AA & Dover Plan a Bon Voyage

Top 10 'musts' for safe & legal driving in Europe

02 July 2008

Short breaks with AA Getaways

cars boarding a ferry at the Port of Dover Nearly 3 million motorists will take their cars through the Port of Dover this year - and nearly 80.000 are likely to use the AA's online route planner to avoid them getting lost.

The UK's largest motoring organisation and one of the world's busiest ferry terminals have come up with top ten "musts" for drivers to remain safe and legal with driving on mainland Europe this summer.

Last year, motoring tourists returned in their thousands to ferries, as continued consolidation of the low-cost airlines and increasing airport taxes and delays reduced the appeal of short-haul flights in favour of drive-and-sail holidays.

The number of tourist car journeys was up 7.2 per cent to more than 2.8million – the highest since 1999. Also last year, more than 77,000 people used the AA's route-planning service for routes to the Port of Dover, the most popular port request.

Bob Goldfield, chief executive of the Port of Dover says: "We saw a huge resurgence in tourist traffic through the port in 2007, and expect a steady increase this year. We are now heading into the busiest time of the year, as traffic levels peak in mid-August."

"Many motorists will be taking their car abroad for the first time in years, trying to save money on holidays further afield," says Edmund King, President of the AA. "Not only are they unfamiliar with the best route to the ferry, but they also need to brush up on their continental driving tips."

10 top tips

The AA and the Port of Dover's 10 top tips for a safe, smooth journey:

  • Take regular breaks roughly every two hours
  • Plan your route carefully and allow extra time for delays and breaks
  • Check the Dover website www.doverport.co.uk for latest travel updates
  • Pre-plan in-car activities to keep children entertained
  • Avoid heavy meals and processed foods before and during your drive
  • Obtain the compulsory equipment for each country – not forgetting to adjust your headlights
  • Check vehicle oil, coolant and windscreen wash levels and tyre pressures before setting off
  • Check your paperwork: passport, vehicle documents, breakdown cover and insurance
  • Learn the rules of the road and ask passengers to remind you to Keep Right
  • Familiarise yourself with the holiday load: towing, roof-rack or a heavily-laden car affects handling, performance and braking

"The ferry crossing itself provides an ideal opportunity for everyone to take a complete break and change of scenery before heading for the next stretch of their journey rested and refreshed," says Edmund King.

"Taking the car to the Continent by ferry gives drivers flexibility – to travel at any hour of the day or day of the week, unrestricted by punitive luggage allowances and long check-in times. There's plenty of space on board..." says Bob Goldfield.

AA European Breakdown Cover, plus a range of maps and motoring essentials are available at the Port of Dover shop.

Great savings on ferry travel with P&O Ferries for AA members

AA European Breakdown Cover


02 July 2008