Drivers are confused by European road signs. Find out if you are one of them (Picture iStock/vaximilian)
Planning to drive abroad this summer? Millions of us are. But how well do you know your road signs? Although we’re one big European family (at the moment) traffic signs vary from country to country.
Travel giants EasyJet and Europcar commissioned a report that found European traffic signs baffled nearly four in five drivers (89 per cent). Although Euro rules mean many signs are similar, they can look different with Italy and Portugal having particularly confusing signs. How well do you know yours?
If that’s a speeding ticket he’s writing, it could blow the holiday budget
More than four out of five British drivers are oblivious to tough new fines for speeding abroad. Just weeks after UK speeding fines changed in April 2017, the EU increased the penalty for breaking the limit on the Continent. That means drivers could be fined up to £640. Other motoring offences, such as not wearing a seatbelt and using a mobile phone at the wheel, are covered by the law change too.
When UK drivers were asked by Green Flag about their driving habits , the largest proportion (45 per cent) said they broke the speed limit abroad by mistake. And more than a third (38 per cent) claimed they find themselves speeding abroad because they don’t know the limits.
Driving abroad: what are the speed limits?
British holiday makers planning to drive to France this summer are being warned to check their car meets emissions regulations, or they could find themselves fined up to £117 (€135) for entering some of the nation’s most popular city destinations.
Drivers attempting to visit Paris by car are most likely to be affected by changes to the Crit’Air anti-pollution scheme.
Previously, diesel cars that were built before 1997 were banned from cities, including the nation’s capital, due to their poor levels of toxic emissions.
Now authorities have introduced tougher minimum standards. No diesel car registered before 2001 will be permitted to enter Paris during weekdays. Other cities, including Lyon and Grenoble, are expected to follow its lead, which came into force from July. Continue reading
Ensure your holiday hire car is all smiles by following our top tips
Hire car problems are one of the biggest bothers for holiday makers going abroad. But it should be one of the easiest parts of the trip. After all, it’s not as if it’s a new industry. And the modern automobile is a fairly bullet-proof piece of kit.
However, with a lack of transparency over pricing, exorbitant insurance to cover excesses, punitive charges for fuel, and occasional blatant overcharging, some hire car companies can make a holiday memorable for all the wrong reasons.
Things are improving slowly. The industry has been ordered to clean up its act by the Competition and Markets Authority and its European counterparts. But although the key five players – Avis-Budget, Enterprise, Europcar, Hertz and Sixt – have all made changes, there is plenty drivers can do to protect themselves. Here are 10 ways you can save money and ensure you have a trouble-free holiday – at least when it comes to the hire car. Continue reading
When it comes to setting off for a holiday on the continent, drivers and families have a packing list as long as beach towel. But it’s easy to forget one or more vital elements. European insurance, breakdown cover, extra kit to comply with foreign laws and your driving licence are all indispensable. And unlike a missing tube of sun cream, these aren’t easy to organise abroad and missing them can take the joy out of a much-needed break.
That’s why it’s important that drivers write out a list of everything they and their car need for the trip. That way, there should be no danger of conking out on the hard shoulder only to find that your car insurance doesn’t include breakdown cover abroad. Or that the tool to release wheel nuts is at home in the garage.
Millions of Brits prefer to drive rather than fly, given the affordability, practicality and flexibility it gives them. Here are the things you’ll need for a road trip abroad.
As sure as you’re going to have at least one spectacular wipe-out on the ski slopes, packing the car for a self-drive ski holiday will have you muttering under your breath and wondering whether it would have been easier to fly and rent all your equipment at the ski resort.
But keep the faith. As many holidaymakers know, there’s a whiff of romance to a long distance road trip, and during the winter ski season the traffic at the ports and on the roads is mercifully light – unlike the queues at airports.
Most of the popular European winter resorts are less than 10 hours from the continental coast. And once you know how to properly pack your car with ski gear, you’ll find everything slots into place like a series of deftly executed parallel turns.
Here’s how to do it.
Drivers in the Philippines capital Manila have the longest commute
Where’s the best place to be a driver? With our potholed roads and frequently congested city streets, you probably don’t think it’s the UK. In fact, you may not be surprised if the UK was towards the bottom of any road ranking. The good news is, we’re not. There are some places in the world where the traffic is so congested you wonder how anyone ever gets anywhere.
There’s more good news for hard-pressed UK drivers. We have one of the best records in the world for road safety. That’s compared to some roads in the world where safety is so shocking it borders on scandalous. However, it’s not quite time to get out the bunting and begin baking the celebration cup cakes. The UK has a long way to go before it can match the best for drivers on a daily basis.
The best countries for safety
First the good news. One area where the UK is world class is in road safety. According to the International Traffic Data Safety and Analysis Group which analyses information from 32 countries around the world we’re in third place with 2.9 deaths per 100,000 people. Only Sweden on 2.8 and Iceland on 1.2 were better.
The best place for drivers
Increased French security checks mean more queueing for ferries
Authorities and ferry companies have reassured travellers that the recent Dover traffic chaos was a one-off. But police are still warning of delays at channel ports. This is because of increased French security following recent terror attacks on the Continent. A Kent police spokesperson said: “A large volume of holiday traffic is anticipated over the next few days with holiday makers making their way to Europe. This together with heightened security checks by the French Authorities could however mean some delays over the next few weeks.”
Here’s our guide to crossing the channel this summer.
The roads might be quieter at night but they can also be more dangerous
When we’re heading off on our summer holidays, many of us choose driving at night because the roads are quieter after dark. It can make for a quicker, cheaper and less stressful journey. But it can also be more dangerous.
According to government figures, around four out of 10 road accidents occur after dark. Considering there are generally fewer cars on the road at night, that’s a significant proportion.
Around 90 per cent of the information we use when driving is processed through our vision. When it’s dark, our ability to see things obviously decreases. That means it takes longer to spot pedestrians and other road users, road signs and traffic signals. So here are some tips for staying safe on the road when you’re driving at night.
Clean up your act
The Euros for Cars has been decided. And just like the real thing there was a surprise in store with the winner coming from a nation unused to winning football tournaments, after thousands of votes were cast on Twitter for Green Flag’s car shootout. The winner of the Euros for Cars 2016 was… England!
In order to triumph, England ‑ represented by the original Mini ‑ had to overcome a strong challenge from Belgium which had the Minerva Land Rover Series I wearing its colours.
The final, voted for on Twitter #Eurocars2016 was a cagey affair. And it’s probably fair to say that like the Euro 2016 football competition, it needed extra time to decide the result thanks to two competitors who were so evenly matched. When the counting was over, England came out on top. But only just. The Mini recorded 57 per cent of the vote compared to 43 per cent for the Minerva Land Rover. Continue reading