Compulsory Equipment when Driving in Europe

Posted in General on 13 June 2014

As you prepare for your exciting trip abroad with your vehicle, it is important to understand that different countries have different regulations concerning the equipment that you must carry with you, whilst driving.

It is also worth remembering that it is not enough to have the equipment required by your destination country but you must also comply with the regulations for every country you travel through on your journey; so make sure you have the right equipment for your entire journey before you leave the UK.


Warning Triangles Yes Yes Yes No (see notes) Yes Yes Yes (see notes>
Reflective Jackets</strong Driver Driver Driver & Passengers Driver & Passengers Driver & Passengers Driver & Passengers Driver & Passengers
GB Identification Stickers Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Breathalysers No No Yes (see notes) No No No
Radar Detectors (see notes) No No No No No No
On the Spot Fines Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes (see notes) Yes (see notes) Yes

Important Documents

While an international driving permit is not required to drive in the EU, some countries do not always recognise the older ‘green-style’, paper driving licenses, so you may also need some photographic ID such as a passport.

You will also need to take your car insurance certificate with you. Make sure you have informed your insurer you are taking your car abroad and have the appropriate cover in place, before you start your trip. It is also compulsory to have your original vehicle registration documents with you when driving in the EU.

Warning Triangles</strong

While most countries in the EU consider this compulsory equipment, Germany does not require visiting vehicles to have a warning triangle, however, it is compulsory to use one in the event of an accident, therefore it is recommended that one should be taken.

In Spain, while it is compulsory to have 1 warning triangle if you are a visiting driver, local officials may impose a fine if you do not have 2, as this is the legal requirement for native drivers.

Reflective Jackets

Wearing a reflective jacket is compulsory in most countries if the driver and/or a passenger gets out of an immobilised vehicle on a carriageway. Make sure you have enough reflective jackets for all passengers and that you store them somewhere you can get to, without getting out of the car.

In Austria and Belgium wearing a reflective jacket only applies to the driver, but in Belgium you must also wear one if you stop on a motorway, major road or if you stop in a place where parking is not allowed. In France motorcyclists must have helmets with retro-reflective material fitted rather than requiring a reflective jacket.

GB Stickers

GB Identification stickers are compulsory for all UK registered vehicles travelling within the EU unless your UK number plates display the GB Euro-symbol (Europlate). The Europlate is only legally recognised in the EU; it is still a requirement to display a GB sticker when travelling to countries not in the EU.


Although in principle all drivers in France should carry a breathalyser, as of 25th January 2013 a driver cannot be penalised for not having one and the fine for not having one has been postponed indefinitely. However, the official text still states that one unused breathalyser should be produced if asked by the Police. Breathalysers have to be certified by the French Authorities, showing an ‘NFrsquo; number.

The AA recommends that 2 single use breathalysers should be carried so that if one is damaged or used, a replacement can be produced.

Radar Detectors

All countries in the EU forbid the use of radar detectors; however it is worth noting that this also applies to any GPS navigation systems that have maps that show the location of fixed position speed cameras. This option should be deactivated when travelling through the EU.

On the spot fines

Infringement of the regulations in all countries will result on the spot fines. Although in Italy, Police will usually only collect a quarter of the maximum fine for foreign registered vehicles. In some countries, such as Ireland, the police are not authorised to collect fines.

Please Note: These requirements are subject to change so make sure you are up to date with the requirements for each country you are visiting, before you travel. Breakdown Cover

We hope that these tips help you to enjoy your trip to Europe and you have a relaxing journey, however what if you suffer a breakdown while abroad?

Voyager to Europe Breakdown Cover will provide you with emergency roadside assistance or towing to a garage using Green Flag’s network. A week’s cover costs just £42.83, which is just £6.11 a day, for peace of mind.

Click here to find out more about Voyager to Europe Breakdown Cover

Author: Adam

Other Related News Articles...

- Your Guide to Hurricane Season

- Your Chance to Win £1000 – Vote for Voyager Plus Today

- Vacation Woes: How to Avoid E. coli Food Poisoning Abroad