Driving abroad

What’s it like to drive long distances in an electric car on holiday?

electric car on holiday
The French alps are lovely in the summer. Is driving there in an EV as stress free? (Picture©James Foxall)

The move to electric cars is well underway. By 2030 – less than eight years away – you won’t be able to buy a new petrol or diesel car. Electric vehicles (EVs) are often said to be great for short journeys, not so brilliant when you need to charge on the go. So what will it be like to take an electric car on holiday?

For a glimpse at the future of long journeys, we took an all-electric BMW iX3 on an 1,100-mile round trip to the French Alps this summer.

It pays to know your car

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Car sickness and how to cope with it on long journeys

car sickness
Car sickness can turn a dream holiday into a nightmare (Picture iStock/imgorthand)

It’s coming up for holiday time but if there’s one thing that can spoil a long journey for all concerned, it’s car sickness. No one’s quite sure why some people feel it and others don’t. But that won’t be much consolation to whoever the victim is; whoever has to keep pulling over for the sufferer to redecorate the roadside; or other passengers who have their holiday delayed. Here we look at what car sickness is and what you can do about it.

What is car sickness

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Quiz: How much do you know about driving abroad

quiz driving abroad
A driving holiday abroad can be great. But there are some strange rules and regulations (Picture iStock/georgeclerk)

Over the summer holidays, thousands of drivers will be either taking their motors abroad or driving a hire car while on holiday. But how well do you know the rules of the road when it comes to driving in Europe? Our cunning quiz poses 10 travel teasers that will help you warm up to driving abroad. And if you get any wrong, try again. Knowing the right answer might save you a few quid!

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Brexit: what you need to know about driving in the EU if there’s ‘no deal’

Updated 17 December 2020.

While Brexit talks are still going on, and certain things aren’t set in stone just yet, there are a lot of potential changes you should prepare for.

Whether you’re taking a car abroad or planning to drive a hire car once you get to a foreign country it’s likely you’ll have to apply for some paperwork. Read on to find out what you’ll need – if we leave the European Union/European Economic Area (EEA) without a deal.

Green cards: insurance when you’re driving in the EU

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Quiz: how well do you know your European traffic signs?

Drivers are confused by European road signs. Find out if you are one of them (Picture iStock/vaximilian)

Planning to drive abroad this summer? Millions of us are. But how well do you know your road signs? Although we’re one big European family (at the moment) traffic signs vary from country to country.

Travel giants EasyJet and Europcar commissioned a report that found European traffic signs baffled nearly four in five drivers (89 per cent). Although Euro rules mean many signs are similar, they can look different with Italy and Portugal having particularly confusing signs. How well do you know yours?

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Expert advice: Dos and don’ts for stopping on motorway hard shoulders

Motorway hard shoulder

Don’t try to fix it yourself. Read our five dos and five don’ts for stopping on a motorway hard shoulder

A motorway hard shoulder can be a dangerous place to spend time. That’s why all our technicians receive comprehensive training on what to do and how to behave on the hard shoulder. While it’s part of their job to spend time at the side of the motorway, it’s also something every driver could have to face at some point in their car-owning career.

For that reason, I’ve compiled five dos and fives don’ts for the motorway hard shoulder.

DO take care entering the hard shoulder

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Vous êtes nicked! British drivers face hefty fines for speeding abroad

Speeding abroad

If that’s a speeding ticket he’s writing, it could blow the holiday budget

More than four out of five British drivers are oblivious to tough new fines for speeding abroad. Just weeks after UK speeding fines changed in April 2017, the EU increased the penalty for breaking the limit on the Continent. That means drivers could be fined up to £640. Other motoring offences, such as not wearing a seatbelt and using a mobile phone at the wheel, are covered by the law change too.

When UK drivers were asked by Green Flag about their driving habits , the largest proportion (45 per cent) said they broke the speed limit abroad by mistake. And more than a third (38 per cent) claimed they find themselves speeding abroad because they don’t know the limits.

Driving abroad: what are the speed limits?

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Driving in France: which cars can visit Paris with Crit’Air emissions stickers?

Driving in France which cars are allowed in Paris using CritAir sticker system

British holiday makers planning to drive to France this summer are being warned to check their car meets emissions regulations, or they could find themselves fined up to £117 (€135) for entering some of the nation’s most popular city destinations.

Drivers attempting to visit Paris by car are most likely to be affected by changes to the Crit’Air anti-pollution scheme.

Previously, diesel cars that were built before 1997 were banned from cities, including the nation’s capital, due to their poor levels of toxic emissions.

Now authorities have introduced tougher minimum standards. No diesel car registered before 2001 will be permitted to enter Paris during weekdays. Other cities, including Lyon and Grenoble, are expected to follow its lead, which came into force from July. Continue reading

Being a passenger: how to help the driver stay safe at the wheel

Passenger

Passengers can be a hindrance or a help to drivers

You’re the passenger in a car. All you have to do is sit back and enjoy the ride while your driver whisks you to your destination. That might be true if you’re the Queen. But for mere mortals, being a passenger – particularly in the front seat – is a responsible role.

Passengers can be responsible for distracting the driver, with disastrous consequences. But it need not be like that. Read on to see how you can actively engage in getting from A to B as swiftly and safely as possible – without being behind the wheel.

Think of yourself as the co-driver

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Hire car hell? 10 ways to avoid it this summer

Car hire

Ensure your holiday hire car is all smiles by following our top tips

Hire car problems are one of the biggest bothers for holiday makers going abroad. But it should be one of the easiest parts of the trip. After all, it’s not as if it’s a new industry. And the modern automobile is a fairly bullet-proof piece of kit.

However, with a lack of transparency over pricing, exorbitant insurance to cover excesses, punitive charges for fuel, and occasional blatant overcharging, some hire car companies can make a holiday memorable for all the wrong reasons.

Things are improving slowly. The industry has been ordered to clean up its act by the Competition and Markets Authority and its European counterparts. But although the key five players – Avis-Budget, Enterprise, Europcar, Hertz and Sixt – have all made changes, there is plenty drivers can do to protect themselves. Here are 10 ways you can save money and ensure you have a trouble-free holiday – at least when it comes to the hire car. Continue reading