Driving abroad this summer? Don’t risk a fine by breaking these rules

21st August 2015


A quarter of people set off for a driving holiday without researching the rules of the road abroad meaning they risk a fine or worse.


A total of 23% of people do not research the rules of the road in the country they’re visiting, according to research by insurer Aviva, and 22% admits to not having insurance for driving abroad.


Driving holidays are most popular among 25-to-34 year olds, either families with two or more children or couples without children. However, by ignoring the rules in the host country, drivers are putting themselves at risk.


Steve Ashford, head of motor underwriting at Aviva, said: ‘Drivers are risking a heavy fine or, at worse, being arrested if they do not understand the rules of the road when driving abroad.


‘Other countries have different road rules to the UK and ignorance is not an acceptable excuse. Know before you go – check you understand the driving laws for the country you’re visiting and make sure you have the right car insurance and roadside assistance to ensure you’re covered in the event of an accident or breakdown.’


The top five unexpected international driving laws:


1. Turn-off satnav speed camera alerts in France: devices that help you detect speed cameras or warn drivers of their location are illegal in France. Before you drive in France you need to disable these alerts on your satnav – if you are caught with a working device, the French police can confiscate your license and impound your vehicle.


2. Take two pairs of glasses for driving in Spain: if you normally wear glasses or contact lenses to drive then you must have a spare pair with you in Spain. If you are caught without a spare pair you risk a fine.


3. Keep your headlights on in Norway: in this country it’s compulsory to keep your headlights on 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Even in the middle of summer, where the sun doesn’t set in some parts of the country, it’s a legal requirement to have them on.


4. Watch out for wildlife in Finland: there are a number of large animals that roam the countryside in Finland. If you have an accident involving a reindeer, elk, or another large animal it is illegal not to report it to the police. It is also illegal to use your horn unless you are in danger.


5. Beware extreme speed limits on the German motorway: the autobahn in Germany has lengthy sections with a 130km-per-hour speed recommendation. This is still just a recommendation but it is illegal to stop even if you run out of petrol on the motorway.


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