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One of the first things that you will need to check is whether your insurance covers you to drive outside of the UK. You will not only need cover for your truck but also the goods that you are carrying to make sure that everything is covered in case of an accident or theft. You may also want to think about putting personal insurance in place, and you will need travel insurance in case you need any medical treatment while you are away.

Whilst it may not be nice to think about, it can also be worth looking into repatriation insurance. This means that if the worst happens and you pass away while you are in Europe, your body can be returned home without any extra cost for your family.

Breakdown cover

As any truck driver will know, breakdown cover is always essential, and so you will need to check that you have cover while you are in Europe. This can ensure that, if you have any problems, you will be back on the road as quickly as possible


Now that the UK has left the EU, HGV drivers will need to make sure that all of their documentation is in order and that they carry the right things with them while they are travelling.

You will need your valid UK driving licence and passport, and it is important to remember that your passport must have a minimum of 6 months left on it and be less than 10 years old (even if it has 6 months or more left on it). If your driving licence or passport are due to expire, it is important that you make sure you leave enough time to renew them before you go away.

You should also ensure that you carry a valid Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) card. In addition to this, you should make sure that you have healthcare documents such as a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or a Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC).

As well as your personal documentation, you will also need to carry documentation about your HGV. This should include the vehicle and trailer registration documents and a goods vehicle operator licence disk.

Your truck will also need to display a UK sticker in place of the old GB ones, and you should make sure that you have any dedicated licences or permits relating to the journey or the load you are carrying. If your vehicle has any specialist approvals, then you should also carry the certificates for these.

Permissions to enter and drive through countries


Driving in EU countries for less than 90 days within a 180-day period will not require a visa. However, if you are travelling outside of the EU, you will need to check whether a visa is required for the other countries that you are planning on visiting. Each country will have its own entry requirements, even if you are only passing through it, and so you will need to look into each one.

International Driving Permits

You may need to have an International Driving Permit (IDP), but this will depend on where you are going. Currently, the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland do not require one, but you may need it for certain countries if you have a paper licence or if your licence was issued in Gibraltar, Guernsey, Jersey or the Isle of Man.

Green cards

Green cards will be needed if you intend to drive through Russia, Tunisia or Turkey, and will prove that you have the correct commercial motor insurance in place. This can usually be obtained from your insurance provider.

Drivers’ hours

In the UK, there are strict laws around how many hours you are permitted to drive before you must take a break, and tachographs (ie devices that record driving speed, distance, and time) are fitted to trucks in order to monitor this.

Any driver of a truck weighing more than 3.5 tonnes will be subject to similar laws when in Europe, and you will be required to follow the rules for driving hours and tachograph use for each country that you visit.

This means that you will need to make yourself aware of this before you set off in order to plan a route that takes these restrictions into account.

Rules of the road

As you might expect, driving in Europe requires more knowledge than just which side of the road you should be on.

Each country will have its own rules on speed limits, vehicle stickers, breakdown kits and restricted driving zones. In certain countries, the speed limits on motorways can be reduced in the rain, so this needs to be understood and factored into journey times.

There are even some countries, including France, Germany, Italy and Spain, in which the driving of an HGV is banned or restricted on Sundays or public holidays. There are also other rules of the road that you will need to keep in mind, such as how you need to give way or other traffic lights and filtering systems that might work differently to what you are used to at home.


All of this information is very important when it comes to driving safely and within the law, and so it is very important that you make yourself aware of how the rules may vary in each country to avoid falling foul of them. Driving across Europe can be an amazing experience, but it is important to remember that every country you travel through will have its own laws and requirements that you will need to abide by. Make sure that you do all of your research before you set off and always have your documentation close at hand.

Andrea Easton
Andrea Easton
Head of Finance and Operations at Walker Movements

Andrea Easton is the Head of Finance and Operations of Walker Movements, who are specialists in quality second-hand, used trucks and trailers and are global leaders in the trucking industry.

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