Driving abroad brings its own risks

Shropshire holidaymakers motoring abroad this summer must know the rules of the road for every country they visit.

Dave Williams, from Henshalls Insurance Brokers in Newport and Shrewsbury, said it was dangerous to assume that driving laws were the same all over Europe.

“You need to familiarise yourself with the laws for each individual country that you intend to visit as they can differ greatly, and it’s all too easy to presume they will be the same as here in the UK. Holidaymakers should also make sure their insurance policy covers them fully for international driving and doesn’t just limit them to third party cover.”

Dave said the latest new motoring rule had come into force in France from the start of July.

“All vehicles driving in France, excluding mopeds, will be required to carry a breathalyser or alcohol-level test. This will be enforced from November onwards and drivers will face an 11-Euro fine if they don’t have one.”

Single-use certified breathalysers are available in many French supermarkets, chemists and garages, costing around one Euro.

“But holidaymakers should also be aware the French drink-driving limit of 50mg is much lower than the UK limit of 80mg.”

Dave said car drivers were also required to carry a warning triangle, a reflective jacket, a GB sticker or number plate with the EU logo, a valid motor insurance certificate, headlamp converters for driving on the other side of the road, and both paper and photo card parts of their UK driving licence.

“If you’re planning to travel on snow-covered roads, you will also need to fit snow chains to comply with the relevant road signs.”

And earlier this year, France introduced a law banning the use of satellite navigation systems that show the locations of speed cameras.

“Anyone caught with one of these systems in their car could be fined 1,500 Euros, even if the device is switched off, so leave the equipment at home,” said Dave. “Driving abroad can be a great experience with the chance to see more of the new country close-up, but plan your family’s trip carefully before you go and don’t get caught out by continental driving regulations.”

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