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Driving HGV’s in Europe What You Need to Know

As a HGV driver in the UK, you may be considering driving your vehicle in Europe. This can be a great way to see different parts of the continent and experience new cultures. However, there are some things you need to keep in mind before taking your HGV on the roads abroad.

Documents

First and foremost, you will need to make sure you have the proper documentation. This includes a valid UK driving licence, insurance documents, and a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). You will also need to make sure your vehicle is properly registered and has a valid MOT certificate.

If you are planning on driving in Europe for an extended period of time, you will need to get a International Driving Permit (IDP). You can obtain an IDP from the Post Office for a fee of £5.50.

Passports and visas

All drivers, regardless of nationality, will need to have a valid passport when travelling abroad. If you are an EU citizen, you will not need a visa to enter most European countries. However, if you are from a non-EU country, you may need to obtain a visa before travelling.

You can check the requirements for your specific country on the website of the European Union.

Speed limits

You will need to be aware of the different speed limits in each country. For instance, the speed limit on highways in France is generally 80 km/h (50 mph), while in Germany it is 100 km/h (62 mph). It is important to note that these speed limits are subject to change, so be sure to check before setting out on your journey.

Display the correct stickers

Another important thing to keep in mind when driving in Europe is the use of stickers. In some countries, such as Belgium and Poland, it is required to display a special sticker on your vehicle if you are driving a HGV. These stickers can be purchased at most petrol stations or online.

Restricted Driving Zones

There are also certain restricted driving zones in Europe that HGV drivers need to be aware of. For instance, in London there is an Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) which HGV’s must comply with in order to enter. Failure to do so can result in a fine of up to £200.

Prepare a Breakdown Kit

Finally, it is always a good idea to have a breakdown kit with you when driving in Europe. This kit should include items such as a first-aid kit, jumper cables, and a spare tyre. It is also a good idea to have the number for a roadside assistance service such as the AA or RAC.

Be Aware of Any Public Holidays

Another thing to keep in mind when driving in Europe is that there are a number of public holidays which could impact your journey. For instance, many countries have a national holiday on 1 May which could lead to increased traffic on the roads.

Check the Weather Forecast

Before setting out on your journey, be sure to check the weather forecast. This is especially important if you are driving in winter as snow and ice can make driving conditions very dangerous.

Plan Your Route in Advance

It is always a good idea to plan your route in advance, especially if you are driving in unfamiliar territory. This will help you avoid getting lost and will also allow you to make any necessary stops along the way.

Be Prepared for Language Barriers

Finally, be prepared for language barriers. In some countries, such as France and Italy, it is common for people to speak limited English. This can make communicating with locals difficult. It is a good idea to brush up on your language skills before travelling.

With these things in mind, you should be all set to hit the open road and explore Europe in your HGV. Just remember to drive safely and always check for updates on driving regulations before setting out on your journey.


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