Rules of the Road on the Continent
Every now and then, there’s a high chance that your delivery work might take you over the waters into Europe. If and when you do cross the channel, there are a few rules of the road that are well worth remembering.
Left is Right and Right is Left
The first rule of doing delivery work in Europe is one that you are hardly likely to forget, particularly as the areas around the ferry ports tend to be littered with signposts pointing it out. However, driving on the opposite side of the road than you’re used to can certainly take a while to get your head around. In particular, you might find yourself getting a little confused the first few times you go round a roundabout, or when you use a slip-road going on or off the motorway. Keep your head and the other vehicles on the road will keep you on the right side of the road (but not literally.)
Priority on the Right
In Britain, when pulling out from a side road we have to wait until the road is clear in both directions. However the rules are slightly different in Europe. Remember when you’re doing delivery work across the waters that unless there is a road sign stating otherwise, you are obliged to give way to any traffic approaching from the right, even if they are pulling out from a seemingly very minor road. Keep an eye out for this, or you might get a nasty shock as someone pulls out in front of you. However, be sure to take care when turning out of side roads yourself, in case of people less clued up about driving on the continent than you.
Check Your Speed
There are two things to remember about speed limits in Europe. Firstly, when you see a sign for 130 on the motorway, you might just put your foot down. But bear in mind that speed limits are in fact shown in kilometres per hour, rather than miles per hour. So don’t be in too much of a hurry to get your delivery work done or you might just wind up with a speeding ticket. Secondly, it’s important to remember that within Europe, there are varying speed limits according to the weather conditions. For example, when it rains in France, the motorway speed limit goes down from 130 km/h to 110 km/h, whilst on dual carriageways and roads with central reservations, the speed limit changes from 110 km/h to 100 km/h. It is worth making a note of these changes and keeping them to hand, just in case the heavens decide to open whilst you’re doing your delivery work.
Choose Your Dates
It pays to be aware of restrictions on driving on certain days in Europe. These can change from country to country, though France, Spain and Italy all restrict vehicles with a gross weight greater than 7.5 tonnes from the roads on Sundays and public holidays. So check the calendar before you set out or you might just find that your delivery work is delayed until Monday morning.
If you’re planning to take your delivery work across the waters to Europe, its well worth avoiding accidents and mishaps by doing your homework before you get in the cab. Though differences between the rules of the road in various parts of Europe may only be subtle, not knowing them can certainly hold up and hinder your deliveries.