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Motoring abroad hint and tips

Advice and requirements for driving in other countries

What to do:

  • Contact AA Travel on (01) 617 9988 if you require any further information before you go. 
  • Contact your motor insurer before taking a vehicle out of the Republic of Ireland. It is important that you are adequately covered to your and their satisfaction and have the necessary documents to prove it. 
  • Carry your driving licence (and IDP where necessary), original vehicle registration document and passport; you may be asked to produce any one of these items. A provisional licence is unacceptable and the minimum driving age in most countries is 18. If the vehicle is borrowed you will need a letter of authority from the registered keeper. 
  • Display the IRL national identification letters on your vehicle (and any caravan or trailer you are towing) when travelling outside the EU. Irish registration plates incorporating the IRL/European Union symbol make display of a conventional sticker unnecessary when circulating within Europe. However, such identification is still required outside the EU even when displayed alongside the European Union symbol.
  • Make sure that you are aware of all the requirements when taking a minibus abroad. A minibus constructed and equipped to carry 10 or more passengers (including the driver) is subject to the regulations governing international bus and coach journeys. 
  • Check your tyres carefully - including the spare. If you think they are likely to be worn down to below 2mm before you get back, replace them before you go. 
  • Remember that children under 12 and/or 1.5 metres in height are not permitted to travel as front seat passengers in some countries and in others may only do so when using an approved restraint system - check. However, never use rearward facing child restraint in front seat with an airbag.
  • Familiarise yourself with the telephone system of the country you are travelling in. In some countries public callboxes may only be operated with locally purchased phonecards.
  • Drive on the right and overtake on the left except when travelling in Cyprus, Malta and the Republic of Ireland.

What NOT to do:

  • Drink and drive. The laws are strict and the penalties severe. 
  • Forget if your vehicle is fitted with seat belts - wear them! 
  • Overload your vehicle, apart from safety risks and on-the-spot fines, this could invalidate your insurance. 
  • Cross a solid white line to change lanes or overtake - the result could be an on-the-spot fine, up to €500 in France. 
  • Park illegally. Heavy fines are imposed and unaccompanied offending vehicles towed away. Find out about local parking regulations and try to understand all relative signs. As a rule, always park on the right hand side of the road or at an authorised place.Leave money or items of value in an unattended vehicle, and remove all other property whenever possible. 
  • Forget if you wear glasses, take a spare pair with you; this is especially important if you are the sole driver. 
  • Forget that leaded petrols is no longer generally available in many northern European countries. If a lead replacement petrol (LRP) is not on sale, an anti-wear additive may usually be bought from the filling station shop. The sale of leaded petrol is likely to continue in southern European countries (eg. Italy and Spain) until at least the end of 2001.
  • Overlook motorway taxes and/or toll charges. Motorway taxes are payable in Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia and Switzerland. Heavy fines are imposed for non-payment, Tolls are payable on many motorways in Europe.
  • Forget, although credit cards are accepted at most petrol stations, Irish & British cards have magnetic strips not computer chips and some French retailers may refuse to accept them. Check with your card issuer if you are concerned about this. 
  • Forget to check the requirements for registration and third-party insurance if taking any type of boat abroad. 

AA Ireland Limited trading as AA Insurance is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland.