Lifestyle

‘Welcome To The Continent – You’ve Just Broken The Law’

Driving-in-Europe

Halfords Autocentre survey shows that thousands of Brits are unaware of new continental driving laws and are travelling to the continent illegally. Worryingly, six out of ten (59%) Brits travelling to France aren’t aware of new laws which come into force on 1st July, making it compulsory to carry two NF approved breathalysers at all times. Failure to do so results in an on the spot fine

Worryingly, six out of ten (59%) Brits travelling to France aren’t aware of new laws which came into force on 1 July, making it compulsory to carry two NF approved breathalysers at all times. Failure to do so results in an on-the-spot fine. It’s not just the new breathalyser law that motorists don’t know about. A Halfords survey of UK drivers at Dover, the UK’s busiest port showed that many drivers are oblivious of the continental driving laws on compulsory equipment, driving age and alcohol limits.

One in five (20%) drivers didn’t have headlamp convertors attached to their car, a legal requirement in most countries across Europe, with an on-the-spot fine of €100. Whilst over two thirds (74%) of motorists who wear glasses to drive didn’t have a spare pair with them, which is a legal requirement in Spain. The research also revealed more than one in ten (12%) motorists weren’t displaying a GB sticker, despite it being a legal requirement if you don’t already have a number plate with a GB Euro symbol on it. Anyone driving in France is required to carry a warning triangle and a fluorescent safety vest. The vest should be carried inside the car and not the car boot. Failure to have these in the car can lead to a fine of €90. Other items required are a first aid kit, fire extinguisher and spare bulbs for car lamps, lenses and reflectors.

Over a third (34%) of drivers travelling to France would allow a 17 year old to drive their car, unaware that they’d be breaking the law because the legal age for driving in France is 18.

One in ten (9%) of us wrongly presume the alcohol limit for drivers in Europe will be higher than at home, when it’s actually considerably lower in France, Germany, Italy and Spain.

The research discovered a lack of knowledge of even the simplest continental road rules, only minutes away from needing them.

20% of drivers travelling to France failed to identify the French ‘give way’ sign – one of the most important signs on the road and the same shape as ours

92% of motorists travelling to Germany were unable to recognise the German road sign for ‘express way’.

Almost a third of motorists (29%) didn’t know what the correct road markings were for ‘no overtaking’ in the country they were travelling to.

Motoring expert and UK journalist, Mike Rutherford, said

With over two million Brits set to travel to the continent this summer, it’s worrying to think that many of them will be driving illegally as they hit foreign shores. It’s important to check the driving laws of the country you’re travelling to. I spent some time with the Police Nationale recently and saw UK motorists breaking the law in France, often without realising it.

Other findings

  • Three quarters (75%) of motorists travelling to Spain weren’t aware of local speed limits, likewise with Italy (70%), Germany (58%) and France (44%)
  • Over a quarter (28%) of female drivers have been fined for doing something they didn’t realise was an offence
  • Men are savvier to European speed limits. When asked about the limits in France, Italy and Germany, more men answered correctly compared with women
  • Male drivers (7%) have been fined more than female drivers (5%)
  • Drivers over 40 years old are most likely to get fined abroad. 40% of drivers over 40 years have been fined compared with only 13% of drivers under 40 years

www.halfords.com 

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