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Top tips for holiday driving - expert advice from haynes

Driving Abroad (3rd Edition)
09 July 2013
Robert Davies
Out Now

With thousands of motorists about to hit the road for their summer holidays, the motoring experts at Haynes are urging drivers to prepare properly with some top tips for stress-free long-distance driving.

More than 3 million people take their cars from the UK to Europe each year, but whether you’re driving abroad or in the UK, carrying out basic service checks and equipping yourself with the right information could prevent the nightmare of long-distance breakdown. Breakdown companies say they get called out 20,000 times per day in the UK, but a little preparation could help prevent you from joining that statistic.

Haynes top 5 tips for safe and stress free holiday driving:

  1. Take the time to lift the bonnet before you go away and carry out a few basic checks. It is often the easy-to-repair items that cause faults, so make sure you check the fluid levels (oil, coolant, brake fluid), the coolant hoses, the auxiliary drivebelt(s) and the battery. Top up the screen wash and check tyre pressures and condition. It won’t take more than 30 minutes and it’s free!
  2. If you are driving abroad make sure you are aware of the latest legislation for the countries you are driving through. For example, to drive legally in France you now need to carry high visibility jackets, a warning triangle, headlight beam deflectors, a GB sticker (or 'GB' number plate) and two breathalysers conforming to official French standards. In practice these items may not be checked at the port of entry, but you can be sure that if you are stopped by the police for any reason you'll be in trouble if you don't have them.
  3. Similarly, learning the road signs, road markings and traffic conventions for the country you are driving through will help you keep safe when driving abroad. (Priorité à droite, anyone?) If you are hiring a car abroad, even if it is for a short trip, encountering new road signs and confusing road layouts can make driving hazardous unless you prepare.
  4. The police in most of Europe can issue on-the-spot fines for traffic offences. And don't assume that as a foreigner you will escape detection if you're 'flashed' by a speed camera or get a parking ticket – there is increasing co-operation between national police forces to identify offenders.
  5. With Britain still hit by recession, caravan and motorcaravan holidays are becoming increasingly popular as a low cost and fun way to holiday. But just like a car, your caravan needs a service check before you hit the road and you also need to pay attention to specific legislation about caravan or trailer weights.

Matthew Minter, Editorial Director at Haynes Publishing says:

“Having a car on holiday gives you the freedom to explore – driving along tree-lined avenues in France or even across the boundless Australian outback are what classic holiday memories are made of. But often in all the excitement about the holiday experience the car gets forgotten. A little preparation will cut the risk of breakdown, help you drive safely and make the most of precious holiday time.”

Haynes Publishing has a variety of books and manuals to help you make the most of your holiday. There are Haynes manuals available for the majority of cars on the road, and the world-renowned publishers have now produced online manuals which include all the content from the printed manuals but with the additional benefits of high-resolution colour images, searchable menus, quick links and ‘how-to’ videos.

Haynes’ Driving Abroad (3rd Edition), includes all motoring regulations, signs, insurance and essential accessories for over 30 countries world-wide, so is an essential purchase for anyone going overseas.

For motorcaravan and caravan enthusiasts Haynes recommends the Motorcaravan Manual and Caravan Manual. These best-selling publications are in their third and fourth editions respectively and provide all the information you could require about the care and maintenance of your temporary home.

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The information on this page is supplied courtesy of Haynes Publishing, please credit accordingly if you intend to use it. For more information or to request a review copy please contact Spirit PR on 0117 944 1415 or email Haynes PR

Haynes Manuals is the world's leading publisher of illustrated workshop car and motorcycle manuals, as well as producing manuals on a wide range of DIY, leisure and lifestyle subjects. These will continue to include motoring and motorsport related subjects. Sparkford, Yeovil, Somerset BA22 7JJ. Telephone: 01963 440635 Fax: 01963 440001 E-mail: