driving in europe
O highway I travel, do you say to me Do
not leave me?
Do you say Venture notif you leave me you are
Do you say I am already prepared, I am well-beaten and undenied,
adhere to me?
O public road, I say back I am
not afraid to leave you, yet I love you
express me better than I can express myself.
Song of the Open Road
In the country chapters I go into great detail about the rules of the road for each
country. You should familiarize yourself with and try to adhere to these rules, but don't
sacrifice the proper state of mind in the process.
Ironically, I think the best way to nurture the right attitude is to tone down your
dependence on memory, to let the environmental stimuli flow into you unimpeded
by too many worries, to
react naturally and to trust your reactions, to make mistakes
to not dwell on them, to throw off the great weight of fastidiousness,
to exercise the
old adage: When in Rome, do as the Romans do. In other words, go with the flow;
be cool; blend in with traffic; and revel in the fact that you're truly participating in
a different culture, that you've effectively become, for a short time at least, a
citizen of Europe. When in Paris do as the Parisians and park on the sidewalk. When
in Scandinavia, if you notice everybody else driving with their lights oneven in
bright sunyou'd better too. It's easy.
OK, but now you're on the road in, say, France, and you think you may be
on the wrong road. You're getting nervous because you want to stay off the toll
roads. After checking out France chapter you know that blue signs
marked with the letter "A"
indicate Autoroute péage (toll) roads; while green signs with
the letter "N" indicate non-toll
Route National highways. No problem: just follow
the signs in green, the signs that indicate the non-toll highways. At times, you'll
note, the signals seem ambiguous because one sign bears both blue and green
sections listing A and N roads respectively.
"How can I be on both an A and an
N road at the same time?" you'll ask yourself.
Such signage means only that you're on your way to both types of road, that the road
you're on is not a toll road; eventually you'll have the option to enter either
the toll road or a non-toll road. Sometimes after following a green-only or a
blue/green sign, a blue-only sign will appear unaccompanied by possible turnoffs.
Don't worry: eventually another green sign will direct you to a non-toll road before
you have to pay. This all sounds simple, and it is.
Just keep following the last sign you saw. Keep following the last sign you
saw. Keep following the last sign you saw . . .
Sorry, but I feel the redundancy is
justified. It's easy to get flustered and
worry that you missed an important turn. But the keen state of mind that you'll be in,
coupled with the excellent nature of the roads and signage, will render quite small the
chances of actually missing such a turnoff. Be astute, but trust yourself and the road
design and signage. In a word, relax; usually it
all comes together in the end. The wisdom of this simple approach has been apparent
to me time after time throughout my travels. I've slowly learned not to get
flustered when there isn't a meaningful sign
placed every one kilometer. This is more than a prudent approach to driving; it's an
attitude, an attitude that will greatly increase the pleasure you draw from your trip.
You are, after all, on the road; you should be singing songs and talking like Kerouac.
And, as I first described in the Why Drive? chapter, history has assured that
navigating to the cities and towns and sights is much more of a song than you might
expect. First, most of the European languages you'll encounter are cognate with
English; so it tends to be quite easy to read
signs which give directions. What's more, each city and town grew from an old
town center. In this center, of course, lie most
of a town's attractive sites and accommodations. Everything falls into place if
you follow the ubiquitous signs to the town center or simply head toward the
tallest church spire. Most of the signs denoting town centers bear variations of the
word center, such as
"Zentrum"; in many parts of Germany
the word is "Stadtmitte." Furthermore, on
the way to the center of town you'll see tourist information boards or signs indicating
the direction to the tourist office. Most such signs read
"i" for information; in France, however, they read
"Office du Tourisme" or "Syndicat
d'Initiative"; in the Netherlands they read
"VVV"; sometimes they bear a lone
Another way to get your bearings when entering a town is to follow the signs
that point to the train station. Both the signs
and the stations they point to are ubiquitous in Europe. Look for signs reading
"Estacion," or some variation of the
word station. Many guidebooks use the train station as the origin for their directions
to sights and accommodations. Furthermore, the famous and (here we go again)
ubiquitous Hostelling International sign (see it above, and see
the Accommodations chapter for more on hostelling) tends to be nearby, pointing the way to the
nearest hostel. In most cases hostel proprietors have placed these signs in a series and
with a frequency designed to lead all but the most clueless along the best route to
the hostel door. Often, a tourist office operates out of the local train station. At the
very least you'll find city maps dispensed inside or a single city map displayed on a
large public board just outside. Perhaps what's more important, many of your fellow
travelers at the station will be more than happy to give you the scoop on the best places
to stay, the best sights, and the best places to hang out. Moreover, the parking lot will
be at your disposaloften free of charge: you can just leave your vehicle in the lot
and continue on foot or by metro, bus, or taxi. Since governments tend to build train
stations near places of interest and since business people who cater to travelers tend
to locate their establishments around either train stations or places of interest,
you probably won't feel compelled to stray too far from the station.
To leave a city either follow the signs that indicate the road or the city you
want to travel on or to or follow the signs that
bear words meaning "all directions" or
"other directions". For translations of
these phrases, see the "Road Signs" portions
in the France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Spain sections of this chapter. You'll note when checking the expressways on your map that they often have two different numbers designating them. One is the national designation and the otherwith the "E" prefixis the Europe-wide designation, which simply provides for continuous numbering between countries.
European police don't seem to enforce speed limits with the same gusto
as do North American police. The fast lane is usually just thatfast. The countries
hungriest for speed are Germany and Great Britain, where fast-lane speeds of 120
mph (200 km/h) and 85 mph (142 km/h), respectively, are common. As I'm sure
you've heard, no speed limit exists on many sections of the famous German
Autobahnen. In contrast to Germany and Britain, traffic
in Norway seems to crawl along. Generally, traffic flows about 10 mph (17 km/h)
faster than traffic in North America. The roads are good enough to handle the high
speeds, but if you don't fancy yourself a Euro Speed Racer or if your vehicle simply
can't keep up, you won't be alone: plenty of Europeans drive 55 mph in the slow
lanes or amicably signal or pull onto the shoulder so speedier drivers can pass. Many
countries define speed limits in terms of
"built-up" areas. A built-up area is indicated by
a sign, placed along the road at the community boundary, that bears the name of
the community. The end of a built-up area is indicated by a black slash across a twin
of this sign. If when outside a built-up area the police nail you for speeding, they
won't pull you over immediately; instead, they'll radio one of their colleagues who'll
pull you over at a convenient spot down the road.
You need to familiarize yourself with the ways drivers may signal to you.
If someone driving in the opposite direction blinks their vehicle's headlights, it
means that police are lying in wait ahead. On the open roads of someone who wants to pass
will come up behind you with their vehicle's left blinker (right blinker where driving
driving is on the left) and/or headlights flashing (if on the continent); if you're on a single-lane highway,
signal with your vehicle's right directional (left directional where driving is on the
left) when you think it's safe for them to pass. European truckers use the same
blinker signal to let you know it's safe to pass them. If the truck driver sees danger
ahead he'll engage his truck's left blinker (right blinker where driving is on the left).
Although I cannot recommend you interpret such signals as I describe above,
you may soon come to trust thembut in any case you act on these signals
and my description of them at your own risk. Two
quick beeps on the horn means "Thank you."
In the British Isles, however, it is not a good idea to flash your headlights to indicate you want to
pass, as this is likely to offend the driver ahead of you; better just
express a sense of urgency by using your indicator and hovering quite near
behind the vehicle and somewhat toward the center of the roadbut without
tailgaiting. Throughout Europe you're expected to sound your horn before taking a blind curve on a
narrow rural or mountain road. Otherwise, use the horn as a last resort.
Motorcyclists often signal their Hello's to other bikers and Thank you's
to other motorists (earned for instance by a car that moves over
to give more room for the cycle to pass) by slowly pressing out their right leg.
You'll encounter tunnels in mountainous areas. Be sure to turn on
your vehicle's headlights before entering a tunnel; police tend to lie in wait on the
other end, nailing driver's who haven't lit up. Norway's tunnels are so long they're
unnerving; you'll feel like Starbuck being shot out of the Battlestar Galactica,
and you'll think to yourself, "Gee, even
Superman woulda had a hard time digging these tunnels."
By the way, driving with headlights on decreases by 30 percent your chances
of being in a collision with another vehiclethat's why it's required at all times
in Scandinavia. (For some reason this is illegal in Germany, however.) And police are bound to go easier on drivers thoughtful enough to
To use toll roads, you must, upon entering the system, pay at a booth or
else get a ticket by pushing a red button on a driver's-side ticketing machine.
Sometimes the ticketing machine controls a
barrier; other times there's no barrier. If you go through an unbarred control point
without getting a ticket, you'll be charged the
maximum toll at the next exit. So they can further prosecute violators, many toll
stations use automatic cameras to photograph any vehicle that passes through a pay
booth without paying.
If you travel through mountain tunnels or over passes which charge a
toll, note that many offer discounted return fares for travelers who'll return within
a certain period, usually 72 hours.
Where two roads of equal priority intersect, you must give way to
traffic coming from your right. In France this
rule once applied to all roads, thus supplanting any notion of a priority road;
fortunately this is no longer the case. These days
long stretches of European roadway are clearly marked as priority roads, and/or the
approaches to and intersections with priority roads are clearly marked with
warning signs and with Yield and
STOP signs or signals. Since they don't really
intersect with other roads, all expressways (variously
called autoroutes, autobahns, motorways,
etc.) have priority. In towns a priority road often branches and makes complicated turns. In such cases a sign often identifies the priority road with a fat line opposed to thin lines which indicate lesser roads. Only on occasion will two roads of equal (unmarked) priority
intersect and oblige you to exercise your knowledge of what in France
is called "priorité à
droite" or "priority on the right". Sometimes this runs rather counter to intuition. Take the case of an uncontrolled "T" intersection of two equal roads. You might think traffic on the through street of the "T" would have priority. But, no, traffic on the right must be yielded to. (Left-turning vehicles, however, should always yield in this situation.)
"Hey, look kids. There's Big Ben, and there's Parliament," exclaims driver
Chevy Chasestarring as Clark Griswald, the well-meaning but bumbling patriarch
of the pathetic Griswald clanin a scene from the 1985 movie
European Vacation. The scene unfolds early one day in
the family's rented car as Clark attempts to navigate a London roundabout. "Kids.
Big Ben, Parliament, (again)," he repeats the second time around. "Kids." "We
know," they retort in unison. ". . . Big Ben,
Parliament." Dusk finds the Griswald's little
car circling on the same roundabout, all passengers but Clark fast asleep. "It's
amazing," Clark says to himself in hysterical disbelief. "I cannot get left."
Roundabouts: those circular intersections where stop signs are nonexistent,
and everyone's at everyone else's mercy, and you have to join the flow if you
want to goand you could, in theory, go around forever. The word
roundabout is actually of American origin. American
Logan Pearsall Smith, one of the members in the 1920s of the BBC Advisory Committee
on Spoken English originated it. Before he suggested the change, traffic circles
in Britain were called gyratory circuses. (Smith also wanted to call traffic
lights stop-and-goes.) To many of us North Americans, though, roundabouts
epitomize European motoring. The popular American imagination elevates few elements
of civil engineering to the level of enigma, but it has done so with roundabouts. In
fact many non Europeans assume that if roundabouts are such a puzzle, so must
be the rest of European motoring. You know by now that this assumption is
unsound. But what is the deal with
roundabouts anyway? Although in most cases you
don't need to stop when entering a roundabout, you must yield to traffic that's already
on it. A sign bearing a circle of three counterclockwise arrows indicates such a roundabout. Though increasingly
rare, some roundabouts aren't graced by such a sign and thus make it
incumbent for you to exercise the aforementioned
priorité à droite rule; in other words,
traffic on these roundabouts must yield to traffic entering. Regardless of signage,
it should be immediately obvious if the traffic on or entering the roundabout is or is
not waiting for you to enter. Once on the circle, you can go around indefinitely until
you figure out which exit you want to take. You'll get the impression that you're
skating around that old roller rink you used to go to as a kid. Indeed, you'll become a
bit giddy. You'll quickly come to like these little rinks: they allow you to make
unhurried decisions as your vehicle is moving, and they reduce the number of stops
you must make. If two lanes enter a roundabout, you should stay in the inside
lane, engaging your vehicle's inside blinker until you identify the exit you wish to take
and until you pass the exit immediately before that one. Once you reach this point
you should engage your vehicle's outside blinker, move into the outside lane,
and exit the roundabout. England and France employ the most roundabouts.
Let's hope that all your stops are pleasant, but you should note the places
where they're less likely to be so. Geneva's International Road Federation has
declared Turkey and Latvia the most dangerous European countries in which to drive;
Portugal is close behind. The safest countries for drivers are the Netherlands,
Denmark, Finland, and Germany. The Federation's comments generally agree with the data
in Table Driving.2.
Table Driving.2 Vehicle Fatalities.
|Country||Average number of deaths per million registered vehicles.
|Great Britain|| 207
Most countries empower their police to collect fines on the spot from
violators. If the police require that you pay
them, make sure you get a receipt; and if
possible, make sure the nature of the offense and
the amount of the fine as described on the receipt match the actual offense and
the amount you paid. Police in France, Germany and Italy use roadblocks to conduct
random checks of vehicles and drivers. Blood alcohol limits in Europe are given in
milligrams (mg), so that's how I list them for each country. Note that a blood
alcohol limit of, say, 80 mg is equal to a limit
of 0.08 percent or 0.8 grams per liter. Radar-triggered cameras are increasingly
used to enforce speed limits by photographing the license plate of an offending
vehicle. The ticket is posted within a few days to the name and address on
the registration. If it's a rental or tourist-lease, the company will get the
ticket and charge you. If it's a foreign-registered vehicle, well, just wait
and see. The photo used to accompany, but in several cases love affairs
exposed; so now you'll have to visit the police station to garner the
evidence. Whereas the key first threshold for police officers who might write a
ticket on the spot is reported to be a speed 10 percent over the limit, it's said that along
cameras are only triggered by vehicles going more than 20 km/h over.
Furthermore, it's rumored only half the photos are
unambiguous enough to result in a ticket. If you trigger one of these cameras
you'll probably see the flash. Signs usually warn drivers
if such an apparatus is permanently mounted along or above the road.
But often they're mounted in unmarked police cars parked on the roadside
or median, and in such case of course no signs attend.
On the Other Side
The main trouble that most North Americans face when driving in the British
Isles is that they must drive on the left side of
the road. Not only is the traffic flip-flopped, but the steering wheel is on the other side
of the vehicleand the gear shift is at your left hand instead of your right.
(Although the shifting pattern is the same; and
the accelerator is still at the right foot, with
the brake pedal off to its left.) It's virtually impossible for a North American to
practice driving this way before arriving in a country where left-side driving is the
norm; the best we North Americans can do is use mental imagery to shed the
right-side-of-the-road mindset. Yet the adaptability
of the human brain is remarkable. In a matter of days a North American or
continental European driving in the British Isles
(or, for that matter, a Brit or Aussie or Kiwi driving on the continent) can supplant
the mindset he or she assumed over a whole lifetime. It reminds me of an experiment
in which scientists asked a man to wear a contraption that inverted his vision.
He agreed. At first, the upside down world confused the man so that he
stumbled around and could hardly feed himself. Within a week, however, he was
functioning normally. When the scientists finally took the contraption off the man's
head, the rightsideup world seemed upside down to him. Again he stumbled around
and could hardly feed himself. This went on for yearsno, just kidding; in a couple
of days the man readjusted to the conventional world. If the human mind can
adapt so quickly to the inversion of the whole world, surely you'll adapt to sitting on
the right side of a vehicle, shifting with your left hand, and driving on the left side of
Not only will you quickly adapt, but the benefits of driving will counteract
the anxiety you'll experience in the transition period. In the meantime, the right
attitude can minimize both this anxiety and the
real danger that fuels it. Be cool. Take your time. Most Brits and Irish, experienced
in motoring on the continent, empathize with and are thus tolerant of disoriented
foreign drivers. When someone does honk at you, open your smile like a jackknife and
wave at the irritated bloke like a bloody fool. Who cares? Remember, all will be OK
as long as you don't hit anything. Soon you'll be zipping around like Jackie Stewart.
The whole experience will make for good stories when you get home, and the you'll
feel a genuine and justified pride in your accomplishment.
I must reiterate that it is legal to
drive left-hand-drive vehicles (steering wheel on the left, gear shift on your right) in
the British Isles and right-hand-drive vehicles on the continent, but it makes it
virtually impossible to safely pass other vehicles unless you have an astute and trusted
navigator in the passenger seat or unless the driver's seat is high enough to let you
see over the majority of vehicles. The headlight beams should be adjusted before
you make the switch. Naturally you can buy a headlight conversion kit in Europe.
The kits contain specially shaped adhesive black plastic which sticks to the glass and
alters the direction of the beam.
As I enthusiastically related in the Why Drive? chapter, you should be able to find
free-of-charge parking all over Europe. Some neighborhoods, however, reserve free
parkingor all parkingfor residents. In such
areas the residents' vehicles bear an official sticker. Check the other vehicles
around yours to see if they all bear the same sort
of sticker in the same place on one of the windows. No parking zones along streets (for instance, near bus stops) are often indicated by a zig-zag white line painted on the street.
Parking meters and "pay-and-display" schemes are common. A
pay-and-display scheme requires you to pay at a
central machine (some machines ask you to punch in your vehicle's license plate number
too), press a button (usually the green one, the others are for local residents
whose vehicle's bear special permits), receive a ticket that lists a time-of-day limit
commensurate with the amount you paid, and display the ticket in readily visible spot on the dashboard (on the side closest to the curb if on the street). Most of these machines account for
periods of the day when parking is free, so you can pay at night for the first hour or
two after 8:00 or 9:00 a.m. the next day. In event of a defective machine you should use the parking disc I desribe next. You may then park for the maximum duration normally permitted at that location.
A pay-and-display machine in Germany. Literal translation: "Parkticketmachine: Here parkticket take."
A parking disc placed
on a dashboard.
Many cities in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the
Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland enforce
Blue Zones or short-term parking areas which limit parking to an indicated duration, usually two hours. The marking of these zones
varies from country to country. Before parking in a
Blue Zone you must obtain special tickets or a disc from a tourist office, police
station, or tobacconist. Sometimes you must buy the tickets or disc, but usually
they're given free of charge. In fact most rental companies include a disc or "blue card"
in their vehicles. When using a ticket, you write on it the date and time of your
arrival (Europeans write the day number before the month number and use the
military convention for noting times) and then display it on the side of your vehicle's
dashboard closest to the curb. Discs, on the other hand,
either bear a clock face and a
set of unmechanized clock hands which you can set to show the time of
your arrival (see Figure Driving.3 above) or they actually function mechanically as clocks (see www.dotoni.ch).
You may round-up to the next half-hour. If, for example, you arrive at 9:40, you can indicate 10:00. In lieu of these items a simple note left on
your dashboard may suffice. It's worth noting that during my first extended motor tour
of Europe I was unaware of such zones; I never bought tickets or obtained a disc,
and I never suffered a penaltyand I parked in many cities and towns which
supposedly enforce Blue Zones. Maybe I was lucky.
If you're unsure about whether you should obtain a ticket or disc, check the
dashboards of the other vehicles in the area to determine if other drivers feel it's
If you do get a parking ticket and you do feel compelled to pay it, most
countries offer a rather ingenious way to do so.
Take the ticket to a tobacconist, purchase a tax stamp (called a
"timbre fiscal" in France) in the proper amount, affix the larger of
the tax stamp's two sections to the ticket, and, using a regular stamp, mail the
tax-stamped ticket to the address indicated on the
ticket. Note that wheel clamps are coming into wider use.
Most parking garages and lots employ one rather clever pay-for-parking
scheme. Upon entering, you receive a time-stamped ticket. Just before you leave, you take the ticket to
a central processing machine and place it in a slot. The machine then prompts you
to insert the appropriate amount of cash.
(Many of these machines accept coins only; so it's a good idea to check this upon
leaving your vehicle behind.)
Insert the cash and the machine returns
any change along with the ticket, which now bears the time and a certification of
payment. Finally, you must present the ticket to the attendant or insert it in a machine to leave.
For the safety of their female customers, it's quite common in Europe
for parking garages to reserve the most well lit and frequented area of
the garage for women who are not accompanied by a male. This area usually
corresponds to the first level of the garage. Look for signs reading,
for example, "Nur Frau" (German for "Only Woman").
As I mentioned in the Why Drive? chapter, Barcelona harbors amazing car
parks. When you drive in, an attendant directs you to continue into a chamber. Once
you properly align the vehicle in the chamber, you exit both the vehicle and the
chamber. Finally, the attendant closes the
chamber, and the vehicle is hydraulically moved to some secret, subterranean vault. Be sure
to remove your luggage when you remove yourself from the chamber: I once
didn't and had to recall my car, drive it out, and pay before being able to re-park it.
Theft and Safety
Most theft in Europe is of the petty variety, rarely involving assault: the thief does
not want a confrontation. Thus, by using your head you can prevent almost every
For example, don't let people listen in or somehow note your phone card or
credit card number. Watch your credit card after giving it to a clerk: you don't want the
clerk to make extra imprints. Review all charge slips before you sign them. And be
careful with your charge card receipts: they have the card number on them too. In fact,
you should destroy old carbons, billing statements, and other records that bear
your account number.
Don't flaunt your money or act too much like a tourist. You know how
foreigners stand out as targets for crime. Don't compromise your trip, but don't
unnecessarily make yourself a bigger target. Be discreet when doing your thing in banks,
at ATM machines, or at exchange booths. Take note of the people around you. Try
to blend in and look confident. If you have a shoulder bag, wear the strap across
the shoulder opposite the side on which the bag hangs. Be careful in crowded
places such as those around street performers and on metros and buses: pickpockets
love crowdsespecially crowds ripe with tourists. Beware at beaches. If two
people approach you, one speaking to you and the other hovering around, go on red alert:
the speaker may be trying to distract you while the other person nabs an item. And
never fall asleep with a valuable next to you. Move in groups when it's convenient.
In no way is the danger great enough that you should modify your itinerary; just be
smart, that's all.
The further south you go the more you need to be aware of your possessions
and personal space. Beware of young vagrant children and their adult cohorts who
hover around and pickpocket travelers. Such thieves may walk into you with an
open newspaper or large flat box held extended from their waste, wave a newspaper
in your face, or throw a baby doll into your arms to distract you while their
accomplices rifle through your pockets. Other thieves may approach you with flowers
or some other triviality to sell; simply brush them offand don't feel bad about it.
I've even heard of tourists being glopped with mustard then "assisted" by ostensibly
helpful bystanders who in fact did the glopping and who point to the sky and claim the
stuff is bird doo while they wipe it off and swipe what they can. No matter, if you're
aware of their presence and have taken simple security precautions, thieves will leave
Thefts from vehicles occur with alarming frequency in Spain and Southern
Italy. Regardless of where you are, leave nothing of value in the vehicle. Leave the
glove compartment open and emptied. If a rear seat pulls down to offer access to the
trunk, pull it downand leave the trunk empty. If you must leave something of value in
the trunk, however, lock that seat so it can't be pulled down. If possible, lock the
trunk from the driver's side lock so it can't be popped open without the key. If your
vehicle has a hatchback, remove the shield that conceals the empty trunk.
Consider leaving the front passenger door open
to allow thieves easy access: otherwise, they'll break a lock or window. Essentially,
make the scene look as if some other thief has been there already. If you drive into
the larger cities, consider parking in front of embassies and banks where security
may be better, or in an area where traffic police are working. Throughout Europe,
parking ramps offer safer haven than the streets; but they may not be worth the cost.
The rate of theft of vehicles themselves is high in the city of Prague and
in Poland. Consider parking in small towns outlying the larger cities. You can take
the extremely cheap trains into the metro area. Thieves concentrate where the tourists
are, and the tourists usually aren't in the small towns. Turning your wheels all the way
to the curb may also help.
Some thieves are more aggressive than those I've mentioned so far. Keep
your vehicle's doors locked when driving, and keep the vehicle in gear at a stop. If
someone points to your tires as if indicating that the tires are flat, don't get out to look.
If someone bumps youespecially if they bump you repeatedlythink twice
before unlocking the doors and getting out of the vehicle. Rather, turn on your vehicle's
hazard lights to signal that you're not fleeing, and drive slowly to a well-populated
and well-lit place. Beware if you pick up a rental car at Madrid's airport. The
rental companies there park their vehicles in unprotected and unsupervised areas. As
a result, thieves have learned to puncture the tires, wait outside, follow exiting
vehicles, and rob them when the unsuspecting
driver pulls over with a flat. Always be wary of
an offer of roadside help extended by anyone other than a uniformed police officer
or civil guard. If a person stops to help, ask them to call the police. Conversely,
don't you stop to help a stranded motorist: in
the more marginal parts of Europe, roadside brigands are known to feign car
trouble then steal your vehicle and/or rob you when you stop to help.
Lock away your baggage overnight, and lock the door to your room as
well. When staying in a hostel, take a hint from nature and sleep with your valuables
between your legs. Out of sight is out of mind; don't unnecessarily tempt thieves.
Passports are a valuable commodity on the black marketkeep yours secure. If
you travel in a couchette on an overnight
train, tie the door shut: thieves payoff conductors, put sleeping gas into
compartments, and proceed to pilfer the unconscious
occupants' possessions; if you're not careful, you'll wake up minus one suitcase or
backpack but plus one big head ache. Italian trains have become infamous for such
robberies. If something of yours does get stolen from your person, vehicle, or room
and if you have some form of insurance to cover the theft of the item, make sure
you get a police report at the next convenient opportunity, if you know what I mean.
And don't give up items for lost if they are stolen. Often thieves are only after
cash and will dump wallets and other articles. Many are nice enough to throw the
walletincluding credit cardsin a mailbox. The post will check your identification
and deliver the wallet and contents either directly to your embassy or to the police
who will forward it to your embassy. And police stations in Europe are often rife
with stolen articles waiting to be claimed. If you've written your address on your
articles, they may conveniently show up at your embassy like your wallet.
In hot weather check the radiator's water level frequently. If the water level is
low but not below the bottom of the header tank, you can immediately add water.
If, however, the water is below this level, you should allow the engine to cool
before adding water: otherwise you may damage the cylinder block. If the radiator is
overheating, let it cool before very carefully and slowly opening the radiator cap. If
you aren't careful, a rush of steam from the radiator may severely burn you. High
engine temperatures resulting from some combination of a high ambient
temperature, an ineffective cooling system, and extreme strain on the engine from, say,
a steep ascent, can vaporize fuel in the lines, the pump, or the carburetor, causing
the engine to stop. If such a stall occurs, let
the engine cool off before trying to restart it.
Breakdowns & Accidents
If you've rented or leased a vehicle, your contract should entitle you to some form
of roadside service. Regardless, chances are that the local motoring club will come
to your aid. As I detailed in the Documents chapter, most of the European clubs
belong to one of the two international touring organizations, either the
Fédération Internationale de
l'Automobile (FIA) or the Alliance Internationale de
Tourisme (AIT) and thus are obligated to
reciprocate their benefits to members of
likewise-affiliated clubs. If you don't belong to
an affiliated club, you can buy temporary membership in any number of
European clubs. Even if you aren't reciprocally or directly a member of these clubs,
they'll still come to your aidfor a charge. In the country-by-country descriptions, I
include the address and phone number of all automobile clubs, and I note if they're
affiliated with the FIA and/or AIT.
If you stop your car or van or caravan on the shoulder of a highway, you
must place one or two warning triangles along the roadside behind the vehicle.
(Motorcycles are exempt from this requirement.) You should also turn on the vehicle's
hazard lights. In Table Driving.3, I list the appropriate distances at which you should place
the triangle or triangles behind the vehicle.
Table Driving.3 Appropriate Placement of Warning Triangles.
|Country||Distance in Meters|
Behind the Vehicle
|Minimum Visible Distance in Meters
|Finland ||50 (road)|
|France ||30 ||100
|Germany ||100 (road)|
|Greece ||100 ||110
|Great Britain ||50 ||110
|Italy ||50 (road)|
|Luxembourg ||30 ||100
|Netherlands ||30 ||100
|Norway ||30 ||100
|Portugal ||30 ||100
|Spain ||30 ||100
|Sweden ||30 ||100
|Switzerland ||50 (road)|
|Sweden ||30 ||100
If you're battery is dead and it's in a manual transmission vehicle, you can
get the vehicle started again by "popping the clutch." To do this, push in the clutch
and hold it, put vehicle in second gear, have the vehicle pushed up to a speed that
matches the speed associated with the second gear, then let the clutch out and turn the key.
The energy of the turning axle is translated into the engine where the alternator
transforms it into enough electric power to start
Get a receipt for any service you must pay for: your automobile club, rental
or leasing company, or dealer may reimburse you if you
do. Always secure a cost estimate before submitting your vehicle
Besides the information about automobile clubs, I include in each
country's chapter the local telephone numbers for
the police, fire, and ambulance services. In many areas, emergency phones are in
place along major roads. Laws, unless I note otherwise in a country's description,
require you to call police to the scene of any accident that involves you and that
results in damage to a vehicle or person. However, sometimesespecially in the
Souththe parties involved can settle such damages on the spot. Such settlements are
facilitated by the European Accident Statement.
This formfound in the glove compartment or in the pocket on the driver's side door
of most rental vehiclesprovides a standard format on which to draw a diagram of
the accident, note the information about the vehicles and drivers involved, and
note other important facts about the accident. All drivers involved sign the form
and receive a carbon copy; they then send a copy of their copy to their rental or
leasing or insurance company. Of course you should carefully consider your
insurance coverage before settling accidents
without involving the police. Note that you should never sign a statement that you can't
read; insist on a translation.
The Steps to Take in Case of an Accident
To accomplish some of the steps that I describe below, see the
Motorists' Phrasebook chapter for useful phrases
in eight European languages. If you have a European Accident Statement form in
your glove compartment or driver's-side door, get it out and use it to record the
information I mention below. On the EAS it doesn't matter which vehicle you designate as
"A" and which you designate as "B". But
be sure to have the other driver sign the form. Or if the other driver produces itand
if when completed it's acceptable to youmake sure you sign it and take a carbon
a copy. You should mail a copy of your copy to your insurer. Required procedures
are more lax in some countries, such as the United Kingdom
and Sweden; see the next paragraph for the procedures to
follow in such countries.
If you're involved in an accident in a country such as the
United Kingdom or Sweden where the required
post-accident procedure is more lax, and the
accident causes damage or injury to any other person, vehicle, animal not in your vehicle,
or to roadside property, you must do the following.
|gasoline|| benzin|| benzine
|diesel|| dieselolie|| dieselolie
|LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gas)|| LPG (gas)|| LPG
|Nothing to declare.|| Intet at fortolde.|| Iets aan te geven.
|Something to declare.|| Noget at fortolde.|| Let aan to geven.
|passport|| pas|| paspoort
|visa|| visum/visere|| visum
|driver's license|| kørekort|| rijbewijs
|vehicle registration|| indregistreringstattest|| kentekenbewijs
|green card|| grønt kort|| groene kaart
|bail bond|| kautionbevis|| schriftelijk bewijs van borgstelling
|Fill it up, please.|| Vær så venlig at fylde den op.|| Helemaal vol graag.
|Do you have a map?|| Har De et kort?|| Hebt u een wagenkaart?
|Which is the best road to
?|| Hvad er den nemmeste vej til
?|| Wat is de beste weg naar
|Can I park here?|| Kan jag parkere her?|| Kan ik hier parkeren?
|Where can I park?|| Hvor kan jeg parkere?|| Waar kan ik parkeren?
|campsite|| campingplads|| camping
|May we light a fire?|| Må vi tænde bål?|| Mogen wij een vuur maken?
|Is the water drinkable?|| Er vandet drikkeligt?|| Is het water drinkbaar?
|I am leaving early tomorrow.|| Jeg tager af sted tidligt i morgen.|| Ik vertrek morgen vroeg.
|Where are the nearest shops?|| Er der de nærmeste butikker?|| Waar zijn de dichtstbijzijnde winkels?
|Where is the chemical toilet disposal area?|| Er der tømning af kemisk toilet?|| Waar is plaats voor ledigen van chemisch toilet?
|How much will it cost?|| Hvor meget vil det koste?|| Hoeveel gaat dat kosten?
|When will it be ready?|| Hvornår vil den være klar?|| Wanneer is hij klaar?
|How much do I owe you?|| Hvor meget skylder jeg Dem?|| Hoeveel ben ik u schuldig?
|| De bedes venligst
|| Kunt u
|| Vær vanlig at udskifte
|| Kunt u
|| Vær vanlig at efterse
|| Kunt u
|Something is wrong with
|| Der er noget galt med
|| Er is iets mis met
|air filter|| luftfilter|| luchtfilter
|alternator|| vekselstrómsgenerator|| wisselstroomdynamo
|anti-freeze|| frosrvæske/kølervæske|| antivries
|brakes|| bremserne|| remmen
|battery|| batteri|| accu
|carburetor|| karburator|| carburator
|clutch|| kobling|| koppeling
|crankshaft || krumtapaksel|| krukas
|differential|| differentialet|| differentieel
|distributor|| strømfordeler|| verdeler
|exhaust pipe|| udstødningsrør|| uitlaatpijp
|fan belt|| ventilatorrem|| V-snaar
|front suspension|| forhjulsophængning|| Voorwielophanging
|fuel filter|| filter|| filter
|fuel pump|| benzinpumpe|| brandstofpomp
|fuel tank|| benzintank|| brandstoftank
|fuse|| sikring|| zekering
|gasket|| paking|| pakking
|generator|| dynamo|| dynamo
|glowplug|| startgløderør|| gloeipatroon
|horn || horn|| claxon/toeter
|hose|| slange|| slang
|muffler|| lyddæmperen|| knalpot
|oil || olien|| olie
|oil filter|| olie filter|| oliefilter
|oil pump|| oliepump|| oliepomp
|radiator|| køler|| radiator
|shock absorbers|| støddæmper|| schokbreker
|snow chains|| sne kæder|| sneeuwkettingen
|spark plug|| tændrør|| bougie
|starter|| starteren|| starter
|steering|| styretøjet|| stuurinrichting
|thermostat|| termostaten|| thermostaat
|tires|| dækkene|| buitenbanden
|transmission|| transmission|| transmissie
|universal joint|| kardanled|| cardankoppeling
|water|| vandet|| water
|water pump|| vandepumpe|| waterpomp
|wheel|| hjul|| wiel
|valves|| ventilerne|| kleppen
|I am a member of
automobile club.|| Jeg er medlem af
motorklub.|| Ik ben lid van de
|Can your club provide free emergency service?|| Kan Deres Klub yde gratis vejhjælp?|| Verstrekt uw club gratis hulp bij pech?
|Can you direct me to the nearest garage?|| Kan De vise mig den nærmeste vej til dichtsbijzijnde?|| Kunt u mij de weg wijzen naar de dichtstbijzijnde garage?
|My car has broken down.|| Min bil er brudt sammen.|| Mijn auto heeft motorpech.
|My car has run out of gas.|| Min bil er løbet tør for benzin.|| Mijn heeft geen benzine meer.
|Can you tow the car to a garage?|| Kan De slæbe bilen til et værksted?|| Kunt u de auto naar een slepen?
|Please tow it to a garage.|| Træk den venligst til et værksted.|| Wilt u het naar een garage laten slepen.
|Can you repair the car?|| Kan De reparere min bil?|| Kunt u de auto repareren?
|You will be repaid by your country's automobile club.|| De vil få belobet refunderet af Deres egen klub.|| Het bedrag zal u worden uitbetaald door de club van uw eigen land.
|My car has been towed.|| Min bil er blevet slæbt væk.|| Mijn auto is weggesleept.
|Where is the auto pound?|| Hvor er politiets parkeringsplads?|| Waar staan de weggesleepte auto's opgeslagen?
|Someone has stolen
|| Nogen har stjålet
|| lemand heeft
|I have lost
|| Jeg har mistet
|| Ik heb
|I have had an accident.|| Jeg har været ude for en ulykke.|| Ik heb een ongeluk gehad.
|There has been an accident.|| Der er sket en ulykke.|| Er is een ongeluk gebeurd.
|Will you serve as a witness?|| Vil De vidne?|| Zoudt u als getuige willen optreden?
|Call the police.|| Tilkad politiet.|| Wilt U de politie waarschuwen.
|lawyer|| sagfører|| advocaat
|ambulance|| ambulance|| ambulance
|Did you see the accident?|| Så De ulykken ske?|| Hebt u het ongelukzien gebeuren?
|Please write down
|| Skirv venligst
ned|| Wilt u
|your name and address.|| Deres navn og adresse.|| uw naam en adres.
|details of your insurance company and policy number.|| enkeltheder om Deres forsikringsselskab og policenummer.|| uw verzekeringsmaatschappij en polisnummer.
|gasoline|| essence|| benzin
|diesel|| diesel|| diesel
|LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gas)|| Gaz de pétrole liquéfié (GPL)|| autogas
|Nothing to declare.|| Rien à déclarer.|| Nichts zu verzollen.
|Something to declare.|| Quelque chose à déclarer.|| Etwas zu verzollen.
|passport|| passeport|| paß
|visa|| visa|| visa
|driver's license|| permis de conduire|| Führerschein
|vehicle registration|| carte grise|| Kfz-Schein
|green card|| carte verte|| grüne Versicherungskarte
|bail bond|| titre de cautionnement|| Bürgschaftßchein
|Fill it up, please.|| Faites le plein, s'il vous plaît.|| Bitte füllen Sie den Tank auf.
|Do you have a map?|| Avez-vous une carte?|| Haben Sie Straßenkarten?
|Which is the best road to
?|| Quel est le meilleur chemin pour aller à
?|| Was ist der beste Weg nach
|Can I park here?|| Puis-je stationner ici?|| Darf ich hier parken?
|Where can I park?|| Où puis-je stationer?|| Wo darf ich parken?
|campsite|| terrain de camping|| campingplatz
|May we light a fire?|| Pouvons-nous faire du feu?|| Dürfen wir ein Feuer anmachen?
|Is the water drinkable?|| L'eau est-elle potable?|| Ist das Wasser trinkbar?
|I am leaving early tomorrow.|| Je partirai demain matin de bonne heure.|| Ich fahre morgen früh ab.
|Where are the nearest shops?|| Où est les magasins les plus proches?|| Wo sind die nächstgelegenen Geschäfte?
|Where is the chemical toilet disposal area?|| Où est un lieu d'évacuation pour W.C. chimiques?|| Wo ist Klärgrube für chemische Toiletten?
|How much will it cost?|| Quel sera le coût de la réparation?|| Wievel kostet sie?
|When will it be ready?|| Quand sera-t-elle prête?|| Wann wird der Wagen fertig sein?
|How much do I owe you?|| Combien vous dois-je?|| Wievel habe ich zu bezahlen?
|| Veuillez régler
|| Wollen Sie bitte
|| Voulez-vous changer
|| Bitte wechseln Sie
|| Voulez-vous vérifier
|| Bitte prüfen Sie
|Something is wrong with
|| Quelque chose ne va pas
|| Irgend etwas ist nicht in Ordnung mit
|air filter|| le filtre à air|| Luftfilter
|alternator|| le alternateur|| Drehstromlichtmaschine
|anti-freeze|| mettre de l'antigel|| Frostschutzmittel
|brakes|| freins|| Bremsen
|battery|| batterie|| Batterie
|carburetor|| carburateur|| Vergaser
|clutch|| embrayage|| Kupplung
|crankshaft|| vilebrequin|| Kurbelwelle
|differential|| différentiel|| Differential
|distributor|| distributeur|| Verteiler
|exhaust pipe|| tuyauterie d'échappement|| Auspuffrohr
|fan belt|| courroige du ventilateur|| Ventilatorriemen
|front suspension|| suspension avant|| Vorderradaufhängung
|fuel filter|| filtre|| Filter
|fuel pump|| pompe à essence|| Kraftstoffpumpe
|fuel tank|| résevoir de carburant|| Kraftstoffbehälter
|fuse|| fusible|| Sicherung
|gasket|| joint|| Dichtung
|generator|| dynamo|| Lichtmaschine dinamo
|glowplug|| bougie de préchauffage|| Glühkerze
|horn|| avertisseur|| Hupe
|hose|| durite|| Schlauch
|lights|| éclairage|| Lampen
|muffler|| silencieux|| Auspufftopf
|oil|| huile|| Ölstand
|oil filter|| filtre d'huile|| Ölfilter
|oil pump|| pompe à huile|| Ölpumpe
|radiator|| radiateur|| Kühler
|shock absorbers|| amortisseurs|| Stossdämpfer
|snow chains|| chaînes de neige|| Schneeketten
|spark plug|| bougie|| Zündkerze
|starter|| démarreur|| Starter
|steering|| direction|| Steuerung
|thermostat|| thermostat|| Thermostat
|tires|| pneus|| Reifen
|transmission|| transmission|| Kraftübertragung
|universal joint|| cardans|| Kardangelenk
|water|| l'eau|| Wasser
|water pump|| pompe à eau|| Wasserpumpe
|wheel|| roue|| Rad
|valves|| soupapes|| Ventile
|I am a member of
automobile club.|| Je suis membre du
club automobile.|| Ich bin Mitglied des
|Can your club provide free emergency service?|| Votre club peut-il me dépanner sans frais?|| Leistet Ihr Club kostenlose Pannenhilfe?
|Can you direct me to the nearest garage?|| Pouvez-vouz m'indiquer le plus proche garage?|| Können Sie mir bitte angeben die Garage?
|My car has broken down.|| Ma voture est en panne.|| Mein Wagen hat eine Panne.
|My car has run out of gas.|| Ma voiture n' a plus d'essence.|| Mein Wagen hat kein Benzin mehr.
|Can you tow the car to a garage?|| Pouvez-vous remorquer la voiture à un garage?|| Würden Sie das Auto zu einer Werkstatt abschleppen?
|Please tow it to a garage.|| Veuillez le remorquer jusqu'à un garage.|| Bitte schleppen Sie ihn zu einer Garage ab.
|Can you repair the car?|| Pouvez-vous réparer la voiture?|| Würden Sie das Auto reparieren?
|You will be repaid by your country's automobile club.|| Le remboursement sera fait pa le club automobile de votre pays.|| Die Rückvergütung erfolgt durch den Automobilclub Ihres Landes.
|My car has been towed.|| La police e enlevé ma voiture.|| Mein Auto ist abgeschleppt worden.
|Where is the auto pound?|| Où se trouve la fourriére?|| Wo ist die Verwahrstelle für Kraftfahrzeuge?
|Someone has stolen
|| On m' a volé
|| Jemand har
|I have lost
|| J'ai perdu
v Ich habe
|I have had an accident.|| Je veins d'avoir un accident.|| Ich hatte einen Unfall.
|There has been an accident.|| Il y a eu un accident.|| Es gab einen Unfall.
|Will you serve as a witness?|| Voulez-vous aervir de témoin?|| Wollen Sie als Zeuge aussagen?
|Call the police.|| Appelez la police.v ||Wollen Sie bitte die Polizei rufen.
|lawyer|| avocat|| Rechtsanwalt
|ambulance|| ambulance|| Krankenwagen
|Did you see the accident?|| Avez-vous vu l'accident?|| Haben Sie den Unfall gesehen?
|Please write down
|| Veuillez écrire
|| Bitte notieren Sie
|your name and address.|| votre nom et votre adresse.|| Ihren Namen und Ihre Adresse.
|details of your insurance company and policy number.|| le nom et l'addresse de votre assurance et le numéro de votre police.|| Angaben zu Ihrer Versicherungsgesellschaft und-police.
|gasoline|| benzina|| bensin
|diesel|| gasolio|| gasóleo
|LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gas)|| GPL (gas liquido)|| gáz líquido
|Nothing to declare.|| Nulla da dichiarare.|| Nada a declarar.
|Something to declare.|| Qualcosa da dichiarare.|| Tenho algo a declarar.
|passport|| passaporto|| pasaporte
|visa|| visto|| visto
|driver's license|| patente di guida|| carta de condução
|vehicle registration|| certificato di immatricolazione|| livrete
|green card|| carta verde|| carta verde
|bail bond|| cauzione|| fiança
|Fill it up, please.|| Mi faccia il pieno, per favore.|| Encha-o por favor.
|Do you have a map?|| Ha una carte stradale?|| Tem un mapa?
|Which is the best road to
?|| Qual'è la strada migliore per andare a
?|| Qual é a melhor estrada para
|Can I park here?|| Posso fermarmi qui?|| Posso estacionar aqui?
|Where can I park?|| Dove posso posteggiare?|| Ondo posso estacionar?
|campsite|| campeggio|| parque de campismo
|May we light a fire?|| Possiamo accendere il fuoco?|| Posso acender uma foguéira?
|Is the water drinkable?|| L'acqua è potabile?|| A água é potável?
|I am leaving early tomorrow.|| Partiró domattina presto.|| Parto amahã cedo.
|Where are the nearest shops?|| Dove sono i negozi più vicini?|| Onde estão as loj mais próxima?
|Where is the chemical toilet disposal area?|| Dov'è il pozzetto per vuotare i W.C. chimici?|| Onde está detritos?
|How much will it cost?|| Quanto costerà la riparazione?|| Quanto vai custar?
|When will it be ready?|| Quando sarà pronta?|| Quando é que está ponto?
|How much do I owe you?|| Quanto le devo?|| Quanto Ihe devo?
|| é favor adjustar
|| Mi vuol cambiare
|| é favor mudar
|| Mi vuol verificare
|| é favor limpar
|Something is wrong with
|| Qualcosa non va
|| Passa-se qualquer coisa com
|air filter|| filtro aria|| filtro de ar
|alternator|| alternatore|| alternador
|anti-freeze|| antigelo|| anti-congelante
|brakes|| freni|| travões
|battery|| batteria|| bateria
|carburetor|| carburatore|| carburador
|clutch|| frizione|| embraiagem
|crankshaft|| albero motore|| cambota
|differential|| differenziale|| diferencial
|distributor|| spinterogeno|| distribuidor
|exhaust pipe|| tubo di scarico|| tubo de escape
|fan belt|| cinghietta ventilatore|| correia do ventoinha
|front suspension|| sospensione anteriore|| suspensão da frente
|fuel filter|| filtro|| filtro
|fuel pump|| pompa carburante|| bomba de alimentção de combustível
|fuel tank|| serbatoio carburante|| depósito de combustível
|fuse|| fusibile|| fusivel
|gasket|| guarnizione|| junta
|generator|| dínamo|| dínamo
|glowplug|| candela ad incandescenza|| vela de incandescência
|horn|| tromba|| buzina
|hose|| manicotto in gomma|| tubo
|lights|| fari|| luzes
|muffler|| silenziatore|| silencioso/panela
|oil|| olien|| óleo
|oil filter|| filtro dell'olio|| filtro de óleo
|oil pump|| pompa dell'olio|| bomba d'óleo
|radiator|| radiatore|| radiador
|shock absorbers|| stabilizzatore|| amortecedor
|snow chains|| catene da neve|| correntes para neve
|spark plug|| candela|| vela de ignição
|starter|| messa in moto|| motor de arranque
|steering|| sterzo|| direcção
|thermostat|| termostato || termostato
|tires|| gomme|| pneus
|transmission|| transmissione|| transmissão
|universal joint|| giunto articolato|| cruzeta do cardan
|water|| vandet|| água
|water pump|| pompa dell'acqua|| bomba de água
|wheel|| ruota|| roda
|valves|| valvole|| válvulas
|I am a member of
automobile club.|| Sono socio del
automobile club.|| En sou membro de
|Can your club provide free emergency service?|| Il suo Automobile Club puó assistermi gratuitamente?|| O seu club fornece serviçio de desempanagem gratuito?
|Can you direct me to the nearest garage?|| Volete indirizzarmi al più vicino garage?v Pode indicar-me a mais próxima garage?
|My car has broken down.|| La mia automobile è guasta.|| O meu carro avariou.
|My car has run out of gas.|| La mia automobile è rimasta senza benzina.|| O meu carro ficou sem gasolina.
|Can you tow the car to a garage?|| Potete rimorchiare l'automobile in un garage?|| Pode rebocar o carro para uma garagem?
|Please tow it to a garage.|| Per favore lo rimorchi in un garage.|| Por favor reboque-o para uma garagem.
|Can you repair the car?|| Potete riparare l'automobile?|| Pode arranjar o carro?
|You will be repaid by your country's automobile club.||Il rimborso sarà effettuato dall'Automobile Club del suo Paese.||Você será reembolsado através do Automóvel Club de seu país.
|My car has been towed.|| La mia auto è stata rimorchiata via.|| O meu carro foi rebocado.
|Where is the auto pound?|| Dov'è il deposito della polizia?|| Onde fica o parque da policia?
|Someone has stolen
|| Mi hanno rubato
|| Alguém roubou
|I have lost
|| Ho perso
|| Eu perdi
|I have had accident.|| Ho avuto un incidente.|| Eu tive um accidente.
|There has been an accident.|| C'è stato un incidente.|| Houve um acidente.
|Will you serve as a witness?|| Vuol fare da testimonio?|| Pode testemunhar?
|Call the police.|| Chiami la polizia.|| Chame a policia.
|lawyer|| avvocato|| advogodo
|ambulance|| ambulanza|| ambulancia
|Did you see the accident?|| Ha assistito all'incidente?|| Viu o acidente?
|Please write down
|| Per favore scriva
|| Por favor escreva
|your name and address|| il suo nome e indirizzo|| o seu nome e morada
|details of your insurance company and policy number. ||i dat della sua assicurazione e il numero di polizza.|| detalhes para a companhia de seguros e número de apólica.
|gasoline|| bensin|| bensin
|diesel|| gas-oil|| diesel
|LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gas)|| gases licuados del petróleo|| motorgas
|Nothing to declare.|| Nada que declarar.|| Ingenting att förtulla.
|Something to declare.|| algo que declarar.|| Någonting att förtulla.
|passport|| pasaporte|| pass
|visa|| visado|| visum
|driver's license|| licencia de conducir|| körkort
|vehicle registration|| matrículav|| besiktningsinstrument
|green card|| carta verde|| grönt kort
|bail bond|| libertad bajo fianza|| borgen
|Fill it up, please.|| Lleno, por favor.|| Full tank, tack.
|Do you have a map?|| ¿Tiene usted mapas?|| Har Ni vägkarta?
|Which is the best road to
?|| ¿Cuál es el mejor camino para ir a
?|| Vilken är den bästa vägen til
|Can I park here?|| ¿Puedo aparcar aqui?|| Kan jag parkera här?
|Where can I park?|| ¿Dónde puedo aparcar?|| Var kan jag parkere?
|campsite|| sitio de acampada|| campingplats, tältplats
|May we light a fire?|| ¿Podemos encender un fuego?|| Får vi göra upp eld?
|Is the water drinkable?|| ¿Es potable el agua?|| Är vattnet drickbart?
|I am leaving early tomorrow.|| Me marcharé mañana temprano.|| Vi far tidgit i morgon bitti.
|Where are the nearest shops?|| ¿Dónde están la tienda más cercana?|| Var finns närmaste affär?
|Where is the chemical toilet disposal area?|| ¿Dónde está lugar para residuous quimicos?|| Var finns tömning av kemisk toalett?
|How much will it cost?|| ¿Cuánto costará?|| Hur mycket kostar det?
|When will it be ready?|| ¿Cuándo estará listo?|| När blir den färdig?
|How much do I owe you?|| ¿Cuánto le debo?|| Hur mycket blir det?
|| Quiere Usted reglar
|| Var vänlig och justera
|| Quiere Usted cambiar
|| Var vänlig och byt
|| Quiere Usted Verificar
|Something is wrong with
|| Algo va mai con/Algo pasa en
|| Något är fel mel
|air filter|| filtro del aire|| luftrenare
|alternator|| alternador|| växelströmsgenerator
|anti-freeze|| anti-congelante|| glykol/anti-freeze
|brakes|| frenos|| bromsarna
|battery|| batería|| batteri
|carburetor|| carburador|| förgasare
|clutch|| embrague|| koppling
|crankshaft|| cigüeñal|| vevaxel
|differential|| diferencial|| differentialen
|distributor|| distribuidor|| fördelare
|exhaust pipe|| tubo de escape|| avgasrör
|fan belt|| correa del ventilador|| fläktrem
|front suspension|| suspensión de las ruedas delanteras|| framhjulsupphängning
|fuel filter|| filtro|| filter
|fuel pump|| bomba de gasolina|| bränslepump
|fuel tank|| tanque de combustible|| bränsletank
|fuse|| fusible|| propp
|gasket|| junta|| packning
|generator|| dínamo|| generator
|glowplug|| bujía incandescente|| glödstiftv
|horn|| bocina|| signalhorn
|hose|| tubo flexible|| slang
|lights|| instalación eléctrica|| glödlamporna
|muffler|| silenciador|| ljuddämparen
|oil|| aceite|| olja
|oil filter|| filtro de aceite|| oljerenarhus
|oil pump|| bomba de aceite|| oljepump
|radiator|| radiador|| kylare
|shock absorbers|| amortiguador|| stötdämparen
|snow chains|| cadenas para la nieve|| snökedjor
|spark plug|| bujía|| tändstift
|starter|| motor de arranque|| startmotorn
|steering|| dirección|| styrningen
|thermostat|| termostato|| termostaten
|tires|| cubiertas|| däcket
|transmission|| transmisión|| kraftöverföring
|universal joint|| junta de cardán|| knut
|water|| agua|| vatten
|water pump|| bomba de agua|| vattenpump
|wheel|| rueda|| hjulen
|valves|| válvulas|| ventilerna
|I am a member of
automobile club.|| Soy un miembro de
club de automóvil.|| Jag är medlem av
|Can your club provide free emergency service.|| ¿Puede su Club facilitar sevicio gratuito de asistencia?|| Kan er klubb lämna fri bilbärgning?
|Can you direct me to the nearest garage?|| ¿Puede usted indicarme el más próximo garage?|| Var ligger närmaste garage/verkstaden?
|My car has broken down.|| Mi coche se ha averiado.|| Min bil är sönder.
|My car has run out of gas.|| Mi coche se ha quedado sin gasolina.|| Mijn auto heeft geen benzine meer.
|Can you tow the car to a garage?|| ¿Podría remolcar el coche al garaje?|| Kunt u de auto naar een garage slepen?
|Please tow it to a garage.|| Por favor remólquele hasta un garaje.|| Var snäll bogsera bilen till verkstad.
|Can you repair the car?|| ¿Podría reparar el coche?|| Kan ni reparera bilen?
|You will be repaid by your country's automobile club.|| El reembolso se efectuará por medio del club de automóvil de su pais.|| Ni får betalning genom ert lands motorklubb.
|My car has been towed.|| Mi coche ha sido remolcado.|| Min bil har bogserats bort.
|Where is the auto pound?|| ¿Dónde está el depósito de la policía?|| Var är uppställningsplatsen?
|Someone has stolen
|| Alguien ha robado
|| Någon har stulit
|I have lost
|| He perdido
|| Jag har förlorat
|I have had accident.|| He tenido un accidente.|| Jag har haft en olycka.
|There has been an accident.|| Ha habido un accidente.|| Det har inträffat en olycka.
|Will you serve as a witness?|| ¿Quiere actuar como testigo?|| Vill ni vittna?v
|Call the police.|| Llame a la policía.|| Kunt u de politie waarschuwen.
|lawyer|| abogado|| advokat
|ambulance|| ambulancia|| ambulans
|Did you see the accident?|| ¿Vió Vd. el accidente?|| Hebt u het ongeluk zien gebeuren?
|Please write down
|| Por favor, escriba
|| Var snåll skirv ned
|your name and address|| su nombre y dirección || ert namn och adress
|details of your insurance company and policy number.|| datos de su compañía de seguros y número de póliza.|| namn på försäkringsbolag och nummer påförsäkringen.
It's not unusual for European ferries to sport plush seats, televisions,
cinemas, pools, saunas, nice
restaurants, bars, live entertainment, casinos,
children's playrooms, duty-free shops, and
exchange bureaus. The food served aboard ferries
is expensive, however; consider bringing your own sandwiches and drinks.
Also expensive is the merchandise in the duty-free shopsexcept for the tobacco
and alcohol, that is. In good weather you can stroll or sunbathe on the decks,
throw bread to the playful gulls, and snap dramatic photos.
Cabins come in economy, standard, and luxury classes of varying
capacity: single-berth, double-berth, triple-berth,
and quad-berth. You can pay for a single
berth in a multiple-berth room, but the ferry company retains the right to assign
roommates. For some people the comfortable chairs or pullman's coaches may suffice
as makeshift beds on overnight routes. Some budget travelers who embark on their
first overnight sailing of the Mediterranean opt to sleep on the ferry's deck to save
some cash. Bad idea. Summer nights on the
open Mediterranean are surprisinglyand painfullycold.
Many sources preach that you should book your ferry passage in advance if
you plan to transport a vehicle across a principal ferry route during the high season.
This is true, but the proper definition of
"advance" may surprise you. Remember the fecundity of the unexpected that a
motor vehicle allows to blossom? Most bookings entail high cancellation penalties, so
booking ferry passage too far in advance stunts this important factor. Wait until you
arrive overseas and settle into your trip before you make any "advance" booking for
ferry passageif you book at all. Besides, passage booked through domestic brokers
is more expensive than passage booked directly with a ferry company. Many offer
a simplified price structure, constant throughout the year, for tickets purchased
outside Europe. Even during high season you may be able to pull up at the port
unannounced, stop into the office, and succeed in
securing a spot on the next ferry. However, don't expect this method to work as
well as, say, flying standby: the high cancellation fees associated with ferry
bookings oblige people to fulfill their
reservations. But the ferries always have enough
room for foot passengers; I recommend that foot passengers do not make a booking.
In at least two cases, however, you should definetly book ahead. First, if
vehicle-passenger fares are cheaper than foot-passenger fares, you need to book
ahead and declare then the passengers who'll be making the crossing with you. If you
don't do this, the ferry company will require your passengers to pay
foot-passenger fareswhich are more expensive. This policy discourages drivers from
offering passage to hitchhikers or other foot passengers in exchange for cash. Second,
if you plan to secure a cabin on an overnight ferry, definitely reserve the cabin and
your passage in advance. When reserving space for your vehicle, you must describe
the type of vehicle, its license number, its length, and its heightincluding any
roof luggage or equipment.
Fares or "tariffs" charged by a
particular ferry company for a particular sailing might depend on the time of day, the day
of the week, the time of the year, the age and organizational affiliation of the
passenger, and the size and type of vehicle being transported.
Overnight sailings long enough to allow for a good night's sleep tend to
be more expensive than long daytime sailings; whereas short daytime sailings tend to
be more expensive than short nighttime sailings. Holiday and weekend
(usually defined as Friday afternoon to Sunday) sailings tend to be more expensive
than normal weekday sailings. And peak summer sailings are, of course, more
expensive than shoulder and low season sailings
(except for those sailings around, say, Christmas).
Fares also depend on whether a passenger is in a vehicle or on foot, and
on whether he's a child, youth, student, senior citizen, handicapped person, HI
member, holder of a rail pass, auto club member, soldier, or diplomat.
Finally, the fares for vehicle transport depend on the size (length, height,
width) and/or type of vehicle or combination of vehicles.
Most ferry companies calculate return (two-way) fares using the single fares
applicable at the time of the passenger's
departure instead of those applicable at the time of their return, simply doubling
these fares or taking roughly 10 to 20 percent off the sum. Some companies, however,
compute return fares as the average of the outward and inward single fares or
offer them at singleor even lowerrates providing you return on a specific
scheduled but unpopular sailing or on the same day.
Several groups of ferry companies have joined up to offer "Landbridge" tickets
that cover passage from, say, Ireland to Britain to France to Ireland; or from, say, Britain
to the Netherlands and from Denmark to Sweden, both legs being return. It's
usually cheaper to buy such a ticket than to buy separate tickets to achieve the same end.
After widdling down the selection of ferry services, contact the remaining
few. Begin each inquiry by explaining to the ferry representative your planned date
or dates of ferry travel. Ask about the sailing schedule for that day or days. Ask if
the different departures during the day charge different fares. Ferries tend to service
relatively short routes many times a day. On the other hand, ferries may service
relatively long routes only once or twice a week. The frequency of ferry service
also varies with the season: more ferries ply the waters in summer than in winter, and
some may halt service altogether in the off season. If you definitely need a two-way
ticket, be sure to ask for return fares. If not,
ask how the company calculates return fares. If you're arranging passage for a large
group, ask about special group rates. Describe the height and length of your vehicle and,
if it's a large van or minibus, the number of seats it has. Ask if any special offers
applying to your type of vehicle will be in effect around your planned dates of travel.
If you're under 26 years of age, ask if the company offers youth discounts. If
you'll be traveling with children, note the age range for which children's fares are
valid. If you're a student, determine if the company offers student fares; if they do,
ask what documents (ISIC, for example) they require as evidence of your student
status. If you consider yourself a senior citizen, determine if the company offers
reduced fares for seniors and if the
company considers you a senior. (You may need to be
a member of a certain senior citizen organization.) Handicapped persons, ask if
you're entitled to a discount. Hostellers, ask if discounts apply to card-carrying HI
members. Railpass holders, ask if you qualify for a discount or free passage. Members
of auto clubs, determine if reductions apply to you and your family. Soldiers and
diplomats, ask if reductions apply to you and your family. In all cases, ask if the
discounts apply to both persons and
vehicles. Reductions are not cumulative, so opt
for the one that gives you the greatest discount. Be sure to determine what
cancellation charges apply. If pertinent, ask
whether the company allows stop-overs. If stop-overs are possible, note how far in
advance you must declare your intention to stop-over and what
embarkation/disembarkation fees apply. Finally, ask how early
you must report for check-in; plan to arrive at the port at least one hour before a
scheduled departure. Signs depicting car-bearing boats radiate for miles around a
ferry port, so it's easy to find the dock. And
note that it's usually illegal to carry containers of spare fuel on ferries. Quite a few
ferries do, however, allow you to carry tanks of propane.
The Romans mused over the idea.
Napoleon in 1802 approved a Channel Tunnel project designed for stagecoaches
and to be ventilated by chimneys rising above the water's surface.
The British made an abortive stab at it in 1880.
Ground wasn't seriously broken again in this respect until 1987. Some US$15 billion and
seven years later, the finished product of over 15,000 workers ran 50
kilometers (31 miles) from Folkestone, England, to Calais, France, 37 of those
kilometers through chalk marl, the roof just
25–45 meters below the seabed. The "Chunnel"
is the second longest rail tunnel in the world,
the longest being the tunnel under Japan's Strait of Tsugaru.
Not just one tunnel, the Chunnel consists of two large parallel train
tunnels serviceable through a third parallel
tunnel between them. That's right, train
tunnels: you can't drive your vehicle straight through. Instead, after paying at a
toll booth and passing through frontier controls, you'll be directed to drive onto a
long train or "shuttle." There are four
shuttles, one departing every fifteen minutes during peak times, every hour
during the night; each can carry up to 180 cars
and is confined to the Chunnel and its approaches. Thus the Channel Tunnel
allows up to 720 vehicles per hour to come off England's M22 motorway, drive onto a
shuttle, ride piggyback under the ocean, roll off the train, and roll onto
France's A16 or A26 autoroute, or vice versa.
Of course connections to lesser roads are accessible as well. Unless passengers
want to stretch or use the toilets, there's no
reason for them to get out of their vehicles: the chambers are brightly lit,
sound-proofed and air-conditioned but extremely
spartan, and while enroute Customs officials walk from vehicle to vehicle, checking
passports. Motorcyclists, however, travel in a special compartment, separated from
their cycles. The whole process, including the embarking and disembarking, takes an
average of only one hourcompared to three if you employ a conventional ferry
to achieve the same end.
Fares are charged per vehicle, no matter the number of passengers, with
four sets according to the time of year.
There are no advance reservations; though tickets can be pre-paid through travel agents.
For people without a vehicle to transport, 394-meter-long "Eurostar" trains
run through the Chunnel twice daily (once on Sunday, no service on Saturday) at
300 km/h (186 mph) non stop between London's brand-new landmark Waterloo Station
and the Midi Station in Brussels (with occasional stops in Lille, France) or the Gare
du Nord in Paristhe London-to-Paris trip taking just three hours instead of the
grueling six associated with ferry passage, and the standard class approximating a
typical airliner's business class, complete with reading lamps and footrests. Starting
soon, daily service will also run beyond London, from Paris and Brussels direct to
Edinburgh, York, Manchester, and Birmingham, for example. Night sleepers will depart
from Amsterdam, Dortmund, Frankfurt and Paris, direct to destinations such as
the Welsh capital Cradiff, Bristol, and Glasgow.
It's said that travel through the Chunnelprotected by anti-terrorist
security measures similar to those at international airportsis at least 20 times
safer than conventional rail travel, which in turn is much safer than ferry or car travel.
If you're curious about the construction of the Chunnel, you should check
out the Eurotunnel Exhibition Center at Cheriton, near Folkestone. Besides a
large operating model of the link, there's an observation tower giving a bird's-eye
view of the Folkestone terminal. A simulator makes it possible to "drive" a tunnel
construction train. You can view an audio-visual show. And you can inspect a
full-size mock-up of a shuttle.
Motorail services allow you and your vehicle to travel
long distances by train. Motorail is known as "Traines-autos-couchettes"
in France and Belgium,"Autoreisezuge" in Germany,
"Treni per Auto Accompagnate" in Italy, and
"Trenes de Autos" in Spain.
Look for signs reading "auto/train" and depicting car-carrying flatbeds or boxcars.
Belgian Railways operates
an extensive, year-round motorail system, serving Italy, Switzerland, Austria and the
south of France; the departure point is Denderleeuw, a small station between
Ghent and Brussels, only three miles from the superhighway.
Few sources outside Europe know much about Motorail. To get
more info or to make reservations, first visit the website of the rail company
you are interested in using. (See the links on this website.)
The French National
Railway(SCNF) operates an English and Spanish hotline.
As I described in the Itinerary Planning chapter, Motorail lets you drive a linear
rather than a circuitous route and therefore results in savings in terms of fuel and tolls and in terms of wear and tear on your vehicle
and yourself. Note that Motorail trains make far fewer stops than typical trains; you travel faster and without having to
change trains. And of course traveling overnight by train frees the daylight hours for other pursuits.
The savings don't necessarily stop with the above. The European-wide
hotel chains Ibis, Mercure, Novotel, and Minotel grant reduced rates to
SNCF (not just Motorail) travelers, as does Avis.
Several ferry services do the samebut for Motorailers only. These include the
following which cross between Britain or Ireland and the continent: Brittany
Ferries, Hoverspeed, Le Shuttle (through
the Chunnel), P&O European Ferries, and Stena Sealink. Motorailers will also get discounts when plying the sea between France, Corsica
or Sardinia on SNCM Ferryterranée, and
between Spain and the Balearic Islands on Transmediterranea.
Stena Sealink also offers tickets combining Motorail service with
their Landbridge ferry service that connects Ireland to the continent by way of Britain.
The offerings include one-way ferry passage plus one-way Motorail travel, return
ferry plus one-way Motorail, and return ferry plus return Motorail. Let's take one
example: return ferry to Britain plus one-way Motorail between Rome, Italy, and
Some sort of sleeping accommodation is compulsory on most
overnight Motorail services.
Vehicles are generally loaded two hours before departure
of the train, but double check this upon booking. Free parking
is usually available one day before departure and one day
after arrival. In most stations a free car wash voucher is given
to Motorail clients. In some cases the loading and collection
of vehicles take place in the same station as that in which
passengers board and leave the train. When this is not the case a free
bus service is usually provided to transfer passengers between the
Note that the size of your vehicle may limit your ability to
use the trains. To fit on the SNCF trains, a vehicle, in combination
with any attachments, should be no more than 1.63 meters in
height (except on the Lisbon service where 1.6 meters is the limit;
and except for cars towing trailers, which must not exceed
1.55 meters), clear the ground by no less than 0.1 meters, have a
track no greater than 1.85 meters, and a width no more than 1.95
meters. (Some Motorail trains will carry larger vehicles however.)
Bicycles must be transported inside your vehicle. For safety
reasons bicycles carried on specially designed roof racks will be refused
on Motorail and will be forwarded as registered luggage on the
next available parcels train (subject to a handling fee and
delivery within five days). Trailers are carried on all Motorail services.
To find the station look for signs depicting car-carrying
flat beds or box cars and/or reading "auto/train." When you check
in, leave heavy luggage in your vehicle; just take what you need for
the journey. In Italy you must drive the vehicle onto and off of the train.
There's usually a whole range of sleeping accommodation
to choose from. Couchettes are the ideal choice for families,
with four-berth compartments in first class and six-berth
compartments in second class. Although the sheets and blankets are
provided, passengers do not usually undress, as cabins are not
segregated according to sex. Washrooms and toilets are located at either
end of each carriage. A real bed and washing facilities in each
compartment make a Sleeper the most comfortable option. They
can accommodate up to three people; although children under 12
years of age can share with an adult or another child. Each
sleeper carriage has an attendant who will serve snacks and drinks
to passengers in their compartments. T2
Sleepers come in two types: "upper" in which the two beds are at head height on opposite
sides of the compartment, and "lower" where they're one above
the other. I advise elderly or less agile passengers to request the
latter type for ease of access. Not more than two persons may occupy
one couchette berth or bed in a sleeping car, and then only on
condition that at least one person is under 12 years of age (under 10 years
of age on international Motorail services). Children under 4 years
of age who occupy a separate couchette berth or bed in a sleeping
car (or seat on a daytime service) must be in possession of a valid
Breakfast is included in your fare. By the time you've
finished, your vehicle is ready for collection.