There’s a lot to remember when it comes to getting organised for an event as epic as the BSS Car-aoke Challenge. Even if you are an experienced European driver, things do change.
Firstly, here are some useful websites to have a look at:
DVLA Driver Records Some time ago the DVLA retired the use of the paper part of photocard driving licenses. However, you may be asked to provide details of endorsement so it is a good idea to organise a printout and request an access code before you leave Blighty. The codes only last for 21 days so don’t be too hasty!
Dartford Crossing Charge If you don’t have the pleasure of driving around the Essex part of the M25 on a regular basis, you may not be aware that you can no longer chuck money at a bucket to make the crossing. You will now need to pay via this website. You can open an account that works a bit like Oyster card (and the fee is a bit cheaper) or you can choose to make a one-off payment
I’ll be including most of the advice about driving in France, Switzerland & Italy in your driver packs. The bits that didn’t make the cut can be found on this great page published by the AA
If you are new to driving on the wrong side of the road (some might say the right) it can be a bit of a daunting prospect. I would, however, say that this feeling only lasts for a few minutes once you start driving. The first encounter with a roundabout is always fun:) Even though I have covered many thousands of miles on Europe’s roads, I always try and do the following:
- As soon as I get off the ferry I will start muttering to myself “Keep Right, Keep Right” at least until I get on to a main road.
- On motorways, I don’t just rely on using my left-hand mirror to see if it is safe to pull out. As a biker (the motorised type) I am always doing lifesaver checks, looking over my shoulder to double check a cager’s not about to kill me. I find I quick glance out the back left window of the car on French motorways a useful safety tip.
- Roundabouts, yes you do go the other way round. Apart from that they pretty much work the same. Getting your lanes right can sometimes be challenging and I find it’s better to have your co-driver looking out for signs.
- Left-hand turns – just like a right turn in the UK but the other way. It can be tempting to go the wrong side (left side) of any bollards…remember, Keep Right.
- French drivers – I find them much better than us drivers in the UK. Motorway driving is usually a pleasure, very few lane hoggers. If you do stay too long in the outside lane, however, expect left indicators and headlights to be flashed at you quickly followed by a car sitting an inch off your rear bumper.
Watch out for the next blog where we will be looking at helpful tips for virgin campers;)