More and more Britons are driving on the continent, but road safety charity IAM is warning that there are many significant differences between driving in mainland Europe and in the UK. Britain's top advanced driver, Peter Rodger is offering weekly driving tips and this week is advising on driving in Italy.
You should always carry your licence, vehicle registration document (V5) andcar insurance certificate, and you should also haveEuropean Breakdown cover . You are also required to carry a warning triangle and reflective jacket in the car in case of breakdown.
As with most European countries, the drink drive limit is less than in the UK. In Italy the limit is 50mg per 100ml of blood, where as in the UK it is 80mg. Another major difference is that daytime running lights are mandatory. As a visitor, when driving in poor daytime visibility and through tunnels, you must use dipped headlights, regardless of the time of day.
Petrol stations stock all variations of fuel, such as unleaded petrol (benzina), diesel (gasolio) and LPG, in addition to lead substitute additive. Drivers should be aware, however, that traffic is restricted in many of the historical and major towns and also that it is illegal to carry radar speed camera detection equipment.
Mr Rodger added some common sense precautions that drivers should take, particularly bearing in mind it can take 20 hours to drive from London to Rome. He said: "Check all of your lights are working and that your tyres have enough tread, aren't damaged and have the right pressure. Plan your journey to include rest stops, preferably every two hours, and if you're tired, stop and sleep for as long as you need to. You should never plan this as a non-stop journey."
Mr Rodger also noted that it may be necessary to drive through France, where drivers are required to store a breathalyser kit in the vehicle.
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