RAC Cars News


Brits Driving Abroad Worry About Language Skills

By raccars Published

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A survey carried out by RAC European Breakdown this summer revealed that a lack of language skills is the major concern for Brits driving abroad. Almost half of those planning to drive abroad this summer admitted that they were worried about being unable to communicate in the local language in the event of a breakdown.

Nearly six million British cars will driving on European roads during this year's summer holiday period, and more than half will have nervous drivers behind the wheel. 56% of the respondents are anxious about the prospect of driving abroad, with women expressing greater concern than men. 42% of the survey participants were worried about breakdowns and being stranded in a foreign country, and one-quarter of the drivers questioned expressed concern about local drivers. 20% said their biggest worry was not being able to decipher road signs in a foreign language, with many already having previous experience of the language barrier creating difficulties on foreign roads.

Driving on the opposite side of the road is another problem ? not just in theory but also in practice. 14% of those who had experience of driving abroad confessed that they had accidentally driven on the wrong side, with half of these saying they hadn't even realised they were doing so for up to half a mile. Smaller numbers of drivers had entered a roundabout from the wrong direction and had been charged with motoring offences by foreign police.

The RAC's European Breakdown department recommends that any holidaymakers planning to drive abroad should prepare thoroughly for their trip. Not only should your car be thoroughly checked to ensure roadworthiness but you should also make sure you have the correct paperwork and insurance provisions before setting off. Make a point of familiarising yourself with local road regulations and customs at your destination and consider taking a phrase book in the appropriate language if you are worried about not being able to communicate.

Many European countries require you to keep certain pieces of equipment in your car, such as spare prescription glasses, warning triangles and high-vis vests to be used in the event of a breakdown. Make sure you check these details because you can be fined if you are caught travelling without them. The same rules apply whether you are driving your own British-registered car abroad or hiring a car at your destination.

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