Driving abroad

Best place for drivers? It’s not the UK. But we’re not the worst either

Best place for drivers

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

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Wild thing: Car travel with pets – how to keep them safe on journeys

Car travel with pets

Pets can bring an enormous amount of pleasure to their owners. But car travel with pets can be as stressful for the humans as it is for the animals. Whether it’s with man’s best friend or a family feline favourite, travelling with pets in a car requires careful planning to keep people and pets safe.

For those that haven’t driven with pets in the car before, this beginner’s guide is aimed at covering all the basics for national and international travel. If any seasoned travellers have more tips for keeping pets safe in a car, please share them in the comments section at the bottom of the page.

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In-car games: I-Spy beats iphones. Old favourites are best for long drives

In-car games

Keeping kids smiling when you’re on a long trip can be a challenge

Old-style in-car games such as I-Spy are the most popular ways to occupy kids on road trips. They beat smartphones and tablets, which astonishingly, are among the least popular choices to keep young passengers happy on car journeys.

New research by YouGov for garage rating organisation Motor Codes tallied with a recent study by Green Flag which found that travelling together is an opportunity to spend quality time with the family. The increasingly popular driving holiday is seen as a time for families to ditch technology in favour of entertainment that encourages creativity, learning and laughs for the whole family.

Looking out of the window and playing age-old observational in-car games such as I-Spy were cited by more than 60 per cent of drivers as the best way to keep youngsters entertained. This was the particular favourite of 18 to 24 year olds and over 55s.

Great in-car games to play with kids

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Expert advice: How to stay safe driving at night

Driving at night

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

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Quiz: Do you know what all of these common French road signs mean?

Quiz: Do you know all of these common French road signs?

British holiday makers and France go together like a slice of camembert on a freshly baked baguette with a glass of Bordeaux wine. A staggering 17 million Britons visit France every year, and whether they’re living it up in the City of Light or unwinding in Provence, one thing is certain: millions use their car to explore la belle France.

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Hire car tips: Advice that can save money and hassle on car rental

Hire car tips

We’ve prepared these hire car tips after research found drivers planning to rent a car this summer are likely to face a disappointing experience. Almost one in 10 travellers have arrived to collect their hire car only to find that none are available. One in five have had to queue for more than half an hour at the rental company desk. And nearly one in five said they found the process of collecting a hire car a stressful experience.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. Almost a third of drivers were unexpectedly given a better car than they expected. The findings are the results of a YouGov survey. It discovered that Continue reading

Expert advice: Simple car checks for a super summer holiday

Simple car checks

You don’t want your summer holiday spoilt by car trouble. Our simple car checks can help prevent it

Every summer, millions of British drivers set off in the car for their annual holiday. It’s an exciting time, but sometimes in the rush to get away simple car checks can be overlooked. And for thousands of drivers, the holiday is ruined by unexpected problems with their car – most of which could have been avoided.

I know the problems that strike drivers’ cars most frequently. So follow these simple car checks designed to prevent your car conking out when you need it the most.

Have your car serviced

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Which is the best cross channel ferry route?

 Best cross channel ferry route

The cross channel ferry route you choose will doubtless be influenced by multiple factors. For most people, cost – or lack of it – is the priority. But there are other things to consider that could save you money in the long term.

Although every geography student knows Dover-Calais is the shortest route across the channel, Calais isn’t actually that convenient for accessing much of France. So what you save in cheap ferry fares you might pay for in fuel and tolls because of the longer land journey. Throw in that Calais can become jammed up through grieving French workers or migrants and it might be worth looking at alternative ways of crossing the channel. Here’s your choice.

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Five brilliant European drives that will thrill you this summer

Brilliant European drives

You don’t have to do the Stelvio Pass in a classic car to appreciate the views

British drivers are being encouraged to embrace motoring abroad after Green Flag outlined five brilliant European drives. The campaign comes as research reveals that 32 per cent of Brits avoid driving abroad. The language barrier, local drivers, and reading road signs puts us off driving in foreign countries.

Nick Reid, head of transformation at Green Flag, said: “Europe is such a beautiful holiday destination, it is a shame to see how many of us are avoiding taking road trips on the Continent.” Have a look at what you might be missing with our five brilliant European drives.

Stelvio Pass, Italy

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Hiring cars abroad: drivers urged to ‘know before they go’ as complaints surge

Hiring cars abroad

Drivers are being urged to plan their car hire carefully to avoid problems

The number of drivers grumbling about problems hiring cars abroad is on the up. Complaints against car hire companies in 2015 increased by almost 7 per cent compared with the previous year. The rise has been reported by the UK European Consumer Centre (UKECC), the UK-based consumer advice organisation that people complain to if they’ve had a bad experience with foreign based companies.

The increase comes despite the big five hire car companies ‑ Avis-Budget, Enterprise, Europcar, Hertz and Sixt – pledging to conform more closely with legislation designed to protect consumers. However, the number of complaints has dropped compared to the year before. Andy Allen, UK European Consumer Centre (UK ECC) director, said: “Complaints about car hire the previous year (2014) rose by just over 23 per cent, so it’s good to see that the rate of increase of car hire complaints has started to drop but disappointing that the figure is still rising at all.”

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