In Belgium every car is required to carry at least one fire extinguisher. In Germany you need to have an environment sticker to drive into a city. In France you might need alcohol testers. Coming from mainland Europe to the UK you are required to apply lamp stickers. You need to have fluo vests in some countries. Sometime only the driver, some times all passengers. Today I learned that in Spain you are required to carry spare glasses. If you are wearing sun glasses, while driving you also need to have spare sun glasses. I could ofcourse ask a question on each country which I intend to visit, but can I make my car fully EU compliant. Meaning I have everything required in if it is required in at least one EU member state.

What inventory should I have in my car? What tests, governmental stickers, or other regulation should I adhere too?

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    Parodic version: blip.tv/ledouaisis/g-5996544 (in french but the picture is clear enough to understand)
    – travelot
    Commented Mar 1, 2013 at 13:28
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    @travelot :) How could I forget, a GRD sticker should be on my EU compliant car
    – user141
    Commented Mar 1, 2013 at 13:47
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    The alcohol tester law in France had been postponed until today, 1st of March. The final decision is: you need them, but nothing happens if you don't (this is a law from the previous government that passed to help a friend of the president, the current government neutralized it...) Commented Mar 1, 2013 at 15:54
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    There are currently 27 countries in the EU. 27 different regulations. I think you are asking a overly broad question here. How likely is it that you will be actually traveling to ALL 27 countries?
    – uncovery
    Commented Mar 2, 2013 at 2:15
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    Being as active on travel.se as I am, I would say that that it is quite likely.
    – user141
    Commented Mar 2, 2013 at 5:58

4 Answers 4


The British AA provides a list of recommended items for selected European countries.

Interestingly, they claim that fire extinguishers are only required for cars registered in Belgium.

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    Interesting, but unfortunately the list is incomplete (as is similar lists from other AA-like organizations I consulted). The country stickers are also not required anymore, since every license plate has the blue EU flag with country indication
    – user141
    Commented Mar 1, 2013 at 13:00
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    @Andrea cars with older plates and non-EU cars still need the stickers, though.
    – uncovery
    Commented Mar 1, 2013 at 13:08
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    @Andra that is not correct. For example, many cars still produced in the UK don't have the blue EU flag on the plate: gov.uk/displaying-number-plates/flags-symbols-and-identifiers Commented Mar 4, 2013 at 7:33
  • @uncovery: many non-EU license plates use same scheme, difference is that instead of EU flag they have national flag.
    – vartec
    Commented Mar 4, 2013 at 10:12
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    @vartec AFAIK only for cars registered in Spain
    – Dirty-flow
    Commented Mar 11, 2013 at 12:02

Some of requirements not typically mentioned:

  • winter tires — under some conditions required in Austria, Sweden, Finland and Germany.
  • warning triangles — Spain and Switzerland require not one, but two of them.
  • fire extinguisher — Poland not only requires you to have it, but to have it in "readily accessible", which means you cannot have it in the trunk. Typically they are put under driver's seat.
  • replacement light bulbs — some countries (France, Poland, Czech Rep., Croatia) require you to have replacement bulbs for any of the lights that is legally required.
  • First-aid kit; some countries (at least in Austria). It can be bought in any pharmacy.
  • France does not require replacement light bulbs (even if many French people will tell you it does). You can be fined if a light is broken and you can't replace it on the spot but as long as none of them are broken, the fact that you wouldn't be able to fix them is not in itself an offense. It's a pretty arcane distinction but it means the police can't just fine you because there are no replacement light bulbs in your car.
    – Relaxed
    Commented Jun 30, 2014 at 23:17
  • Netherlands require replacement bulbs, something even many Dutch people don't realise. But same as in France, I've never heard of anyone being fined for not having them unless they were stopped for a broken light and couldn't replace it (of course with the way most cars are now built, replacing a light without a workshop is a futile effort whether you have spares or not).
    – jwenting
    Commented Jul 1, 2014 at 8:02
  • My sincere thanks to @jespestana for making me discover that I'm going around with my motorbike...not compliant with laws :-O
    – motoDrizzt
    Commented May 29, 2017 at 7:54
  • Environmental zone sticker, for e.g. Germany and Denmark (and yes, you need different sticker for different countries). This applies if you enter an environmental zone (typically a city). Supposedly Copenhagen fines you 2500€ and up if you dont have the right one.
    – lalala
    Commented Jul 10, 2020 at 9:58
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    @lalala Denmark's rules for environmental zones only apply to vans, lorries and busses and they no longer require stickers, the vehicle just needs to be compliant with the emissions requirements. Commented Jul 10, 2020 at 13:03


  • You need at least 1 fluo vest.
  • Warning triangle
  • A spare tire is not required, but if you have one it must be in good shape

I am not sure these are mandatory for cars with a foreigner license plate though.

You will need to buy or rent an electronic payment device to be able to use some highways with electronic tolls only.

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    If I am not wrong the principle is that if you drive in a country, you adhering to local regulations is mandatory. The chances of you being caught driving in Belgium without a fire extinguisher are slim, but foreigner did get tickets for not having it on board.
    – user141
    Commented Mar 1, 2013 at 12:48
  • and carrying just that you'd be illegal in Spain where you need 1 fluo vest per occupant, 2 warning triangles, a medical kit (required in most countries, recommended in all), and maybe more. In other countries a set of spare lamps and fuses is I think required, Germany requires winter tyres in winter which are illegal in some countries at least in certain months, etc. etc.
    – jwenting
    Commented Mar 4, 2013 at 7:20

The EU put out an app with a list of traffic rules in different countries and, under the “Other Specific Rules”, a list of safety equipment that might be required (including safety vests, warning triangles, fire extinguishers, and winter tires requirements). Unfortunately, it's short on the specifics, does not seem more comprehensive than other similar lists (e.g. from automobile clubs) and comes with a disclaimer.

One thing missing in all the answers and lists so far is the fact that devices warning the driver of speed controls ahead are forbidden in a number of countries (sorry link is in Dutch). The details vary from country to country and I don't know if you should realistically worry about it but I guess that to make your car fully compliant you should leave any personal navigation device with such functionality at home (TomTom has a clever work-around: They warn you of broader “danger zone” instead of telling you exactly where the automated speed control is, which is apparently legal, at least in France).

The environmental sticker system in Germany is also being constantly expanded so that it's now forbidden to ride in many city centers without one. You would need one to make your car fully compliant with German rules (if you wand to go to those cities, obviously).

Finally, many countries require a specific sticker to ride on the motorways but I don't know if that's really relevant to your question. Getting a year pass for all European motorways would be quite expensive. It makes more sense to buy a short-term sticker whenever you actually need to use a country's motorways. You would usually see warning signs and be able to buy one in the border area.

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