Here in the UK, there are not any legal requirements when it comes to carrying equipment in your car. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t carry a first aid kit, warning triangle, fire extinguisher etc., but you won’t be fined or arrested if you don’t. However, many European countries do stipulate that all drivers must carry some equipment, and you may fall foul of the law if you don’t. The required equipment varies widely between countries: even in the EU, there’s no standardisation. So if you’re planning a cross-borders road trip, you’ll need to carry everything legally required for all of them. Be aware that hire car companies may not always provide you all the legally mandatory equipment for driving in their country.
Because mopeds and motorbikes are subject to many exemptions, the information below only applies to cars. Larger vehicles may be subject to additional rules. It’s important that you read the road rules for the country or countries you intend to visit and the vehicle you intend to drive. This is not intended to be an exhaustive guide to driving in each European country.
As a general equipment list for driving year-round in European countries, whether mandatory or not, we recommend you carry in your car:
- Reflective jackets for each occupant (in the passenger compartment, not in the boot) meeting EN471 standards
- 2 red warning triangles
- A first aid kit in a dirt-proof box
- A fire extinguisher
However, be aware that extra equipment may be required as per the laws of each country you intend to visit. For example, France requires you to keep an unsed breathalyser in your vehicle at all times. Some countries require you to purchase toll road equipment or passes before entering or at the border. Furthermore, equipment like dash cams and speed camera warning devices/functions are banned in various countries. Read the relevant regulations carefully before driving.
Many European countries require you to either carry snow chains or have winter tyres fitted between November and April. Winter driving rules vary widely and may depend on the local weather conditions at the time.
Finally, please note that after Britain leaves the European Union, you may require an international driving permit to drive in EU countries. Click here for current guidance (as of February 2019).
In the following countries it is compulsory to carry a first aid kit in your car:
Albania, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium (locally registered vehicles only), Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia (company cars only), Georgia, Germany (locally registered vehicles only), Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Turkey, Ukraine
In the following countries it is compulsory to carry one or more warning triangles in your car:
Andorra, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus (2 required), Czech Republic, Denmark (must be red), Estonia, Finland, France & Monaco, Georgia, Germany (for German residents), Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy & San Marino, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal (locally registered vehicles), Romania (must be red), Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain (1 mandatory, 2 highly recommended - fines are possible with only 1), Sweden (locally registered vehicles), Switzerland & Liechtenstein, Turkey (2 required), Ukraine
In the following countries it is compulsory to carry one or more reflective jackets. Please note that in many countries it is required for ALL persons stepping outside a broken down car or onto rural roads at night to wear reflective clothing:
Andorra (must be yellow), Belgium, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France & Monaco (must be EN471 compliant), Germany (for locally registered vehicles), Hungary, Italy & San Marino, Latvia (reflective clothing), Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Norway (for residents), Portugal (for residents), Romania, Serbia, Slovakia (must be EN471 compliant), Slovenia, Spain
In the following countries it is compulsory to carry a fire extinguisher:
Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia & Herzegovina (LPG vehicles only), Bulgaria, Estonia, Georgia, Greece, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia (LPG vehicles only), Moldova, Poland, Romania, Russia, Turkey, Ukraine
Please note that laws are subject to change!
Safety First Aid offer a variety of vehicle safety supplies for driving at home and abroad and in all weather conditions. For first aid kits for cars, click here
. To purchase warning triangles, click here. For adults high-visibility waistcoats, click here. For children’s, click here.