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Only half of travellers check rules and regulations while driving abroad

04 June 2015
  • One in 10 believe driving laws are the same in every country
  • Half (51%) think they don’t need additional insurance to drive abroad
  • Three quarters (74%) don’t arrange breakdown cover
  • Study comes as Gocompare.com launches new interactive European driving map

New research from Gocompare.com Car Insurance has found that British drivers have a worrying lack of knowledge of EU road laws, which could land them in hot water when driving abroad.

In a recent study, the comparison site found that though two in five (39%) motorists are planning a foreign driving holiday this year, only half (50%) of drivers say that they actually check driving rules and regulations before they go.

Worryingly, one in 10 travellers think that motoring laws are the same in every country, despite the fact in the vast majority of European countries you drive on the right-hand side of the road.

The research also revealed that drivers are clueless when it comes to knowing what equipment they need in their cars while driving abroad. For instance, just 16% knew that they would need to carry a spare pair of glasses (if needed for driving) when in Spain, and only a quarter (23%) knew they would need a personal breathalyser when in France.

Matt Oliver, car insurance spokesperson at Gocompare.com, said: “Our research found that many holidaymakers could be putting themselves at risk by not preparing properly before driving abroad. Speed limits, traffic signals and priorities, local rules on alcohol limits, the use of mobile phones and safety requirements differ from one country to the next. So, many people could find themselves facing on-the-spot fines or run the risk of an otherwise avoidable accident if they fail to plan ahead. 

“That’s why Gocompare.com has created an interactive European driving map to allow drivers to check the key motoring rules and requirements of European countries they are planning to visit. The interactive map also allows drivers to print out the information they need to keep in their glove box, along with their phrasebook.

“Most European countries will require you to have some level of car insurance. This means if you’re planning on taking your own car abroad, you will be responsible for arranging the insurance on the vehicle. While most (85%) comprehensive insurance policies will cover you for foreign use as standard**, cover levels will vary and often insurers will require you to inform them that you’re taking the car overseas before your trip. This makes it important not to assume you’ll be covered and to always check with your provider and arrange extra cover if necessary.”

driving in europe interactive









For more information about driving abroad, visit Gocompare.com’s driving abroad guide.


Notes to editors:

*On 17 March 2015, Bilendi conducted an online survey among 1,820 randomly selected British adults who are Springboard UK panellists (703 plan to drive abroad this year). The margin of error-which measures sampling variability-is +/- 2.2%. The results have been statistically weighted according to the most current education, age, gender and regional data to ensure samples representative of the entire adult population of United Kingdom. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

**Defaqto Matrix of 228 car insurance policies - instant and unbiased market and competitor intelligence, from independent financial researcher Defaqto (correct as of 25nd March 2015)