Driving abroad kit – get summer ready

Blog post posted on 27/06/23 |

With the six-week summer break on the horizon many families will be heading to Europe for the holidays but, did you know there are some compulsory items you need to make sure you carry in the vehicle?   

Rules can vary between EU countries, so if you are crossing borders, it is important to check the local laws. For example, in Spain you must carry at least two warning triangles in your vehicle, and in Cyprus it’s against the law to eat or drink while driving.  

To make sure you have everything you need, IAM RoadSmart has some top tips to make your journey go as smoothly as possible.  

Warning Triangle  

Most European countries require motorists to have a warning triangle in their kit in case of breakdown or accident, but those laws can vary so be sure to check EU driving regulations before you leave. You must place your warning triangle at least 45 metres behind your vehicle on the same side of the road. Always take great care when placing or retrieving the signs.  

Headlamp converters

 Headlight converters are compulsory in France and most other European countries that drive on the right.  This is simply to ensure that you don’t cause an accident by dazzling oncoming traffic at night. Your UK car will, as standard, have the beams set for driving on the left-hand side of the road and therefore, when on the right-hand side of the road, you will be a menace to other drivers.    

Reflective vest  

Wearing a reflective vest is essential and enables other road users to easily identify you. Although it is not yet a legal requirement within the UK, in many European countries, such as France, Italy, Spain and Belgium, wearing a reflective vest is compulsory if the driver and/or passengers get out of the vehicle on the carriageway. Always carry enough vests for all occupants inside the car.  

UK sticker 

 To drive in the EU, you need either a number plate with a UK flag on it or a UK sticker that’s clearly displayed on the rear of the vehicle. If you have a GB sticker on your vehicle you must cover it or remove it. If you’re in Spain, Malta or Cyprus, you must display a UK sticker no matter what is on your number plate.   

First Aid Kit  

It’s always a good idea to have a first aid kit in your car, just in case someone gets hurt. Carrying a first aid kit is also a legal requirement in many European countries. 


Chief Examiner for IAM RoadSmart, Richard Gladman says...

“Planning a continental trip is always exciting and doing your research before setting off is essential. Low-emission zones in some cities require a sticker for you to enter and you may need to apply before you travel. Make sure you carry your V5 registration document and proof of insurance. You may need an international driving permit and a bail bond depending on where you are. Both the AA and RAC have country-specific information on their websites and can help along with other providers if you need breakdown cover. A well-planned trip in a properly maintained vehicle can be a pleasure. A breakdown on a foreign motorway will certainly spoil the trip.”