Brexit, which is not a proper word, has taken on a life of its own, like Godzilla or the fashion for stocky middle-aged men to wear three-quarter length shorts and thinking it looks appealing. If the EU does at some point begin to fracture – the Poles are being a bit off-message just now – we will likely see variations on this non-word but for now, it is we, the awkward Brits, who are the pariahs of Europe. This does not bode well for our Euro-holidays.
Brexit Inspired Rising Costs
More than six in 10 (61% to be precise) motorists fear that the cost of driving holidays in mainland Europe will rise as concerns about Brexit continue to bite – at least according to a new survey of drivers from AA Tyres.
More than 15,000 AA members responded with their opinions about the impact Brexit might have. More than a quarter strongly believe that the cost of driving on the continent will rise.
But Mark Shankland, Managing Director of AA Tyres, said, “Despite the weakened pound and concern over whether Brexit will push up holiday costs in mainland Europe, there’s never been a better time to plan a road trip to Europe”. “With fuel prices”, he went on, “often cheaper than at home and less traffic than we’re accustomed to this side of the Channel, a Euro trip is an attractive option to a long-haul holiday further afield or a staycation in the UK.”
In truth, nobody really knows how Brexit might affect driving holidays to mainland Europe. All the conjecture is pointless. Right now there’s a lot of huffing and puffing on both sides of the argument but, if the negotiators don’t yet have a clue, it serves no purpose to panic. It is not the British Way.
Certainly, we could eventually face tougher passport controls and regulation changes that may complicate previously straightforward journeys. No doubt, if that were the case, visiting Europeans will get the same treatment. Stalemate.
If British-made cars, or indeed any UK produce, are penalised then the reverse will also be true. Europe is a huge market for sure but then so is the UK, arguably the most populous of the European countries. Whatever the outcome and whatever side you’re on, hopefully common sense will prevail and it would be a good start if the EU closed down that unelected blowhard, J-C Juncker, for a start. We can expect the worst but we should also hope for the best and that the voice of reason will prevail.
Pre – Brexit European Top Tips
Mark Shankland also offered up some sound advice for UK drivers motoring in Europe which I have used in part here. The good news is that fuel is generally cheaper but you know how foreigners are when it comes to odd rules and regulations. So, setting aside Brexit concerns right now there are other things to think about before you motor off.
Going to Paris, Lyon or Grenoble? These cities operate clean air zones, so order a CRIT’Air clean air sticker to avoid fines within restricted areas. These can take up to 30 days to arrive, so plan ahead.
Check that your UK comprehensive car insurance travels with you – not all insurers automatically extend cover into Europe.
However, under EU law your insurer must cover you for the minimum cover required by law in the countries you travel through – usually Third Party, so if your car is insured, you are currently legal to travel.
Check the AA’s Touring Tips for the countries you will be travelling through for local laws and driving quirks – such as not passing trams in Vienna, checking parking restrictions which can depend on whether it’s an odd or even day in Italy, reduced speed limits when it’s raining in France. Don’t drink and drive at all. It’s bad enough being over the limit (which can be zero in some countries) but being over the limit and British, well, kiss your, erm, bottom goodbye.
If the vacation takes in one or several different countries be aware that each has legally required ‘kits’ and they can vary.
Breathalysers, high-vis jackets, spare specs if you wear ’em, spare bulbs; in short there is plenty of pre-planning needed for a safe driving holiday. Make the most of it while we are still an EU country. We don’t know what the future holds. Maybe it will all be okay or maybe we should think about taking shares in Butlin’s holiday gulags because Skegness is about as close to Europe as we’ll get. Geoff Maxted