Overseas driving regulations

Every country has its own traffic and driving regulations, it’s always best to know these as best you can before you set off.


If you are towing a car behind a motor caravan overseas, our advice would be to use a trailer with all four wheels of the car off the ground. Although most countries do not have a specific law banning A-frames, they do have a law which prohibits a motor vehicle towing another motor vehicle.

Bike racks

You can carry your bikes on the roof of your car provided they are attached to an adequate roof-rack and the total height does not exceed 4m.

You can also carry your bikes on the back of your vehicle, provided they do not obscure lights, indicators or number plates. If travelling through Portugal, make sure your bikes are carried at the rear of your caravan or motorhome and not your car.

Bike racks can only rest on the towbar if the maximum weight on the towbar is not exceeded.

In Spain and Italy, any overhanging loads must be indicated by a square panel measuring 50cm x 50cm. The square must have reflectorized red and white diagonal stripes. Panels can be purchased from Fiamma stockists are available in aluminium and plastic. In Spain you can use either, however, in Italy the panel must be aluminium.

Number plates

If you do not have the new Euro style number plates (12 stars with GB) then you need to attach GB stickers to the rear of your vehicle before you set off.

Outfits over 12m

If you’re travelling in Spain and your outfit exceeds 12m, you are required to fit marker boards to the back of your vehicle. You can either have two small boards or one large board but they must be placed at the back of the outfit between 50cm and 150cm off the ground.

Your marker board must:

  • have plain yellow in the centre with a red outline
  • be made out of aluminium
  • be manufactured to ECE70 standard

Marker boards can be purchased from most HGV suppliers including HGV Direct.

Low emission zones

There are a number of countries that have introduced low emission zones in towns and cities, including; Germany; Italy; Denmark; Czech Republic; France; and Portugal.

Check low emission zones

Breathalysers in France

If travelling through France, make sure you have a breathalyser to hand. Although it is not a legal requirement anymore we still advise you carry one. Make sure your breathalyser is NF approved.

Sat-navs and dash cams

In nearly all European countries it is illegal to use car navigation systems which actively search for mobile speed cameras or interfere with police equipment (laser on radar detection). Car navigation systems which give a warning of fixed speed camera locations are legal in most countries with the exception of France, Germany and Switzerland where this function must be deactivated.

In some EU countries there are restrictions on dash cam usage and you may receive a hefty fine if you get caught using one.

In both Austria and Portugal it is illegal to own and to use a dash cam. Fines can be as much as €25,000 if you are caught using one. It is also illegal to use one in Luxembourg.

In Belgium, France, Germany, Norway and Switzerland they are legal but there are strict conditions for their use. Please check before you travel.

It is legal to own and use a dash cam without restriction in the following countries: Denmark, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Sweden. 


Adapt your headlights so that you 'do not dazzle oncoming traffic' by manually adjusting your lights or by using headlight converters. Eurolites are available from most motor accessory shops or on-line at www.travelspot.co.uk. These headlight converters come with a list of over 600 different vehicle types, with corresponding diagrams showing you how to position them. Eurolites are suitable for clear lens, projector and xenon headlights.

In certain countries it is compulsory to use your headlights at all times. Check the table below.

Fire extinguishers

Fire extinguishers are not compulsory but are recommended in the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway and Sweden.

CountryFirst aid kitHigh visibility vestWarning triangleDaytime lights
Austria Yes Yes Yes No
Belgium No Yes Yes No
Croatia Yes Yes Yes (2 if towing) Yes (during winter months)
Czech Republic Yes Yes Yes Yes
Denmark Rec Rec Yes Yes
France No Yes Yes Rec
Germany No No No No
Hungary Yes Yes Yes Yes
Ireland No No No No
Italy No Yes Yes Yes
Luxembourg No Yes Yes Rec
Netherlands No No Rec No
Norway Rec Rec Yes Yes
Portugal No Rec Yes No
Slovenia Rec Yes Yes (2 if towing) Yes
Spain No Yes Yes (2 if towing) No


Rec No Rec Yes
Switzlerland No No Yes Yes

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