Friday, 3 April 2015

Car: Mandatory Safety Equipment

It seems the British (and Dutch) governments have very little concern for our motoring safety, at least judging by all various pieces of driving safety equipment that are not mandatory! For all other countries you will need a variety of different pieces of equipment. As a general rule, don't think you can get away with not having it. You don't want to give over zealous cops another opportunity to fine you. Regardless of whether it is mandatory or not, it makes sense to have a lot of the items, just in case. Here's a quick list of the stuff you'll most likely need:

 Fluorescent Jacket

If you get broken down at the side of a motorway, it is well worth sticking on a high-vis vest. When you're stuck on the steppe of Mongolia, then probably not so much. In some countries it is compulsory for it to be within the reach of the driver, i.e. not buried in the back of the boot. In other countries it is necessary to have high-vis jackets for all passengers. Our recommendation is to have a couple of high-vis jackets stuffed under the driver's seat. That way they're nice and easy to reach.
  • Countries required in: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia.

 Warning Triangle

Much like the fluorescent jackets, this an ideal piece of kit for breaking down on busy roads. Make sure you place it a hundred or so metres down the road, there's no point warning people you're broken down two feet away from your bumper! In some countries it is compulsory to have two triangles, we've indicated that in the list below.
  • Countries required in: Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Georgia (x2), Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Turkey (x2).

 First Aid Kit

An item that quite frankly you should have anyway. I know the Mongol Rally is a tongue in cheek middle finger up to health and safety, but seriously if you have an accident then you'll want to be prepared.
  • Countries required in: Albania, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Georgia, Hungary, Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, Slovakia, Russia, Turkey.

 Tow Rope

You're almost certainly going to need this at some point. Even if it is used to hitch up to a tractor to get towed across a swollen river in the middle of nowhere. Also a useful bit of kit to have to help out fellow ralliers whose car has gone kaput. Or even your own car in the worst case scenario.
  • Countries required in: Croatia, Macedonia.

 Fire Extinguisher

You're driving a crap car, through a baking hot desert, you're running low on water, what are you going to do in the event of a fire? If you have an electrical fire you most certainly don't want to be throwing water on it, hence the need for a powder extinguisher. If you never have to use it then you you can save it for the finish line, for the obligatory photo op of you spraying it in the air. 
  • Countries required in: Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania, Russia, Turkey.

 Spare Bulbs

A necessity for certain countries. Also makes sense to have a few spares as you don't want to be driving along the Pamirs late at night with only one driving beam. It's also recommended (but not compulsory) to have a few spare fuses. 
  • Countries required in: Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, Russia.


There are a lot of misconceptions floating around about this one. Quite simply the law in France makes it mandatory to carry a breathalyser. However,  if you are in a foreign (non-French) registered vehicle then the fine for not having one is zero euros. So you are technically breaking the law by not having one, but you won't be punished. Our decision: don't take one.
  • Countries required in: France.

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