Be prepared if you’re driving to Europe this winter, warns AA

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An increasing number of people are driving to Europe as the most economical way of travelling to ski holidays. That’s especially the case if a family or group of friends are in the same party – driving can work out a lot cheaper than buying individual air tickets. At the same time, you can load up with all your ski equipment, food, clothes and everything else you need for your winter holiday.

But drivers need to be sure they are fully prepared for winter driving in Europe, motoring organisation the AA has warned.

Not only can weather often be unpredictable, causing delays, but there are certain local traffic laws which apply when the conditions are snow when motoring abroad.

The AA has explained that while the majority of popular European skiing destinations can be easily accessed by road, including in nations like the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Bulgaria, the equipment motorists need in each country is different.

“Don’t just jump in the car and go,” advises head of AA International Travel Rosie Sanderson.

“Make sure you have comprehensive insurance that covers you as you cross the channel. Do some preparation before you got to be sure you are properly equipped for the journey.”

The drink-drive limit in many European countries may not be the same as in the UK. In some Eastern European nations, there is a zero tolerance. So, it goes without saying, never drive after drinking.

If you have a device that indicates speed camera location, this may be banned. Disable it.

In some places, winter tyres are obligatory, and the same goes for snow chains when conditions make these necessary. Fit winter tyres before you go, and make sure the tread depth is reasonable. The legal requirement on tread depth will vary, so check before departure.

Don’t take UK diesel fuel as spare, as you probably won’t be able to use this in low temperatures. Use local fuel instead, which will be able to cope with the conditions.

Finally, check what equipment you need to have in the country you are driving to. In France, for example, you’ll need to have a warning triangle, a certified breathalyser and a reflective jacket to wear if you need to leave the vehicle in an emergency.