There are so many reasons to consider driving when you head abroad. Having your own vehicle opens the door for you to explore so much more of a destination and its surroundings, for one, while it should make the trip from the airport to the hotel quicker and less stressful.
As much as you don’t want to think about it though, you should be prepared in the event that you suffer a breakdown while exploring a foreign country or have a road accident during your experience. Research by the RAC has found that while three in ten UK drivers were concerned about having an accident while abroad, 13 per cent of motorists said they didn’t check their breakdown cover before they went travelling overseas.
To make things a lot easier when driving abroad, take a look at this guide on what to do in the event of a breakdown or a road accident. The guide has been provided by Lookers — a car dealership that can help drivers conduct a Motability car search when they’re eligible for this government-funded scheme:
Steps to take at the scene when suffering a car breakdown
You should attempt to get your vehicle onto the hard shoulder in the quickest and safest manner if you suffer a breakdown on a motorway of a foreign country. If this is not possible, use your hazard warning lights, and only leave the car after checking that it is completely safe to do so. When a breakdown occurs on a smaller road, move your vehicle to a safe area off the road, and use your hazard warning lights and warning triangle to alert other motorists.
No matter where the breakdown occurs, always try and leave your vehicle by using the door that is nearest the kerb. Once you’ve exited the vehicle, you should lock it and move to a safe distance away from the road and oncoming traffic.
Steps to take at the scene when suffering a road accident
If you are unfortunately involved in a road accident while abroad, you should get in touch with the local police as soon as it’s safe to do so — it’s the law of most countries that the police must attend any road accident where a foreign vehicle is involved.
Once you’ve contacted the police, try to get as many notes about what happened as possible and take photographs of the incident — including images which clearly show the number plates of all vehicles involved. Insurance details should also be exchanged, while you should attempt to get as many names and addresses of witnesses to the accident.
Always refrain from apologising or admitting liability though, and the European Accident Statement, or ‘Constat Amiable’, should be the only document you sign if travelling around Europe. This document is the method that ensures all parties involved in an incident exchange the relevant information and possibly agree to how the situation occurred. Make sure you’re given a copy of this statement once it’s filled out and that you’ve checked that you understand all of the details provided by the other parties before leaving the scene of the accident.
The difference between having a motor policy with breakdown cover compared to one that does not
While you’ll need specific breakdown cover for the country you’re driving in when abroad, it’s definitely worth looking into this aspect of your vehicle insurance policy ahead of your trip.
If you suffer a breakdown or are involved in a road accident and have a motor policy that includes the relevant breakdown cover, your first task will be to call for assistance by letting the police know where you’re at. The rescue recovery services will then either help you at the roadside, or will take your car for more complicated repairs. If the repairs are not completed during your trip, you will receive a hire car to ensure that you remain mobile throughout your holiday. You may also be offered overnight accommodation, and onward travel.
However, the situation isn’t as straightforward if you have a motor policy that doesn’t have the required breakdown cover. When an accident occurs and you aren’t covered, you will again need to call for assistance. This time though, the police will arrange for you and your car to be taken to a local garage. You’ll then have to negotiate the costs for your car to be repaired, and organise how to continue with your journey.