Driving abroad can be a daunting prospect for many, even without towing a caravan, and knowing the rules of the road when towing your touring caravan abroad is essential. Here, touring caravan insurance experts, who all love to journey further afield, take a look at the requirements in different countries of Europe and what you’ll need to make sure you’re legal and covered.
Towing in Europe
As with driving in any country, towing your touring caravan abroad without following the legal requirements can invalidate both your motor and you caravan insurance, leaving you with no protection should an incident occur.
Double checking the law in each and every one of the countries you plan to drive in is essential. This includes the equipment and documents that you may need to carry right through to speed limits and towing regulations.
Your Legal Obligations – Check Your Speed
Many of the rules of the road abroad are similar, if not the same, as those for driving in the UK. It is worth noting that the speed limits vary from country to country, as well as by road type, so while in Belgium your speed limit on a motorway is 74mph/120kph, in the majority of countries, including some of those bordering Belgium, the speed limit is reduced to 50mph/80kph on motorways.
In France, you should also note that the speed limit will vary greatly depending on your towing weight – on motorways changing from 81mph/130kph for under 3.5t to 56mph/90kph for over 3.5t. Plus you will also need to be aware of reduced speed limits in force in adverse weather conditions.
Your Legal Obligations – Documentation When Taking Your Touring Caravan Abroad
When taking your touring caravan abroad, as when you’re driving in the UK, you should carry your UK driving licence with you at all times. In Europe there is no need to carry an International Driving Permit but this is needed for non EU countries if you are travelling further afield. When planning to travel abroad, especially outside of Europe, you’ll also need to check that your insurance, including your touring caravan insurance, will still cover you, and you may need to speak to your insurer about an extension to your policy.
When it comes to insurance, third party cover is compulsory across Europe and for many countries it is also recommended that you have a green card – the proof that your insurance covers the minimum requirements for the country in which you are driving. We would however recommend being fully insured with both motor and touring caravan insurance wherever you are driving, giving you the peace of mind that if something does happen, many more eventualities are covered.
Your Touring Caravan Abroad – Equipment Needed in Europe
The equipment you’ll need to carry with you in the different countries of Europe varies greatly.
Here is a list of some of the main countries touring caravan insurance customers visit, and the equipment needed there*:
Equipment needed – Warning triangle, first aid kit, reflective jacket, spare bulbs, nationality sticker, and motorway tax sticker called a vignette (available at some petrol stations, post offices or in ÖAMTC (Österreichische Automobil Motorrad und Touring Club) offices). In winter you will also need winter tyres marked with M&S as well.
Caravan quirks – Caravans should not be parked within 500 metres of a lake.
Equipment needed – Warning triangle, reflective jacket, nationality sticker. First aid kit and spare bulbs are recommended.
Equipment needed – Two warning triangles, reflective jacket, first aid kit, spare bulbs and nationality sticker. In winter you will also need to carry a shovel and have winter tyres marked with M&S as well.
Equipment needed – Warning triangle and nationality sticker. Reflective jacket, first aid kit and spare bulbs are recommended.
Caravan quirks – You should also check the suitability of your towing mirrors.
Equipment needed – Warning triangle, first aid kit, reflective jacket and breathalyzer test (law due to be implemented 1 March 2013), nationality sticker. Spare bulbs are also recommended and snow tyres marked M&S are required on snow covered roads. Be aware that from 1 January 2021, vehicles over 3500kgs are required to display blind-spot warnings (Angles Morts). Failure to comply carries a €135 fine.
Caravan quirks – The French police are on the lookout for overloading.
Equipment needed – Warning triangle, first aid kit and nationality sticker. Spare bulbs are recommended.
Equipment needed – Warning triangle, first aid kit, fire extinguisher and nationality sticker. Spare bulbs are recommended.
Equipment needed – Warning triangle, reflective jacket, spare bulbs and nationality sticker. A fire extinguisher and first aid kit are recommended. Snow tyres or chains may be required in winter in some provinces. Any overhanging loads, such as bike racks, need to have red and white marker boards attached.
Equipment needed – Warning triangle and first aid kit are recommended.
Equipment needed – Nationality sticker. If your hazard lights aren’t working you should carry a warning triangle. A fire extinguisher, first aid kit, reflective jacket and spare bulbs are also recommended.
Equipment needed – Reflective vest and nationality sticker. A warning triangle, fire extinguisher and spare bulbs are also recommended.
Caravan quirks – All towing vehicles should display a yellow triangle with blue background sign and your caravan contents should be available as a list for the police to inspect if requested.
Equipment needed – Two warning triangles, spare tyre, reflective jacket, spare bulbs and nationality sticker. If you wear glasses, you should also carry a spare set. Any overhanging loads, such as bike racks, need to have red and white marker boards attached.
Caravan quirks – Two external mirrors are required on your towing vehicle.
Equipment needed – Warning triangle and nationality sticker and motorway tax sticker called a vignette (available at some petrol stations, post offices or in customs offices. A fire extinguisher, first aid kit and spare bulbs are also recommended.
Sticking To The Rules – Enjoying Your Holiday
Wherever you are travelling to, within Europe or further afield, knowing the rules of the road is essential, not just for your touring caravan insurance but to protect your holiday, offering you and your family a relaxing journey along the road.
*Correct at time of writing.