Being an HGV driver in UK, you will undoubtedly find many opportunities to drive your vehicle throughout mainland Europe. It can be a good chance to see more of this amazing region and experience the many sites, peoples, and cultures. Nevertheless, there will be some important things to remember as you travel abroad.
The most important aspect to have is proper documents. This will include a valid UK drivers license, an EHIC (European Health Insurance Card), and vehicle insurance. It will also be important that your vehicle has been well registered and carries a legal MOT certificate.
You will need also an International Driving Permit, or IDP if you hope to be driving through Europe for a long time.
PASSPORTS AND VISAS
No matter which country you hail from, all drivers will have to carry proper travel documentation. This means you must have a legal passport for your travels through Europe. If you’re EU citizen, you need no visa to visit most countries. But if you’re not EU citizen you will have to apply for a VISA afore beginning your travels.
For more information on visa regulations in the EU, check the regulations for specific countries on their websites.
It is good to familiarize yourself with the some speed limits of the countries you will visit. For example, the speed limit on freeways and highways in France is 80 km/h or 50mph. On the other hand, the speed limit in Germany is 100km/h or 62 mph. Knowing when the speed limits change will keep you safe from being fined for speeding or from driving too slow.
DISPLAY THE CORRECT STICKERS
Using stickers is another important detail to know as you drive through Europe. In certain countries, for example, Poland and Belgium, it is necessary that you have certain stickers on your car if you’ll be driving an HGV. You can find these stickers at petrol station or you can purchase them online.
RESTRICTED DRIVING ZONES
You will find that there’re many different classified driving zones throughout the EU, and HGV drivers must know these. For instance, London is a ULEZ or Ultra Low Emission Zone, and HGVs must obey this restriction or face fines.
Also, if you’re training to upgrade your HGV license so that you can drive an HGV professionally, you will have to take a new HGV theory test that is specific to HGV driving technique and safety.
PREPARE A BREAKDOWN KIT
In the EU as in anywhere else, it’s good to have a tool kit on hand. It should include everything you must have in case of a breakdown, including jumper cables, spare tyres, a first-aid kit, etc. We also suggest you’ve the number of roadside assistance and a reliable way to communicate with them if you have a breakdown.
KNOW PUBLIC HOLIDAYS
Being aware of general holidays can make your trip through Europe much easier.
CHECK THE WEATHER FORECAST
Before you set off on your travels, check weather prediction. This will be particularly important when you will be travelling through regions where ice, snow, and storms can affect the roads and make driving conditions very precarious.
PLAN YOUR TRACK IN ADVANCE
It is always good to know exactly where you will be going so you can plan the safest and most convenient trip. This will prevent you from losing the track and will enable you to make all the necessary stops that will keep you fueled and comfortable on the road.
BE READY FOR LANGUAGE BARRIERS
Finally, be ready for the many languages you will encounter. In certain countries, like Italy or France, most people can speak a little English but don’t count on this. It is good to know some vital language skills beforehand.