CHESTER, England, August 22, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --
- Half of British motorists driving in Europe have broken the law
- One in ten have been pulled over by the police
- Speeding is top Euro driving offence, and one in ten drink drive
- Just one in five found it more pleasant to drive in Europe compared to motoring in UK
More than half of British motorists who have driven in continental Europe have committed an offence behind the wheel, according to research by MoneySupermarket.
The UK's number one comparison site, which polled over 1,000 British motorists who have driven in Europe*, found 53 per cent of drivers have committed at least one driving offence when behind the wheel - with 29 per cent of these admitting to three or more offences - and one in every ten motorists who has driven in Europe (11 per cent) has been pulled over by the police.
Top five Euro driving offences:**
- Driving over the speed limit - 31 per cent
- Driving when low on petrol - 18 per cent
- Using a sat-nav speed camera alert - 14 per cent
- Drink driving - 9 per cent
- Pulled over by the police for speeding - 6 per cent
Male motorists are the worst for breaking the rules when driving abroad, with 59 per cent committing an offence compared to 41 per cent of female drivers. The research also found Londoners are the most likely to speed, drink drive, and use a sat-nav system to alert them to speed cameras.
Peter Harrison, car insurance expert at MoneySupermarket, said: "As soon as your wheels hit European soil, continental driving rules will apply to you - and they vary from country to country. Over three and a half million cars are driven to France*** each year; getting caught speeding there could rack up as many as six points on your license, and a fine of up to €1,500 dependent on the severity of the speeding offence. It's worrying Brits are so blasé about driving in Europe - being in the 'holiday spirit' is just no excuse.
"Similarly French law will only allow 0.5mg alcohol in the blood if driving, the equivalent to just one small beer, and lower than the 0.8mg allowed in the UK. Motorists should be aware that drink driving while on holiday, or at home, is never a good idea."
The research also revealed just one in five motorists (20 per cent) found driving in Europe more pleasant than driving in the UK; a quarter of female drivers (23 per cent) found driving on the other side of the road very difficult, and one in ten women said they'd never drive in Europe again.
Motor Insurance in Continental Europe
As well as understanding the rules of the road when driving in Continental Europe, it is also vital that drivers understand the terms and conditions of their own car insurance policy. Many providers will automatically downgrade a fully comprehensive policy to provide only the minimum level of cover required for the country you are driving in - normally third party only. For example, both Marks & Spencer and Endsleigh honour their fully comprehensive policies for 90 days of driving in Europe, but other insurers automatically downgrade policies to the minimum level. Holidaymakers driving through several countries could also find the level of car insurance cover may vary considerably from country to country as a result.
Peter Harrison concluded: "No-one wants their great motoring getaway to turn into an expensive nightmare so Brits intending to drive abroad should not assume their existing cover is valid or as comprehensive as at home, a number of policies automatically downgrade.
"It's crucial motorists study the small print of their policy, to understand how their car insurance changes when in another country. If you were unfortunate enough to have a crash while abroad and were only covered for third party, you could be left with a hefty bill."
Notes to editors:
* Research conducted by Opinium Research of 1,057 Online interviews with drivers who have driven in or expect to drive in continental Europe in the near future. Research conducted on 18 - 19 July 2012 and results are representative of all UK adults.
** 31 per cent surveyed admitted to driving over the speed limit and a further 6 per cent admitted to being pulled over by the police for speeding when driving in Europe.
*** ONS; Department for Transport; Port Statistics, sheet "SPAS0401"
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