Can I Drive A Right-Hand Drive Car In the EU? 

In this guide

Most cars manufactured and registered in the UK are right-hand drive, meaning that the driver’s side is on the vehicle’s right. This is a deliberate design choice in the UK, making driving on the left-hand side of the road easier and safer, giving the driver a better view of oncoming traffic. 

The issue with right-hand drive vehicles is that they’re only well suited to UK roads. In Europe, most countries drive on the right, meaning that using these cars on the continent can be tricky, as your view will be restricted. 

Furthermore, many people get caught out by the rules when taking a UK-registered right-hand drive car into Europe. Here’s everything you need to know about right-hand drive cars and if you’re allowed to use right-hand drive cars in EU countries. 

The Rules for Right-Hand Driving in Europe 

Driving in Europe with a right-hand drive car is perfectly legal, so you won’t get penalised or in trouble for doing so. That said, you must ensure you have the right insurance to drive in Europe. 

Depending on the level of your regular insurance, European travel may not be included, so you’ll need temporary European cover if you plan on driving your right-hand-based car in Europe. You should also check to see if your breakdown cover extends to Europe as well, and if so, what specific countries are included. 

What Else to Consider When Right-Hand Driving in Europe

Although driving with a right-hand car in the EU is legal, you need to do a few things to ensure you don’t get in trouble. 

For example, the main thing that owners of RHD cars need to remember to do is adapt their headlights. Right-hand drive cars have headlights slightly tilted to the left, meaning that in Europe, these lights can dazzle oncoming traffic. You must adapt them before driving at night to be allowed to use the car. 

In addition, you may also need to carry extra equipment depending on what country you’re driving in. For example, you need to have a high-vis vest for each passenger when driving in the car, and you’ll also need to have a warning triangle. You’ll also need a UK car sticker to show that your vehicle is from the UK. 

Certain countries will also need you to carry additional items when driving through them, whether you’re driving a right-hand car or not. In Austria, France and Germany, you need to bring a first-aid kit, and you’ll also need to ensure that you have appropriate visas and travel documentation to ensure that you’re allowed into certain countries. 

Tips for Right-Hand Driving in the EU

Driving a right-hand drive vehicle in Europe isn’t illegal; it’s just a bit more complex and dangerous because you are on the other side of the road. To make sure you’re safe and comfortable, there are a few things you should do and be aware of before driving in the EU with a right-hand drive vehicle. Here are a few tips to ensure you can drive like a pro in the EU. 

  • Be careful when overtaking – In a right-hand drive car in Europe, the driver will have a very limited view of oncoming traffic, especially if stuck behind a larger, slower-moving vehicle. This can make overtaking very dangerous, as it’ll be harder to see if a car is coming towards you. If you want to overtake, give plenty of room between the vehicle in front and yourself, allowing you to see what’s coming. 
  • Get headlight adaptors – You need to alter your headlights to ensure they’re not dazzling oncoming traffic when driving a right-hand drive car in the EU. The best way to do this is to buy stick-on adaptors to fit on your headlights. They’re usually fairly cheap and are easy to apply. Make sure to buy them before you leave for your trip so that you’re not stuck without them. 
  • Think about your speed – As most right-hand drive cars are made in the UK, they typically display miles per hour on the speedometers. This can make keeping to the speed limit in Europe tricky, as most countries use kilometres per hour instead. To avoid speeding, you must be aware of the conversion to drive at the required speed. 65kph is roughly 40 miles per hour, so you can use that as a good base mark for your conversions. Thankfully, many cars will display both mph and kph on the speedometer. When seeing speed limits, make sure to remember what metric the country is using. 
  • Be prepared for tolls – Europe has many more toll booths than the UK, so you’ll come across a few of them during your journey. If you’re driving a right-hand vehicle, this can be pretty awkward, as most of the tolls and ticket booths will be on the left-hand side of the car, making it challenging for the driver to reach them. If you have a passenger in the vehicle, this shouldn’t be too much of an issue, but if alone, you may have to be prepared to get out of your vehicle to interact with the kiosks. Some drivers use rubbish pickers to help them collect and input tickets, and this could be something you do when right-hand driving in the EU. 


Driving with a right-hand drive vehicle in the EU is perfectly legal, and something that many travelling Britts do each year. As most countries drive on the opposite side of the road, using a right-hand drive vehicle can be a bit trickier, as your usual driving position and reference points are different, not to mention that you may not be able to see oncoming traffic as well.

For this reason, those driving right-hand drive cars need to be more cautious when on the roads in Europe to avoid accidents and issues, and the tips from this article should help them be more confident. Before driving abroad, ensure that your insurance and European breakdown cover extends to the continent and that you carry all the required items with you to avoid any issues with the police. 

Alexander Thomas
Alexander Thomas
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