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Driving on the right on holiday

Published 1st July 2022Read Time 5 min

You are about to set off on your trip; you have the kids and your suitcases ready and you’re about to load the ferry or head to the airport. Then you remember that you are going to drive on the other side of the road when you arrive at your destination. You might begin to worry, but don’t, because there are ways you can prepare for your time in a right hand drive country, to ensure that you and your passengers are kept safe!

Here are some tips from AA Ireland for driving on the right on holiday.

If you are renting a car abroad

You might be planning on renting a car abroad. If so, remember that it is quite tricky to change the gears with your other hand in a right hand drive country, so you might want to consider hiring an automatic.

It’s important too to avoid expensive car hire excess, so ensure you’re  covered before you leave.

If you are bringing your own vehicle

If you plan on bringing your own vehicle to a right hand drive country, then there are a few things to check before you leave.

  • Make sure you check with your insurer and confirm that you are covered for driving your car in another country.
  • Carry out the necessary vehicle checks before any long journey, such as tyre tread depth, tyre pressure, oil and light checks. We have a full checklist here.
  • Take extra care while driving a right hand car in a right hand country! Leave plenty of space between you and the vehicle in front so you have time to react and avoid overtaking other vehicles if possible.

AA’s top tips for driving on the right on holiday

  • Remember that the rules of the road vary in different countries, so study them carefully. Rules vary when it comes to taking turns, how to react to pedestrians crossing the road as well as speed limits.
  • When driving on the right on holiday, it’s very useful to put a ‘drive on the right’ reminder in your car. It can be a small prompt when you are at junctions or getting to a roundabout – ‘post-it’ notes are very handy!
  • Speaking of junctions and roundabouts, be especially careful approaching them, particularly if you are on a quiet road without much traffic. You want to avoid slipping back into driving on the left or going the wrong way around a roundabout!
  • When driving, it can be very useful to have another adult in the car so they can read the map and direct you. This means you can focus your attention entirely on the road and are not distracted trying to read signs and work out your routes.
  • That brings us on to maps, like Google maps or other GPS systems. They are amazing but they require power to work, so make sure your devices have enough charge. Don’t get caught out while on unfamiliar roads – make sure you have a map.
  • Tolls, tolls and more tolls! Do your research and make sure you have money to hand when travelling abroad. Tolls are more expensive than Ireland in many places, so check out toll information about your destination before you set off.
  • What about an International Drivers Permit (IDP) for a right hand drive country? Many countries, even some within the EU, require you to have an IDP with your Irish drivers licence. IDPs are recognised internationally and normally allow you drive a motor vehicle without further formality. Permits cannot be issued to holders of provisional licences nor to holders of non EU/EEA licences.

If you are bringing your own car across Ireland or abroad this summer, then make sure it is fully insured. Get a car insurance quote or  European Breakdown Cover.