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?
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.
Air pollution means cars with high emissions could be prevented from entering Paris or Lyon
As millions of Britons make plans for their Easter or summer holidays, travellers driving to France must ensure that their car has an emissions sticker when visiting Paris or Lyon – the two largest cities in France.
The sticker system has been introduced to help tackle air pollution in city environments, and is active in Grenoble, Lille, Strasbourg and Toulouse as well. Other French cities are likely to join the scheme.
Called Crit’Air, it effectively bans old cars from city centres during weekdays and will allow authorities to restrict which cars are permitted to enter cities.
The abolition of the tax disc saw a rise in the number of cars without VED
Car ownership can be a taxing business – in more ways than one. There’s so much to remember that it’s easy for simple bits of admin to slip through the net. Forget one of those and it could end in a costly fine or ‑ even worse ‑ an accident. For worry-free and safe winter driving, here are six points that it’s worth checking.
Safe winter driving: car tax and MOT
After the abolition of the tax disc, the Driver Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) witnessed an increase in the number of drivers who hadn’t paid Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) or tax. Part of the problem is the tax disc was a very visible reminder for drivers that they needed to keep their car legal. If you’ve lost track – it’s easy to do ‑ check whether your car is taxed by going to the DVLA website here. Continue reading →
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.
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 →
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 →
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 →