Driving to the Euros? 5 things you need to know

June 10, 2024 by

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Carwow’s five tips for English and Scottish football fans driving to the Euro 2024

It is estimated that as many as 800,000 England and Scotland football fans will travel to Germany to watch the Euros, and thousands of them will be planning to drive.

While driving to the tournament can be a convenient, cost-efficient and enjoyable way to travel, it is all too easy to get caught out by the different driving rules and regulations in place in France and Germany.

So, to help England and Scotland supporters enjoy a smooth and stress-free journey, Carwow has put together five top tips for home nation footie fans driving to the Euros this summer.

1 Get the right documents

To drive in France and Germany you will need:

  • A full, valid driving licence
  • National Insurance number
  • Proof of vehicle insurance
  • Proof of ID (passport)
  • V5C certificate (the ‘log book’)
  • Travel insurance documents
  • European Breakdown Cover policy number and documents
  • Valid tax and MOT for the vehicle
  • Crit’air sticker when driving in France (check if you need one here) and an emissions sticker when driving in Germany (Umweltplakette) for entering major cities
  • UK sticker if your number plate doesn’t have a UK identifier with the Union flag – anyone with a national flag of Scotland or England will need to add a “UK” sticker

2. Get the right equipment

Some of these may sound like insignificant rules, but don’t dismiss them – the French and German police will often stop British-registered vehicles to check they have the correct equipment.

Ensure you have the following in your vehicle:

  • Reflective jackets (one for each passenger, kept within the car, not in the boot)
  • Warning triangle (compulsory in France and Germany)
  • Headlamp beam deflectors for right-hand drive vehicles
  • First aid kit

3. Know your speed limits

Speed limits in France and Germany are different to the speed limits in the UK and it’s all to easy to forget your car’s speedo is usually calibrated to MPH rather than KPH. Consider switching your car’s settings when you drive abroad.

Speed limits in France

  • Motorway: 130 km/h (80mph) (90 km/h (55 mph)for cars towing caravans over 3.5t)
  • Dual carriageways: 110 km/h (70mph)
  • Non-urban areas: 80 km/h (50mph)
  • Urban areas: 50 km/h (30mph)
You’ll have to pay tolls – peage – on French motorways

Speed limits in Germany

  • Autobahn (motorway): No speed limit in some sections, but 130 km/h (80mph) is recommended
  • Non-urban area: 100 km/h (60mph)
  • Urban areas: 50km/h (30 mph)

4. Know your drink drive limits

German Beer is strong – so much so that the Government has actually issued an official warning to football fans beer can be stronger than in the UK, so drink responsibly.

Drink drive limits are stricter. The alcohol limit in both France and Germany is lower than in England – 0.5g of alcohol per litre of blood (which is the same as in Scotland) compared with a limit of 0.8g in England. In fact, up until 2020, all drivers and motorcyclists in France had to carry a personal breathalyser kit with at least two disposable testing units. However, even though the law has changed, keeping one of these kits in your car is a good idea.

5. Understanding the rules of the road

As in most European countries, the French and the Germans both drive on the right side of the road which will be the biggest change for British drivers.
Keep the following in mind when behind the wheel in France and Germany:

  • Overtake on the left
  • Traffic from the right has priority at crossroads and junctions
  • Vehicles on a roundabout – or about to join from your left – generally have right of way unless indicated otherwise
  • Give way to emergency vehicles
  • Mobile phone use while driving in France is prohibited and will result in a EUR1500 fine, but in Germany you can use a hands-free kit
  • Driving in flip flops could result in an on-the-spot fine
  • Seatbelts must be worn by all occupants at all times

Extra rules to be aware of when driving through France:

  • As a general rule, overtake on the left, however, where traffic is in lanes, vehicles may overtake on the right of other vehicles in slower moving lanes
  • On steep gradients, vehicles travelling downhill must give way to vehicles travelling uphill
  • Overtaking trams in motion is normally permitted on the right only; it is permitted on the left in one way streets, if there is not enough space on the right

Horns may only be used in cases of absolute necessity to give necessary warning to other road users – between sunset and sunrise, warning must be given by flashing passing lights and in all built-up areas, use of the horn is prohibited except in cases of immediate danger.

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