March 25, 2022
As international travel is becoming easier for us all many people are looking forward to taking the spring and summer holidays that they might not have been able to over the last couple of years. We’re seeing a rise in the number of people using their car as the mode of transport though, with the risk of Covid still high in high traffic areas (such as airports), rising cost of flights due to increased fuel costs and changing flight paths over Europe because of the Ukrainian war making flying less enticing.
So, to help company car drivers we’ve put together our top ten tips for keeping yourself and family safe while out on the roads. Some of these tips will also apply if you’re planning on taking your break in the UK, though a few are specific to foreign travel.
Top Tips for Travelling in a Company Car
1. Check Your Contract
The first thing that you’ll need to do if you plan on travelling abroad is making sure that you are able to. We know that most companies will let you use your company car for personal travel, but you’ll want to check your contract or with your fleet manager whether that includes international travel.
If you are covered, you’ll also want to check whether there are any differences between your usual provisions, such as breakdown assistance etc when you’re travelling as not all companies will offer the same level of support.
2. Ensure You’re Insured
One area where most UK drivers spot the difference, even when they’re travelling in their own car, is that their insurance company provides a lower level of cover when abroad. While you’re talking to your fleet manager you should check the level of insurance and discuss your options if this isn’t sufficient.
If you’re driving with another adult who is capable of driving the vehicle as well then you should also check whether they will be covered by the insurance and if not what additional options are available to make that happen if you do not want to be the sole driver.
3. Get the Necessary Paperwork Sorted in Plenty of Time
When travelling into Europe you will now need six months left on your passport so you should make sure that all passengers will have a valid passport for this long as they may not be granted entry otherwise.
Additionally, any drivers should be carrying their driving licence with their full legal name and address on it and the licence should be in date for the duration of the trip.
Please note, it is a crime punishable by a £1,000 fine to not have the correct name or address on your driving licence.
If you’re in a leased vehicle then there is an additional document you’ll need – a VE103. This is essentially a document from the lease funder which confirms that you’re authorised to take the vehicle abroad. It’s important that you have this as it acts in the same way a V5 would if you owned the vehicle, and you might be asked to provide this if stopped by police.
We advise getting in touch with your fleet manager, or the lease company directly if they advise you to do so, around four weeks prior to travelling to make sure that the physical documentation arrives with you in time for your trip. You will need the hard copy of the document with you when travelling.
You’ll be asked to provide information on the vehicle and intended drivers. Find out more about this here.
4. Check the Vehicle Before You Leave
We recommend company drivers regularly check the condition of their vehicle and report back to their fleet management any issues they spot to avoid further complications down the line. It’s especially important that you check the vehicle before doing a long trip, as the additional miles could cause existing issues to worsen and you don’t want a flat tyre or repair that needed doing before you set off derailing your travels.
We’d advise checking the vehicle over a couple of weeks before travel to get any issues resolved in time for your trip and then to do an additional check the day before setting off so you know the car’s in top running condition.
5. Make Sure Your Service and MOT Won’t be Due During the Trips
As part of your checks of the vehicle you should make sure that the vehicle’s MOT and service are not due to fall while you are travelling.
If they do then you will need to arrange with your fleet manager to have the work completed prior to the trip so that the vehicle remains legal and roadworthy while away.
6. Stay Safe
In the UK there are no legal requirements to carry any safety equipment in the car whilst travelling but this is not the case across the whole of Europe. In fact, many countries have a legal requirement for you to carry essential items such as a hi-vis jacket or warning triangle.
We’ve included the below table to show you what is legally required (ticked) and what is recommended (R).
7. Know the Laws
Safety equipment aren’t the only place that international laws will differ and it’s important you the laws of the roads you are driving on.
The two obvious differences will be that mainland Europe drives on the right-hand side of the road and most distances and speed limits will be shown in kilometres not miles but there will be more and we recommend reading up on them before you travel.
8. Get a Sticker
Unless your number plate has a GB identifier on it then you will need to get a GB sticker to travel anywhere in mainland Europe now that the UK has left the EU. This is to identify your vehicle as a non-EU one and helps ensure you follow the correct procedures when entering / exiting a country.
Additionally, there may be other stickers you need to purchase before travelling, such as a Crit’Air one when travelling in certain parts of France.
9. Keep it Clean
When travelling we always recommend keeping a designated rubbish bag in the vehicle and regularly swapping this out / emptying it in order to keep the car clean and smelling fresh.
Driving abroad often means long hours on the road and while it can be easier to eat on the go and you’ll quickly build up a stock of empty drink containers these can become a distraction to the driver, especially if they’re rolling around underfoot.
10. Take Regular Breaks
Because travelling can require long hours on the road we want to stress how important it is for you and your passengers to take regular breaks. You’ll want to take regular comfort breaks to use the bathroom, stretch your legs and sleep if needed.
If there is more than one adult able to drive the vehicle, then you should also consider taking driving shifts and swapping who is driving so that you can give each other regular breaks.
Want to learn more about driving a company car? Then head over to our guides!