Driver In A Foreign Land

Mondial UK offers tips for holiday motorists driving abroad

They drive on the wrong side, the road signs make no sense and the kids are making a racket in the back seat - all ingredients for high stress and a potential accident. But, according to leading travel assistance provider, Mondial UK, much of the stress can be eliminated with a little preparation.

The amount British nationals spend on overseas holidays increased by 28% between 2002 and 2006* and fly drive holidays are proving just as popular. Mondial is offering useful advice to travellers planning to drive while abroad, helping them stay safe and enjoy a stress-free road trip.

Simon Cook, automotive director at Mondial UK comments, “Part of the joy of travel is the adventure. But even the most travel wise globetrotter can be filled with a sense of dread when contemplating driving in a foreign land.

“Travellers need to be aware that there are things we take for granted in the UK, which may be frowned upon or even illegal in another country. Added to which, the rules of the road are not always going to be obvious or even similar to our own, with some regulations being much more unusual with stricter penalties than the UK. That’s why we advise holidaymakers to make a little advance preparation so that they feel in control of the experience.”

In most countries a UK driving licence is acceptable for a stay of up to 12 months. In some other countries, such as Japan, travellers may need an International Driving Permit as well as their UK driving licence. Drivers will also need the original vehicle registration document, their motor insurance certificate and passport.

Research from Defaqto in May 2007 revealed that many insurance policies were inadequate and as many as 10 million Brits fail to take out travel insurance at all.  And drivers should not assume that their British breakdown cover will apply once they leave our shores. They should shop around for the best deal and make sure they don’t forget to take their policy and helpline numbers with them.

Cook concludes, “Before you go away ask yourself, does my insurance cover me?  Have I told my car insurer? Do I have adequate break down cover? It’s easy to think it will never happen to you, but it only takes a little effort to prepare for the worst, knowing you can rely on your insurer when you need them most. Always remember, if the worst does happen, providing you have your motor assistance policy as well as your motoring documents, help is just a telephone call away.”

A Check List For Travellers Driving In A Foreign Land

  • Don't forget official documentation, including full driving licence, registration document, motor insurance certificate, passport
  • Check if a visa is needed
  • Make sure you have adequate travel insurance and break down cover
  • Don't forget to convert the vehicle's headlights for driving on the right
  • Ensure you carry any necessary spares such as light bulb replacements
  • Keep a warning triangle in your boot in case of an accident or break down
  • Don't tempt thieves by leaving belongings in the car where they can be seen
  • Don’t lend your vehicle to anyone else
  • Don’t give lifts to strangers, especially when crossing borders
  • Check the rules of the road for the country you are visiting
  • If you are taking your own car have it checked before you depart
  • Make sure you display a GB sticker, especially outside the EU
  • Remember to drive on the correct side of road for the country you are in!

*Mintel May 2007

22 June 2007 Staff

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