RAC Cars News


Handling A Driving Emergency In Europe This Summer

By raccars Published

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If you are driving abroad on holiday this summer, do you know how to contact the emergency services should you need to? It may sound like a silly question but according to research by the RAC, nearly two thirds of Brits don't know the emergency services' telephone number in Europe. This has led to concern that the six million or so British drivers visiting Europe this summer could be unable to summon help if needed while on holiday.

The emergency number in Europe is 112, which can also be used in England, as well as 999. However, 10% of drivers questioned by the RAC say they would call 111 for a continental emergency. Six per cent of drivers would use 911, which is the number for the emergency services in the USA and Canada, and 5% believe the EU emergency number is 101, which is, in fact, the number you dial to contact the police outside of emergency situations in the UK.

Motorists using 112 in Europe can also be reassured that English speaking operators man the lines so there shouldn't be communication difficulties in an emergency.

In case you are in need of emergency assistance at any time at home or abroad, these are the numbers you need to know:

112 - emergency services throughout the European Union 999 - emergency services in the UK 911 - emergency services in North America 101 - non-emergency police assistance in the UK 111 - non-emergency NHS assistance in the UK

If you experience a breakdown on European territory, you may be surprised to find that your breakdown recovery policy doesn't necessarily cover you automatically outside the UK. While many policies do cover you abroad, check the small print before leaving and, if necessary, extend your policy to cover your destination country. Consider also the details of that cover - does it include repatriation or only towing your car to the nearest garage, which may not be helpful if you don't speak the language and are due to go home the following day.

Some policies pay the garage directly whereas, in other cases, you will need to pay the bill and then apply for a refund. Some policies will provide you with accommodation if you get stuck, whereas with others you are on your own.

You can buy breakdown cover as an annual policy or pay less for single trip cover - if you are planning to drive abroad more than once, an annual policy usually works out cheaper.

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