Driving abroad: tunnel safety tips

Driving in a tunnel can very quickly become confusing and claustrophobic if you’re not used to it. This is especially true when you’re driving in Europe, where some tunnels reach as long as 15 miles. 

But, don’t panic. If you’re off on a Euro adventure, our tunnel checklist will make sure you stay safe, whether you’re in a tunnel for 15 minutes or 15 miles.

Before the tunnel

When you’re coming up to a tunnel, whatever the length, there are a few things to do.

First, check that you have enough fuel to get you through the tunnel safely. If you’re worried, take a detour before the tunnel and fill up your tank. 

If you’re struggling to see your fuel gauge, it may be due to those sunglasses you’re wearing. It’s best to take those off before you enter the tunnel.

Finally, you need to make sure your headlights are dimmed to low beam.  

While in the tunnel

The sunnies are off and you’re all good for fuel, but what do you do inside the tunnel? 

Whenever you’re driving in a new place, it’s best to keep a greater distance from the vehicle in front of you than you would here in the UK. This is especially true in a tunnel. 

Keep a keen eye on any emergency exits or phones. That way, if you break down, you know where to go. Importantly, never reverse, make a U-turn or stop. The only time you should stop in a tunnel is for an emergency. 

If there’s serious traffic in the tunnel, leave a greater gap between you and the vehicle in front. If you’re stationary for a long time, switch your engine off (the last thing you’ll want is to run out of fuel or see your battery run out of juice). 

If you break down

Breaking down in a tunnel may sound like a scary experience, but you don’t need to worry. 

Pull over as far to the side as you can, as long as it’s safe. Flick on your hazards and turn off your engine. Then, grab your high vis jacket and head to your nearest emergency phone to call for help. 

If there’s an accident in the tunnel, the steps are similar. Pull over with your hazards on, switch off your engine, and if you need to help anyone or find an emergency phone, make sure you’re wearing your high vis. 


If you’re looking for more advice on driving abroad or at home, head to the Green Flag blog.