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Finding a Rest Break When Driving In Europe

By: Tracy Whitelaw - Updated: 28 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
Finding A Rest Break When Driving In Europe

Driving through Europe can be fairly stressful at times, even to the most experienced or laid back driver. Being in an unfamiliar environment, getting used to new road signs, traffic systems, local customs and all while remembering to drive on the right-hand side can sometimes be extremely tiring. One of the most important things you can do for yourself and your passengers is to always ensure you’re taking adequate rest breaks on your journey. There are a number of ways to do this throughout Europe, helping keep you alert and safe on your trip.

When Should You Take Rest Stops

Most driving organisations recommend that you take regular rest breaks when driving for any length of time. Generally they recommend at least 15 minutes every 2 hours, but it’s certainly worth taking more if you can. The key to this is to plan your route and work out how long it’ll take you to get from point A to point B. This will give you an idea of where you’re likely to want to stop and you can mark resting places on the map if you have one. You can also look for service stations or other amenities so that you know you’ll have services available to you when you stop. In most cases, the time to stop and take a rest break are:
  • When you’re feeling even the slightest bit tired
  • If you feel you’re losing concentration
  • When you start to get agitated at other drivers or the road conditions
  • If you’re feeling stiff and uncomfortable in the car

Trying to ‘soldier on’ to get to your next location when you’re suffering signs of fatigue is extremely dangerous, so plan your stops ahead of time and know where you’ll be resting.

Types of Rest Stops in Europe

Europe generally has a number of well lit, well signed resting areas for drivers to stop and take a break on long journeys. There are a number of different types of stops available and you can choose which services you need at specific times. Different types of rest stops are:
  • Service stations
  • Lay-bys
  • Rest areas
  • Highway stopping areas

Most rest stops will be clean and safe, but always try to remember that you are in an unfamiliar environment so it’s better to be alert and cautious. If you’re planning to sleep at a rest area, ensure your vehicle is locked up and park near either a CCTV camera, light or other people.

Knowing Where the Rest Stops Are

There are a number of ways that you can work out where rest stops are throughout Europe. You can simply look for signs on the road that point to resting areas or service stations, or you can plan ahead and mark them off on a map. There are some great street maps and books that will highlight already on maps all the rest areas and service stations for your route. You can buy these in any good bookstore, or direct from companies like the AA or the RAC.

If you have satellite navigation available, check out whether you are able to show local rest areas on the map and set up route points to ensure you’re going to be near rest stops every few hours. Generally they aren’t that difficult to find in Europe and you shouldn’t have too many difficulties. Most major highways or main roads will have areas available to stop and relax for a while, so why not make the most of them. You could even look for some that are near points of interest and make your rest stops an integral part of your trip overall.

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