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  • FIRST POST
    • MSE Kelvin
    • By MSE Kelvin 7th Aug 18, 5:45 PM
    • 80Posts
    • 195Thanks
    MSE Kelvin
    0 WOW
    Discuss the Driving in Europe guide
    • #1
    • 7th Aug 18, 5:45 PM
    0 WOW
    Discuss the Driving in Europe guide 7th Aug 18 at 5:45 PM


    Hello there,

    We've written a new guide to Driving in Europe and would love your feedback on it.

    Please let us know if you find it helpful, what improvements we could make and if there are any other tips you think we should add.

    Thanks for your help!

    MSE Kelvin
    Last edited by MSE Kelvin; 08-08-2018 at 4:12 PM. Reason: Amending link error.

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Page 2
    • Felix49
    • By Felix49 9th Aug 18, 2:11 PM
    • 1 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    Felix49
    The advice to remove headlight converters on return to the UK is at best unnecessary and at worst a con (i.e. by the retailers of converters, which aren't that cheap if you make several trips a year buying new ones each time). I've left converters on my car for at least the past 3 years, covering several trips a year to Europe. The effect of the converters is simply to cut out glare from the segment of headlight designed to illuminate road signs on the left in the UK. To be honest I've never really noticed the loss of that feature when driving with converters in the UK. Importantly the existence of converters on headlights in the UK doesn't affect passing the MoT. So my advice is to leave them on permanently and save money!
    • lovesgshp
    • By lovesgshp 12th Aug 18, 4:05 PM
    • 1,358 Posts
    • 748 Thanks
    lovesgshp
    Hope this amuses some of you. Most of it is very true as have seen it after 12 odd years here.

    Written by a Italian ........ enjoy.


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SxqwXNfYmOQ
    As Manuel says in Fawlty Towers: " I Know Nothing"
    • DCFC79
    • By DCFC79 18th Aug 18, 8:37 AM
    • 35,270 Posts
    • 22,257 Thanks
    DCFC79
    It used to be the case that petrol station forecourts that are next to the supermarket (like in the UK) aren't open as late like here, you may find some pumps are 24 hours but its a luck of the draw if your card is accepted. The fuel from the supermarkets used to be cheaper so Id always use them.
    • Morbier
    • By Morbier 12th Sep 18, 12:08 PM
    • 293 Posts
    • 406 Thanks
    Morbier
    Another tip for driving through tolls in France, that we have found useful:

    Buy a Sanef tag before you travel, to get you straight through the tolls. Available from saneftolling.co.uk
    You give them your bank details and they deduct an annual fee (under a tenner) and then automatically deduct the individual charge every time you go through a toll. Queues are shorter and you go straight through. They send you the tag to attach to your windscreen so it can be detected as you approach the toll and activate the barrier.

    Saves having to faff about with that forrin money or plastic.
    I can't imagine a life without cheese. (Nigel Slater)
    • Beenie
    • By Beenie 12th Sep 18, 12:18 PM
    • 1,468 Posts
    • 1,502 Thanks
    Beenie
    the problem with a sanef tag is that the tolls are in euro, but your deductions from your UK bank account are in pounds sterling.....and you have no control over the currency conversion rate. Sanef UK use an unfavourable rate, so not only are you paying an annual fee but you are actually paying over-the-odds to use the French tolls.

    Driving up to the tolls, getting out the trusty plastic Halifax Clarity card, it's all over in seconds and away you go. We've never been held up that long at tolls that we would prefer to use a toll tag, and we drive a lot in France.
    • Morbier
    • By Morbier 12th Sep 18, 3:08 PM
    • 293 Posts
    • 406 Thanks
    Morbier
    Obviously a matter of preference. Yes, I agree, the exchange rates aren't the best, but it's the convenience we go for !
    I can't imagine a life without cheese. (Nigel Slater)
    • zagfles
    • By zagfles 12th Sep 18, 7:22 PM
    • 14,750 Posts
    • 13,187 Thanks
    zagfles
    I suggest adding a section giving the main differences in road rules, or add them to the country specific section.

    For instance:

    • Town signs serving as speed limits in some countries
    • Turning traffic has to give way to pedestrians in most countries
    • Priority to the right/yellow diamond rules
    • High occupancy vehicle lanes, how they're marked and who can use them
    • Headlight rules - some countries require them on in the day
    • Alcohol limits - most of Europe is about half our limit, some countries a quarter
    • polyphonic99
    • By polyphonic99 19th Feb 19, 10:15 PM
    • 53 Posts
    • 41 Thanks
    polyphonic99
    DoT Updated - but it appears to have errors
    MSE Kevin - Thanks for the Guide.

    The Department of Transport has updated its "Prepare to drive in the EU after Brexit" pages on 5 Feb 2019 here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/prepare-to-drive-in-the-eu-after-brexit


    However the Number Plate and Identifier section is not that clear. It states:

    "From 29 March 2019, if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, you may need a GB sticker even if your vehicle has a Euro-plate (a number plate displaying both the EU flag and a GB sign)"


    That is clear but afterwards it says:

    "You will not need a GB sticker to drive outside the UK if you replace a Euro-plate with a number plate that features the GB sign without the EU flag."

    And that is not at all clear, because it tells you what will NOT BE LEGAL but NOT what is.

    It doesn't tell you what you should replace the EU flag with:
    Nothing, a Union flag, England flag, a picture of Mickey Mouse etc.

    There is a link to "More about displaying number plates flags, symbols and identifiers" https://www.gov.uk/displaying-number-plates/flags-symbols-and-identifiers
    But this page obviously has not been recently updated, as it says the Euro Symbol is still valid and also states:
    ! You will need a GB Sticker when traveling in Europe if you display one of these National flags and identifiers"
    below the list that includes GB and the Union Flag.

    So basically one page has been updated, while the link to the second page has contradictory advice. I have reported the contradictions to Gov.UK, but there have been no clarification as yet.

    With Brexit less than 38 days away it would be good if MSE could get GOV.UK to give clear and precise advice!!!

    Thanks for your help
    • Electrocool
    • By Electrocool 27th Jul 19, 2:12 AM
    • 1 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    Electrocool
    Just returned from France.
    Re Tolls: I would thoroughly recommend getting a TAG for the French motorways. They make life so much easier than trying to reach for the ticket or paying on the “wrong side” of the car, especially if solo or your passenger is asleep! No queues either. Emovis-tag (co.uk) do tags for French and Spanish/Portugal motorway tolls. Got mine via special offer from Eurotunnel a few years ago. Although there is an annual charge, it is minimal and convenience outways this. (I have no association with Emovis).

    Re Headlight converters: If you have a newish car with HID headlights, then there is normally an option in your settings menu for automatically adjusting the headlights to the other direction.

    Re Credit cards and unattended Fuel stations: There are a lot of automatic fuel pumps in France. IF YOUR CARD IS REJECTED ONLY TRY ONE MORE TIME (Just in case you miss keyed your PIN). DRIVE AWAY!
    IF REJECTED ON THE 3rd ATTEMPT, YOUR CARD WILL BE LOCKED, AND (as I understand) YOU HAVE TO BE IN THE UK TO RESET YOUR CARD.
    • zagfles
    • By zagfles 27th Jul 19, 9:53 AM
    • 14,750 Posts
    • 13,187 Thanks
    zagfles
    Just returned from France.
    Re Tolls: I would thoroughly recommend getting a TAG for the French motorways. They make life so much easier than trying to reach for the ticket or paying on the “wrong side” of the car, especially if solo or your passenger is asleep! No queues either. Emovis-tag (co.uk) do tags for French and Spanish/Portugal motorway tolls. Got mine via special offer from Eurotunnel a few years ago. Although there is an annual charge, it is minimal and convenience outways this. (I have no association with Emovis).
    Originally posted by Electrocool
    I found paying by credit card quick and easy generally, you don't need a PIN and significant queues have been rare on my recent trips.

    This tag not only charges an application fee, monthly usage fee, "account management" fee, and a deposit, but also charges you the tolls in GBP with a 2% exchange rate markup! Claiming it's less than a bank/credit card - err, no it isn't if like any proper MSE'er you're using a fee free card.

    Re Headlight converters: If you have a newish car with HID headlights, then there is normally an option in your settings menu for automatically adjusting the headlights to the other direction.

    Re Credit cards and unattended Fuel stations: There are a lot of automatic fuel pumps in France. IF YOUR CARD IS REJECTED ONLY TRY ONE MORE TIME (Just in case you miss keyed your PIN). DRIVE AWAY!
    IF REJECTED ON THE 3rd ATTEMPT, YOUR CARD WILL BE LOCKED, AND (as I understand) YOU HAVE TO BE IN THE UK TO RESET YOUR CARD.
    Always have a spare card (or few cards). I have a total of 7, 4 of which are fee free for foreign purchases.
    • benjus
    • By benjus 27th Jul 19, 10:07 AM
    • 5,322 Posts
    • 3,275 Thanks
    benjus
    Personally I'm happy to pay the extra cost for the convenience of the toll tag. I used to use a fee free card - it's generally quite quick and easy if you have a passenger with you, but quite a pain if not.
    Let's settle this like gentlemen: armed with heavy sticks
    On a rotating plate, with spikes like Flash Gordon
    And you're Peter Duncan; I gave you fair warning
    • hollydays
    • By hollydays 28th Jul 19, 9:53 AM
    • 17,772 Posts
    • 13,895 Thanks
    hollydays
    Can you add in driving speed limits for motorhomes? Lots of us go abroad and this would be a great help. Thank you.
    Originally posted by Cambia
    ?its the same as cars??
    • DCFC79
    • By DCFC79 21st Oct 19, 8:40 PM
    • 35,270 Posts
    • 22,257 Thanks
    DCFC79
    I hadn't driven in France for a nu ber of years and I was a little worried about it but once I got there I found it was a breeze, just took my time and went steady with roundabouts etc.

    Just be warned some of the drivers can be worse than here in the UK.
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