should ensure that you know exactly what you need and are carrying these things on your person. Some of the main documents you will need include:

    - Your full driving license
    - Auto Europe Voucher
    - Passport
    - European breakdown call-out number

    Be sure to make a list before you head off on your trip to avoid forgetting any of the important documents. Pack your bags the night before, and ensure you have included everything you need. This ensures that you are well prepared and in the unlikely event you get into a spot of bother, you have everything you need to support you, with all the details to hand.

    Insurance

    Insurance is a legal requirement, and you definitely want to ensure that you have adequate coverage before leaving. Not only do you need protection, you also need to ensure that you have taken out the correct policy. Remember you will be driving in a country where you do not know the landscape, and are unfamiliar with the local culture and customs. All Auto Europe's car hire rates include locally required insurance. You can also opt for extra packages with more coverage. Please do not hesitate to contact us to clarify any of the issues you may have regarding your car rental insurance.You should also be aware that more often than not, conventional UK health insurance will be unlikely to protect you sufficiently when you are abroad. Ensure that you are covered for any medical emergencies when you are travelling.

    Staying safe on the roads

    Some countries have their own unique rules regarding road safety and require you to carry extra documentation and equipment. For example, in France drivers are required to carry a self-test breathalyser since July 2012. In Spain, on the other hand, you are required to carry a headlamp adjustment as well as your motor vehicle insurance. In the neighbouring country, Portugal, drivers are obligated to carry motor vehicle insurance and tax documents. Local suppliers supply their fleet with all necessary extra equipment, however, it is always better to be in the know, in case you are stopped by the police.

    Driving tips

    Most people are fairly sensible on the roads. However, there are some pitfalls that can capture even the most careful of drivers. Always carry out a little bit of research so that you know which side of the road you are meant to be driving on. This may seem fairly simple and basic, but the last thing you want to do is put yourself at risk by driving on the wrong side of the road.

    Courtesy

    As with most things in life, courtesy goes a long way, particularly when driving. Remember, you are in completely new and unknown territory, so anything you can do to avoid potential conflict, accidents or legal action will help you to stay safe on the road. This includes simple things such as not driving too close to the car in front, signalling at all the correct junctions, and giving way when you can.

    Alcohol limits

    These vary widely from country to country. In some countries, you are also required to carry a breathalyser. Familiarise yourself with the local laws and customs and what the limits are.

    Medication

    Ensure your hired car is equipped with a first aid kit, and always carry water and food when driving. You never know what you may encounter when you are out and about, so it is best to err on the side of caution.

    All of these things can help to ensure that your journey is both a pleasant and memorable one!

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