Over 50s worry about accidents and motoring law when driving abroad

With the roads set to get busy as people once again head abroad for the bank holidays research by Saga Car Insurance shows that a third (28%) of over 50s worry about having an accident when driving abroad and around half are unsure of motoring laws in popular European destinations.

The survey of almost 10,000 has revealed that many holidaymakers have concerns about driving abroad, including having an accident (28%), driving on the opposite side of the road (23%) and breaking down (23%).

Those concerns are backed up by analysis of Saga claims data which shows that in the last 12 months over 600 claims have been made by Saga customers driving abroad with 80% of incidents involving collisions and damage totalling almost £700,000. A further one in ten claims involved theft or vandalism. Almost half of all incidents occurred in France (48%), followed by Spain (26%) and Italy (9%).

Other worries for motorists on foreign roads include having to ask for directions, not understanding signs and negotiating roundabouts (7%).

Furthermore, whilst one in seven (15%) admitted to having concerns about understanding motoring laws abroad, the survey has revealed that in fact around half of over 50s would struggle to identify compulsory motor vehicle safety equipment for popular European destinations.

Whilst people were more likely to be familiar with French law – the majority identifying compulsory items such as a warning triangle, reflective jacket and breathalysers – around two thirds of respondents didn’t know that basic items like GB stickers and headlamp adjustments are compulsory not just in France but also neighbouring countries including Portugal, Italy, Germany, and Spain.

Roger Ramsden, Chief Executive of Saga Services, commented: “Whilst we know that the over 50s are keen and experienced road users, driving abroad is not without its risks.  Getting to grips with foreign motoring laws and driving on the opposite side of the road can be daunting no matter how many years you have been behind the wheel. I would urge people intending to drive whilst on holiday to check the motoring laws before they leave and also make sure they have appropriate insurance cover for their journey. That way they can get on with enjoying their break without worrying or falling foul of the authorities.”

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