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Driving abroad – make sure you know the law

The number of British tourists taking their car abroad has increased significantly over the last three years with some 8.5 million people planning to drive abroad this year. In addition to researching and understanding some common road signs or phrases, motorists should be aware that countries have differing legal requirements in terms of what motorists must carry in their vehicles. For example, in France, Croatia, Italy and Norway, it is compulsory to carry a warning triangle: however, a recent survey showed that nearly 40% don't intend to carry one (and this is up 11% on 2010!).

In all European countries, motorists are required to carry their motor vehicle insurance documentation, but over 40% of people say they will not bother to do this. It is compulsory in some countries (France, Austria and Sweden for example) to carry a GB sticker on your car – but again 50% of people questioned said they would not be bothered. Why people believe it is acceptable to flout the laws of their holiday destinations is not apparent, but the sensible approach is to find out what you legally require when driving abroad and stick to the rules. Reflective jacket, first aid kit and headlamp convertors are all legal requirements in some countries, so check and comply.

It's not just about making sure you don't break the law when abroad, it is also about carrying out basic maintenance checks on your car before you go. Make sure the car is roadworthy, that the tyres are inflated to the right pressure, that the oil and water levels are correct and that you have a spare tyre in case of emergency. Ensure too, that you have a good level of breakdown cover. At Westhill Insurance Services, not only do we offer first rate insurance services, we also have a range of breakdown covers which are considerably cheaper than the leading brands – but without any compromise to service level and cover at all.

Most insurers will provide cover for driving in Europe, but they require policyholders to notify them before setting off. Some policies may not provide adequate cover for travelling abroad and others will provide cover only for a defined number of days per year. You really need to take professional advice, and here we offer a few simple tips if you are planning to take your car abroad.

> Carry out some basic checks on your vehicle – tyre pressure, water and oil etc
> Plan your route – buy a map or use a European route planner on the internet
> Call your car insurer. Even if you think you have comprehensive cover abroad, it is worth checking and, if necessary, upgrade to include all that you need.
> Set an achievable timescale for your journey. Driving on unfamiliar roads abroad can be more tiring than usual, so give yourself time and try to avoid town centres and other stressful areas.
> Check the motoring laws of the countries you are driving in. Make sure you stay legal at all times and respect their laws and standards.

Don't risk ruining your holiday, one quick call to Westhill Insurance Services will provide you with sensible advice to help you plan your trip. If you do encounter a problem when abroad, you will value the peace of mind of knowing you are adequately covered. Many UK drivers claim to have experienced the highest levels of road rage when driving abroad – for example the Italian and Spanish drivers may well scare you with their different overtaking styles and so it pays to keep calm and plan your journey as well as possible. Just make one quick call and we will put you on the road to a well-planned motoring holiday.

Contact Westhill Insurance Services, today.

Posted on 19th August, 2013