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Non-Bike rideout to Prague!


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Hello everyone, not sure if this is the right section for this but i couldnt think of anywhere else to put it, and you guys are so helpful i wanted to ask here first.

so basically, I'm helping a friend out whos emigrating to prague. We're renting a lwb transit, cramming all his flat pack furniture in the back and driving from essex to the ferry at dover - calais, then through europe to Prague. Theyve rented/bought a flat already so dropping them off, setting it all up then I'm heading back solo on the Sunday to return the van.

What do i need to know about driving on the continent? This will be my first time.

I've gather that the breathalyser law has been passed in france now, so will need to pick some of those up before we go, is there anything germany or czech specific like that we should know about?

whats the law with warning triangles and hi vis jackets?

and the last one i can remember to ask for now - whats the law on stopping somewhere and getting some sleep? Its a pretty long trip back on my own and its gonna be a busy weekend so I imagine at some point i will need to have a break for a few hours. I have a hammock and was going to set it up in the back of the van if i stopped, but dont fancy being woken up from beauty sleep by some foreign coppers! where/when can i stop?

the upside to this is, the spare room in their flat is now mine, so I can go out there whenever i want, and if i can get a job, live out there with them. Or just take the bike out for a seriously long rideout :)

thanks for any help and advice!

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My other half is from Czech

I can ask her anything you need to know

I would presume there will be service stations like in the UK that you can stop at

You would probably be best of googling them and plan your stop as I know it is a very rural country once you head out of Prague

Also might be worth knowing English isn't as much of a second language as other places in Europe so a phrase book will come in handy

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Make sure the Hire Company allow it to be taken to Europe.

Breath Test Kit x 2 is still required to be carried in France but as of March 1st 2013 The French government have repealed any fine for not having it (Bizzare or what).

Bulb kit, Hi Vis 1 per person, Warning Triangle and First Aid kit all or some of which is required in various countries on your route.

No problem sleeping in Services or Rest Areas just don't go pitching a tent and keep your doors locked.

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I've driven through Europe quite a lot.

You see people sleeping at services but

not in their vehicles! They sleep outside

next to or near to their cars!

I don't really know why.

If it was me I'd sleep in the van :lol:

When we went on the bikes we stayed in

Formule1's very basic but very cheap hotels.

In a van you need to be careful around the

ports that you don't get unwanted hitch-hikers!

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A van, hired under a normal UK rental contract

can not be taken abroad! You'll need a special

contract, special insurance and special breakdown

cover! All this is expensive!

If you take a hire vehicle over the channel without

all the above you are, in effect, stealing it! :lol:

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Just don't do what I did.

I pulled over to get 10 minutes sleep and made the mistake of staying in the drivers seat.

Next thing I know I'm dreaming I'm still driving and wake up with such a shock (i.e. shit myself!)

Just not worth the heart attack!

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Don't do what I did either.

Was nodding off driving down south, don't drive tired right? So I pull into welcome brake and have a snooze in the back of me BMW estate, I happened to be taking a mattress with me as luck would have it for a mates spare room. So I sleep for 2 hours and go on my way. I didn't think twice until I had a £60 fine a week later. I had been on the services for 2 hours 7 minutes. Over 2 hours and you get a fine. Wtf?? I drive that route every single week and had used that services hundreds of times, spending money over the years that would run into the hundreds. Ill die before they get another penny from me!!

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thanks for all the advice guys.

Like i said, Id most likely set up a hammock and sleeping bag in the back and lock myself in, so people would have to be seriously crafty to sneak in! not sure id be too keen on sleeping outside given the weather as it is currently!

We've told the rental company we're taking it abroad to europe and it costs us an extra £5 a day so its not all that bad.

I wonder how they timed that mrbarry, they must have ANPR on the entrances and exits unless there is a very efficient officer taking notes of which cars come and leave and at what times.

Apart from the hi-vis, breathlysers, warning triangle and first aid kit - there is nothing else i need? It doesnt still class as winter or something and i wont need snowchains in the back or something silly?

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Don't pull over on Autobahn hard shoulders unless its an emergency (i.e. not like you see folks here stopping for a pee) only use rest stops else you may get in trouble.

Be careful in France/Belgium towns, I got caught out by what was apparently a pedestrian crossing when the car in front stopped. Couldn't see anything that looked like crossing signs.

Can't think of anything else at the moment.

Oh yeah, if you are in Germany they have/had an odd turn about traffic coming from side roads in towns. Something along the lines of if it's not a major road (think housing estate) then cars coming from the right have priority to pull out. I think it has something to do with keeping traffic moving at junctions. May well be worth googling.

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thanks eddie, much appreciated.

from what ive looked at, we wont be touching any small roads in Germany, literally border to border on a motorway/a road equivalent in some places. Thanks for the hint anyway, it may come in handy

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