The move to electric cars is well underway. By 2030 – less than eight years away – you won’t be able to buy a new petrol or diesel car. Electric vehicles (EVs) are often said to be great for short journeys, not so brilliant when you need to charge on the go. So what will it be like to take an electric car on holiday?
For a glimpse at the future of long journeys, we took an all-electric BMW iX3 on an 1,100-mile round trip to the French Alps this summer.
Over the summer holidays, thousands of drivers will be either taking their motors abroad or driving a hire car while on holiday. But how well do you know the rules of the road when it comes to driving in Europe? Our cunning quiz poses 10 travel teasers that will help you warm up to driving abroad. And if you get any wrong, try again. Knowing the right answer might save you a few quid!
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.
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 →
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.
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.”
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 →
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 →
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 →