Image: Driving Abroad

With the schools closed for the summer, many of us will be looking to travel abroad for a holiday. Travelling by car is an attractive option, especially as driving across Europe has never been so accessible. But motorists are being warned that penalties for speeding are going up across Europe.

Pain in Spain?

A new law has just been passed in Spain that allows the police to charge up to £488 for anyone caught speeding.  Even if you are just 1km per hour above the speed limit, the fine can be anything up to €407. Holidays are expensive enough without being hit by a huge fine.

Ken McCall Managing Director of Europcar, has firsthand experience dealing with British drivers on foreign soil. “Driving abroad can be a daunting for some motorists, as echoed by a new survey revealing that 75% of women have never driven abroad. In contrast, men are more likely to break the law when driving abroad but that could result in them coming home with more than a suntan.”

“The greater focus on speeding and dangerous driving in Spain and France should reassure British motorists that other drivers will be keeping to the speed limits.  And that should help to boost confidence when driving on foreign roads.”

Dónde está la bus stop?

A hefty fine can ruin a holiday. Should British drivers be put off? “We advise drivers to familiarise themselves with the driving laws of any countries they are visiting if they’re planning to drive either their own car or a hire car,” continues Ken McCall, “For instance, in France it is a requirement for drivers to carry a breathalyser kit in their vehicle; in other countries there’s a zero alcohol limit.  Whichever country you are visiting, don’t get caught out by assuming that foreigners will be exempt from the law.”

With new EU regulations being passed to mean that penalty points accrued in Europe count in the UK, it is more important than ever to think ahead. A driving holiday could be an unforgettable experience. Just make sure that it is for all the right reasons. Just look at the Swedish motorist caught speeding in Switzerland in 2010. He was caught speeding at 170km/h above the speed limit. His fine? $1 million dollars (£656,000)!

Have you had any trouble driving abroad? Let us know your experiences in the comments below.

Travelling across Europe this summer? Why not check out our reviews of budget Sat Navs?

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