By Denna Bowman
UK drivers who are traveling abroad this summer face a potential motoring minefield, according to a leading tyres manufacturer.
Bridgestone tyres has highlighted the fact that many UK motorists are unaware that there a raft of new laws depending on the countries they are passing through that need to be adhered to.
To combat these problems, Bridgestone UK is highlighting some of the most common omissions by motorists and has prepared a guide on how to prepare properly as the rules differ markedly from our own.
In France, for example, motorists are required to carry a reflective vest in the cabin; in Spain they must have two warning triangles (one for the front and rear of the vehicle); in Austria it is compulsory to pack a first aid kit and there are Europe-wide requirements that require motorists to have GB stickers displayed clearly on the vehicle.
There are even added legal responsibilities for those who choose to hire vehicles to make their trip. Much of car hire regulation works in a similar way to personal car insurance policies in that responsibilities are divided between the two parties.
For instance upon collecting the car it is the drivers responsibility to check for pre-existing problems, such as scratches, bodywork damage, punctures or illegal tyres prior to driving away. Finding a slow puncture once the rental of the vehicle has commenced leaves the holidaymaker with the liability and more importantly the cost of repair.
Andy Dingley, communications manager at Bridgestone UK, said: “When preparing to drive abroad or rent a hire car the majority of UK motorists makes assumptions based on the rules and regulations within the United Kingdom.
“When they do encounter a problem pleading ignorance gets them nowhere so it is essential that they are properly equipped and aware of the laws. These holiday driving tips will help keep motorists on the right side of the law and help them avoid having to part with substantial amounts of money and potentially ruining their trip.”
Tips from the Bridgestone guide include:-
Research the specific motoring laws for the country you are visiting and put together a checklist to ensure that you stay within the laws of that country throughout your trip.
Visually check your tyres -or the tyres of your hire car- for cuts, lumps and bulges, and ensure your tyre pressure is at the level specified by the vehicle manufacturer.
Thoroughly check any hire vehicle prior to accepting rental, making sure that you are satisfied with its condition and highlighting any potential issues to the hire company, ensuring they are recorded in writing.
Take time to go through the written rental agreement with the hire company and air queries relating to repair responsibility and costs before driving away. Always ask the question of the company as they are law bound to give you an explanation.