5th June 2015
With the holiday season upon us, new research has highlighted that British drivers have a disturbing lack of knowledge of European Union road laws, which could land them in hot water when driving abroad.
The analysis from switching site Gocompare.com found that though two in five, at 39%, of motorists are planning a foreign driving holiday this year, only 50% of drivers say that they actually check driving rules and regulations before they go.
Worryingly, one in 10 travellers believe that motoring laws are the same in every country, despite the fact in the vast majority of European countries you drive on the right-hand side of the road.
But the survey also found that drivers are clueless when it comes to knowing what equipment they need in their cars while driving abroad. For instance, just 16% knew that they would need to carry a spare pair of glasses, if needed for driving, when in Spain, and only around a quarter, at 23%, knew they would need a personal breathalyser when in France.
Matt Oliver, car insurance spokesperson at Gocompare.com, said: “Our research found that many holidaymakers could be putting themselves at risk by not preparing properly before driving abroad. Speed limits, traffic signals and priorities, local rules on alcohol limits, the use of mobile phones and safety requirements differ from one country to the next. So, many people could find themselves facing on-the-spot fines or run the risk of an otherwise avoidable accident if they fail to plan ahead.”
To help holiday makers Gocompare.com has created an interactive European driving map to allow drivers to check the key motoring rules and requirements of European countries they are planning to visit. The interactive map also allows drivers to print out the information they need to keep in their glove box, along with their phrasebook.
Oliver adds: “Most European countries will require you to have some level of car insurance. This means if you’re planning on taking your own car abroad, you will be responsible for arranging the insurance on the vehicle. While most, at 85%, comprehensive insurance policies will cover you for foreign use as standard, cover levels will vary and often insurers will require you to inform them that you’re taking the car overseas before your trip. This makes it important not to assume you’ll be covered and to always check with your provider and arrange extra cover if necessary.”