Tuesday, 29 September 2015

5 rules of the road that could catch you out while driving abroad . . .


5 rules of the road that could catch you out while driving abroad

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Are you planning on a road trip abroad this summer? Beware of unexpected road laws that could cost you a hefty fine.

As romantic as it sounds to spend your summer holiday by just hiring a car and rolling around Europe’s most beautiful cities and picturesque coastlines, the fines you could land yourself by not cluing up on foreign road laws will soon dampen the dream. 

It’s hard enough being familiar with some of the less common signs (David Parry/PA)

Aviva has summarised a few unexpected, but crucial, rules that it estimates a whole quarter of us don’t bother to check before we drive abroad.

And penalties for getting caught could cost you up to €1,500.

So to save you adding the stress of looking up all the possible road rules you might miss to your pre-holiday panic, here are 5 of the most important…

1. France: Turn off satnav speed camera alerts

The cameras can see you coming, but you’re not allowed to know they are (John Stillwell/PA)

Devices capable of detecting speed cameras and warning drivers of their locations are illegal. If you are caught with a working device the French police can confiscate your licence and even impound your vehicle – or face the €1,500 fine.

2. Spain: Take two pairs of glasses to drive 

Gail knows about the importance of having the right specs while driving (Ian Nicholson/PA)

Apparently, if you usually wear glasses or contact lenses to drive then you always have to have a spare pair with you in the vehicle. Although police tend to be more lenient with foreign visitors, get caught by an officer in a funny mood then you might well get fined.

3. Norway: Keep your headlights on 

In the grey weather, the 24-hour headlights might not be such a bad idea… (Danny Lawson/PA)

Saving energy is lower down on the priorities list here as it is compulsory to keep headlights on 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, whatever the weather. On-the-spot fines for switching them off can range from €100 to €1,000.

4. Finland: Watch out for wildlife…and don’t cry wolf 

You can take pictures, but careful not to get too close! (Jeff McIntosh/PA)

Large animals are well looked after here and it’s illegal to neglect to report any accidents that involve you and, say, a reindeer or elk.

And, while we’re on the subject of accidents, think before you honk, as it is illegal to use the horn unless you are in serious danger. Doing so could earn you the relatively trivial fine of €22.

5. Germany: Serious speed restrictions on the motorway

Even running low on petrol is no excuse for stopping on the motorway (Danny Lawson/PA)

While there are lengthy sections on the German autobahn with a 130km-per-hour speed recommendation, stopping at any point is illegal – even if you run out of petrol. Expect a €70 fine and two points on your licence if you do.

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