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Take Care With Holiday Driving

Now that the summer holidays are truly upon us, many of you are likely to be driving off into continental Europe for some hard-earned R&R. Have things changed in Europe given our recent decision? Will you find that a Five Pound note only buys one Euro? Would it be better to barter with bright beads or perhaps live goats? Whatever the welcome you receive one thing never changes: European cops hate you.

Road safety organisations are encouraging holidaymakers to ensure they are aware of speed limits, alcohol limits and other driving regulations before setting off on an overseas holiday this summer.

It really does pay to do some research before you go, whether you’re driving your own car on holiday or planning to rent a vehicle (The horror! 48% of people who had hired a car said they did not check the condition of brakes and tyres before heading off) once you get there. Astonishingly, we are told that seven in ten drivers would not bother to research foreign road laws before getting behind the wheel overseas. That’s daft.

You really need to familiarise yourself with motorway speed limits and the like, and remember that foreign drivers are subject to the same traffic rules as residents, often enforceable by hefty on-the-spot fines. It is not uncommon for erring foreign motorists – however unknowing their misdemeanour – to be marched off the nearest cash point only to find that in the meantime British currency has reverted to groats. Zut Alors! Try explaining that to Monsieur Le Flic.

Drink-drive limits, with the exception of Malta, are all lower than the UK. Many have a standard limit of 0.05% (our limit is 0.08%), though in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia, the limit is zero.

Although you can legally drive in the UK at the alcohol limit of 0.08%, doing the same thing in Hungary or Norway could put you in chokey for a short stretch. There is no reliable way to calculate how much alcohol you can drink and stay below the limit. But you have nothing to fear if you steer clear of alcohol before driving.

Summer holidays are the time to relax and enjoy good weather, good company, hopefully some wonderful scenic road trips and maybe some good summer loving. Holiday romances; do we still have those? It’s been so long I’d almost forgotten.

A bit of research and some sensible journey planning will help ensure you don’t feel the need to speed or to drive after drinking which is just plain crazy. In the UK our cops (if you can find one) are responsible and for the most part fair. You never know if you can say the same about those continental types. I can personally vouch for the fact, for example, that the Swiss police have no sense of humour at all. None. Zilch.

Here in good old blighted Blighty two in five people have apparently said that they have not driven abroad because they are too anxious, with nervousness common among motorists. That’s not unreasonable given the multitude of rules and regulations that abound and that change when you cross borders. One in three people who don’t drive on holiday abroad, or even here, say it is because they are too nervous to do so. This is why planning is so important. Let’s be careful over there. Geoff Maxted

You can find a comprehensive database of driving requirements HERE.