Italy is known for its stunning vistas and incredible food, and it’s a great road trip destination. Travelling by car is the perfect way to explore and enjoy one of Europe’s most exciting destinations.
Whether it’s for a short trip or longer holiday, driving in Italy isn’t anything to get stressed about. But it’s good to be on top of all the important Italian driving rules and regulations.
A road trip in France gives you total freedom in one of the UK’s most popular holiday destinations. Whether you’re going on a long holiday or just for a couple of days, driving in France isn’t anything to get stressed about.
But, there are some things to be aware of to help prevent an accident (and prevent you getting on the wrong side of the law). Here are our top tips for driving in France.
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.
It’s coming up for holiday time but if there’s one thing that can spoil a long journey for all concerned, it’s car sickness. No one’s quite sure why some people feel it and others don’t. But that won’t be much consolation to whoever the victim is; whoever has to keep pulling over for the sufferer to redecorate the roadside; or other passengers who have their holiday delayed. Here we look at what car sickness is and what you can do about it.
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!
While Brexit talks are still going on, and certain things aren’t set in stone just yet, there are a lot of potential changes you should prepare for.
Whether you’re taking a car abroad or planning to drive a hire car once you get to a foreign country it’s likely you’ll have to apply for some paperwork. Read on to find out what you’ll need – if we leave the European Union/European Economic Area (EEA) without a deal.
Green cards: insurance when you’re driving in the EU
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?
Don’t try to fix it yourself. Read our five dos and five don’ts for stopping on a motorway hard shoulder
A motorway hard shoulder can be a dangerous place to spend time. That’s why all our technicians receive comprehensive training on what to do and how to behave on the hard shoulder. While it’s part of their job to spend time at the side of the motorway, it’s also something every driver could have to face at some point in their car-owning career.
For that reason, I’ve compiled five dos and fives don’ts for the motorway hard shoulder.
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.
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 →
Passengers can be a hindrance or a help to drivers
You’re the passenger in a car. All you have to do is sit back and enjoy the ride while your driver whisks you to your destination. That might be true if you’re the Queen. But for mere mortals, being a passenger – particularly in the front seat – is a responsible role.
Passengers can be responsible for distracting the driver, with disastrous consequences. But it need not be like that. Read on to see how you can actively engage in getting from A to B as swiftly and safely as possible – without being behind the wheel.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 →