Thursday, 11 July 2013

Car problems abroad?

The number of Brit holidaymakers who plan to take their car abroad over the next 12 months has apparently increased by a third in just three years, according to new research this week from Sainsbury’s Bank car insurance.  The report claims that around 8.5 million Brits plan to drive abroad this year despite the probability that many will inadvertently break the law if they don’t know the rules of the road in the country they are visiting.

Researching and understanding some of the common road signs is quite important if you plan on driving in an unfamiliar country.  Many of the signs are quite different to the UK versions and can be confusing for the occasional traveller.  Of course, researching some of the local phrases of the country you are visiting is also worth doing if you hope to understand what certain signs say – they won’t all include imagery, some will be text only and if you can’t read the language this could cause problems such as getting lost, taking a wrong turn and driving onto dangerous/hazardous roads or even misunderstanding warnings about the environment/wildlife etc.

Motorists should also be aware that countries have different legal requirements in terms of what a motorist should carry in their car too – so it is always best to look this up before you start your journey

Of course, when you take your car abroad, there are some situations that you can’t plan for quite so easily.  What if you breakdown, have an accident or need road-side assistance?  Even worse, what if you need to call the emergency services?  Do you even know what number to call?  Could you explain to a breakdown recovery company what has happened to your car and where they should pick you up?  You may be lucky enough to be connected to someone who has a good understanding of English, but this may not always be the case. 

Always ensure your accident/emergency road-side cover is up to date, but also prepare for the worst too – imagine being stuck in an unknown location, unable to communicate in the local language.  What could you do in advance to prepare or make your life that little bit easier should such a situation arise?  Yes, you can research some phrases, you could even make sure you have access to a personal telephone interpreting service should you need to speak to someone who doesn’t speak English, and you could ensure your car is kitted out correctly with emergency supplies. Remember, you can’t just pop home if an issue occurs.  You might have the most reliable car in the world, but what’s the bet it chooses your foreign holiday location as the prime time to roll to a halt?

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