What Brexit means for driving in Europe

What Brexit means for driving in Europe

Be prepared to be pulled over

POPPING across to France in your car has never been easier, thanks to the addition of the Euro Tunnel trains to the good, old-fashioned ferries. From there, Europe (and beyond) is your oyster. But, of course, as soon as you’ve put a wheel on the asphalt in Calais, you’re subject to French road laws and customs.

Driving.co.uk published a guide to motoring in France ahead of the Euro 2016 football tournament and the 2016 Le Mans 24 Hours race, but following the UK’s decision to leave the EU in the Brexit vote, has anything changed?


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Be even more vigilant about required equipment

You need to be extra careful about adhering to EU rules as British drivers could be penalised by the police, according to the AA.

Ian Crowder, spokesperson for the motoring organisation, told The Sunday Times: “Minor indiscretions may have been overlooked in the past, but it is now even more important to abide by the letter of the law if you don’t want to be stopped and fined by EU traffic police.”

For example, you need to have a warning triangle in your car as well as a reflective jacket in France. The jacket must be kept in the car — not in the boot — because you are expected to be wearing it when stepping out of your vehicle in an emergency.

You must also carry a breathalyser kit at all times. The AA recommends having two in case you use one, but non-disposable breathalysers are also available.


GB stickers

The AA also says you must display a GB sticker, something that has not been required since the introduction of European registration plates. “It is unclear if the GB Euro-plates will still be valid in the EU,” it said.

“Outside the EU, some countries still require a GB sticker even if you have euro-plates, so it is always safer to display one. The letters must be black on a white, elliptical background. They must be at least 80mm high with a stroke width of 10mm.”


Travel and motor insurance

Motor insurance policies that offer an extension of cover for European travel, either for free or at a cost, will continue providing protection.

And there is no immediate change to the level of protection you have under your travel insurance policies, according to The Association of British Insurers,

However, as part of the EU, British travellers are entitled to medical treatment in EU countries at a reduced cost or for free, thanks to the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). Visitors to Britain receive the same right.

With the Brexit vote, the UK government will have to renegotiate the agreement and the cost of travel insurance could increase because insurers may be footing the bill for all medical treatment, rather than having a proportion dealt with through the EHIC system.

Exit negotiations may take up to two years but can be extended if all the EU countries agree unanimously that they need more time. But these negotiations will only start when the UK invokes Article 50 and thereby issues its formal declaration to leave the EU, and it is unclear when that will happen.