Six million overseas car trips last year for Brit motorists
British motorists made almost six million overseas trips by car last year, according to new analysis by Sainsbury’s Bank car insurance.
The supermarket bank, which provides comprehensive cover in Europe, is urging motorists to brush up on the local motoring laws of any countries they are visiting if they plan to drive, as these can differ significantly from UK road regulations.
France was by far the most popular destination for those travelling by car last year with 3.4 million visits from UK residents. The Republic of Ireland and Belgium complete the top three.
Tom Thomson, of Sainsbury’s Bank car insurance said: “Driving abroad is an entirely different experience to driving in the UK in terms of both road regulations and road etiquette. Before leaving the country, it’s vital that drivers brush up on local motoring knowledge and check with their insurer that they are covered overseas.”
In France, it is compulsory to carry a warning triangle and a breathalyser in the car at all times. In many European countries, a reflective jacket, first aid kit and headlamp converters for driving at night are now required and in Spain, motorists who wear glasses are even advised to carry a spare pair with them if it is noted on their licence.
Those planning to hire a car should also be aware that driving licence paper counterparts have now been replaced with a code that can be generated by the DVLA website, at https://www.gov.uk/view-driving-licence
Sainsbury’s Bank car insurance offers the following tips for driving overseas:
- Local laws: Find out exactly what equipment you will need to carry with you in order to comply with local motoring laws. This might include anything from a first aid kit to a warning triangle and will differ from country to country.
- Documentation: Check what documentation you will need – some countries such as Turkey and Morocco for example, require you to carry a Green Card / International Motor Insurance Certificate. It’s always advisable to carry basic licence and insurance documents plus the V5 registration document in your vehicle with you.
- Car hire: Anyone planning to hire a car will need a DVLA-generated code.
- Maintenance: Do some basic checks on your car to help minimise the risk of breakdowns or accidents, e.g. check tyre pressures, oil, brake fluid and water levels.
- Insurance: Call your car insurer before you leave to check whether you have comprehensive cover abroad and if required, upgrade your policy to include this.
- Route: Plan your route in advance and carry a map and/or satnav.
- Take your time: Set a realistic timescale and take plenty of breaks. Driving on busy and unfamiliar roads abroad can be stressful so consider planning your route to avoid the centre of major cities if this is a concern.
- Footwear: Avoid driving in flip-flops or open-backed sandals. Not only is this dangerous but the police have been known to fine people for this, especially in holiday areas.