Driving abroad

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.”

What the car hire companies promised Continue reading

Driving abroad: Why you need breakdown cover

Breakdown cover can save wasting holiday time (Picture © TyreSafe)

Breakdown cover can save wasting holiday time (Picture © TyreSafe)

Having your vehicle break down is never something you expect and when it does happen it’s frequently at the most inconvenient time. Green Flag’s Sam Jackson explains how having breakdown cover can transform what would have been a difficult experience into a minor adjustment to your trip, even if you’re in foreign climes.  Continue reading

How to prepare your car for the February half-term skiing holiday

February half-term skiing

There’s plenty to think about before you even get to the slopes

February half-term skiing is a popular pursuit for many British families seeking more than a sun lounger and swimming pool from their holiday. France, Italy and Austria are popular winter sports destinations for Brits, and their relative proximity combined with the hassle of navigating airports while heavily laden with all the luggage a skiing holiday requires means driving to the slopes is becoming an increasingly popular option.

However, it’s not all plain sailing. In the run up to Christmas 2014, 15,000 cars were stranded in the Alps when a sudden heavy fall of snow caught local authorities and police napping. Those thinking about driving to their skiing or snowboarding holiday need to prepare in advance. That way they’ll have a greater chance of enjoying a trouble-free journey, in addition to time on the slopes. Continue reading

“Wish we’d had European breakdown cover for our holiday in France”

Green Flag European breakdown cover case stud

The Roberts family – dad Alex, Kit, Holly and mum Vicky – found out the expensive way how valuable European breakdown cover can be

When the Roberts family set off last summer from their home in Lamberhurst, near Tunbridge Wells in Kent, they couldn’t wait to reach the ferry terminal at Dover, board the boat and begin their summer holiday in France. But the excitement of grabbing dinner in the ship’s restaurant ahead of a drive to Montignac, in Dordogne, soon faded: Mum, Vicky and Dad, Alex realised that each had thought the other had arranged European breakdown cover.  Continue reading

Motoring fines abroad: what to do if you get a ticket on holiday

Motoring fines abroad

Great car, beautiful scenery, precious memories: driving abroad can be idyllic – unless you break the law (Picture © Skoda)

Motoring fines abroad are one way of ensuring the holiday hangover continues long after the sun tan has faded. Whether you get nabbed by a speed camera or handed a ticket for (possibly inadvertently) parking somewhere you shouldn’t, it can be an expensive business. So what are the rules? And where do you stand if a fine from abroad drops on the door mat? Our simple guide explains all.  Continue reading

Don’t be shortchanged: hire car advice to avoid disaster

Green Flag hire car tips

Make sure your hire car is big enough for your holiday luggage (Picture © Europcar)

Every year millions of Britons hire cars abroad to give them the freedom of the open road. Yet for many the hire car experience ends up causing stress and expense long after their tans have faded. The Post Office Car Rental Report discovered that 56 per cent of people who hire cars don’t cover themselves for tyre or glass damage and 76 per cent don’t take out cover against high excess charges. Failing to take both these simple measures can leave holiday makers out of pocket. Follow our car hire tips to ensure that your holiday isn’t memorable for all the wrong reasons.  Continue reading

Tips to steer clear of summer towing trouble

Nearly half of towing related crashes happen in summer (Picture © TyreSafe)

Nearly half of towing related crashes happen in summer (Picture © TyreSafe)

Thousands of the drivers who tow caravans and trailers will end up being stranded by the roadside this summer. According to figures from the Highways England, there were nearly 5000 towing-related incidents in 2013 with almost half happening between July and September.

The primary causes of accidents and breakdowns include overloading the caravan or trailer, a mismatch with the towing vehicle, burst tyres and poor towing technique. Highways England spokesman Andy Withington said: “We encourage anyone towing during the holiday season to prepare before they set out and take a few simple steps once they are on the road to avoid becoming involved in an incident.”

Highways England’s advice is to:  Continue reading

Expert advice: simple mistakes driving abroad

Basic errors can mean an abandoned holiday. (Picture © TyreSafe)

Basic errors can mean an abandoned holiday. (Picture © TyreSafe)

It’s frequently the simplest things that catch people out. Sam Jackson explains how many of the drivers Green Flag helps to get on the road again could have avoided the problem or minimised the impact if they hadn’t made the simplest of errors. Here are some of the most common mistakes drivers make when travelling abroad.  Continue reading

Expert advice: know the local laws abroad

white car on road Green Flag driving abroad

Driving abroad involves much more than simply coping with being on the wrong side of the road; there are some standard laws that must be obeyed, regardless of your destination. For example: you must have your driving licence, insurance and vehicle registration documents wherever you travel. And cars must be equipped with GB stickers and headlight beam converters.

It’s also a good idea to carry your passport. You will need identification if the police stop you. But although we’re supposedly one happy European family, other laws and rules differ from country to country. Whether it’s equipment you need to pack or regulations you must obey, it’s a minefield of legislation out there. Follow this quick and easy country-by-country guide so you don’t get caught out.  Continue reading