The coming Bank Holiday weekend may be a last chance to slip across to Europe for a late summer break. But, if you drive abroad, could you be breaking the law?

According to research from Sainsbury’s Car Insurance, too many of us will break driving laws, often without meaning to. France is the most popular destination for driving Brits and 4.3 million will visit. But one in three of us will forget to take a reflective jacket – carrying one is a legal requirement. One in seven won’t be carrying a reflective triangle, and a few will even use a radar detector, meaning that they, too, will be liable to pick up a fine.

Sainsbury’s warns drivers to check driving laws before setting off. Its research shows that many motorists won’t carry proof of ownership in their cars despite it being a legal requirement in many countries. If you need to wear glasses, you may not know that in Spain, Switzerland and Lichtenstein, you need to carry a spare pair in the car. Many countries require you to carry a first aid kit or a fire extinguisher.

Drivers also need to tell insurers if they’re intending to travel overseas. If you’ve comprehensive cover, most policies extend to Europe at no extra cost. However, if you don’t tell your insurer the cover may reduce to third-party only. If you crash, damage to your car and any injuries the driver suffers may not be claimable.

Stephen Jury


August 19, 2010