RAC Cars News


Driving abroad a minefield for Brits

By raccars Published

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It turns out that having to drive on the other side of the road is the least of the problems British motorists encounter while driving abroad. A survey by Insurance4CarHire has revealed that British drivers do not understand about half of foreign road signs, which is increasing the risk of accidents and insurance claims.

Some 2,000 British motorists were shown a selection of foreign road signs and asked to identify them for the survey. The results were only about 50% accurate. The most confusing signs to British drivers were Spanish, only 38% of which were correctly identified.

The results of the survey appeared to show a correlation between how well road signs are interpreted and the level of insurance claims, showing just how difficult British motorists find it to negotiate driving on foreign roads. The results were worse for drivers in the 18-34 age group, who on average could identify only 41% of foreign road signs compared to the 55-64 age group, which managed an average success rate of 48%.

Research by comparison site GoCompare also highlighted some other issues faced by British motorists driving abroad. Car owners are being warned to contact their insurance providers before travelling to check the level of cover that applies abroad. Millions of British car owners drive their vehicles abroad assuming that they are insured as they are at home, however at least 16% of policies do not offer the same level of cover outside the UK. Most of these do offer third party cover but require an extra payment for fully comprehensive cover, meaning repairs to or repatriation of your car is not covered should you have an accident abroad.

Car owners are also being urged to check how long their policy covers them for driving outside the UK, with periods varying from three days to 180 days depending upon the policy.

Those who are hiring cars abroad rather than taking their own should beware of Spanish hire firms' fuel tank policies, whereby customers have to pay for a full tank of fuel upon collecting the car and are expected to return the vehicle with an empty tank. Other hidden fees include extra charges for young drivers, for alternative pick up and drop off points and mandatory excess fees. Read the small print very carefully when hiring a car abroad to make sure you know exactly what you are paying for.

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