Almost three quarters of Brits have fallen foul of the rules of the road or got into difficulty when driving on holiday, according to new research from Aviva.
In the month when it became law for all drivers to carry a breathalyser when driving in France, research among holidaymakers from the insurer shows many have experienced potentially dangerous situations on their journeys.
The statistics reveal 28 per cent of people say they have misread or misunderstood foreign road signs and 16 per cent admit that they have actually driven on the wrong side of the road.
And drivers are faced with different trials whether in the UK or overseas. While those driving abroad are most concerned about a lack of familiarity with the route, in the UK it’s the second highest concern among motorists after volume of traffic.
"...while we might favour driving over queuing in airports, despite the high petrol costs, it is not without its hazards.”
More than one in ten drivers ranks the infamous Great British weather as a major motoring obstacle in the UK.
In addition, tiredness and boredom on the roads affect people more in the UK than abroad, suggesting that the excitement of a change of scenery and location have an impact.
Nigel Bartram, senior motor underwriter at Aviva, said: “Most of us will be jumping into a car when we go off on holiday this summer and will cover hundreds of miles in pursuit of a well-earned break. However, while we might favour driving over queuing in airports, despite the high petrol costs, it is not without its hazards.”
But as thousands of families in the UK are preparing for the great summer getaway as the school term comes to an end, it is apparent that some problems are the same whether motorists are driving at home or abroad, with more than half of holidaymakers admitting to getting lost when driving either in the UK or overseas.
Nigel added: “Driving on holiday, in the UK or abroad, often involves an unfamiliar route and long hours behind the wheel and leaves us to contend with everything from driving on the other side of the road and adverse weather conditions, to tiredness and boredom.
“Drivers should prepare for their journey as best they can by looking over the route and the rules of the road and make sure they have the correct insurance to cover them should anything go wrong.”
Aviva’s top tips for holiday driving
1. Plan ahead – consider the journey and pre-empt any potential hazards or problems so that you are more prepared, should they occur. Make sure you have the correct insurance in place to cover you if something does go wrong and consider taking out European Breakdown Cover in case your car breaks down.
2. If you are driving abroad, do your research on the rules of the road – check to see if you need reflective vests, spare bulbs, warning triangles, GB stickers, masking stickers for headlamps, breathalysers or anything else that is required of Brit drivers on foreign roads.
3. Familiarise yourself with your route on the map before you set off.
4. If you are covering a long distance, stop regularly for a break and make sure you don’t continue if you are tired. It is also safer to share the driving if you can.
5. Accept that the roads may be busy and allow extra time for your journey to avoid getting stressed.
6. If you are travelling with children, think of fun games that they can play to keep them occupied and take plenty of refreshments so they don’t distract you.
7. If you are driving a hire car, take the time to familiarise yourself with how it operates and drive around the car park a few times before going out onto the roads.
Tell us all about your tales on the road or share tips below. Tweet us @FemaleFirst_UK
Shabana Adam @Shabana_FAM