Over 50s planning on driving abroad this Easter worry about accidents and motoring law

Monday 10 April 2017

  • Around 680,000 over 50s are planning on driving abroad this Easter
  • Almost a third worry about having an accident whilst driving abroad
  • Around half are unsure about motoring laws in European destinations

Research by Saga Car Insurance1 has revealed that a quarter (26%) of over 50s planning a break abroad this Easter will be driving on foreign roads but almost a third (28%) worry about having an accident and around half are unsure of motoring laws in popular European destinations.

With more than 2.6M over 50s looking to get away for the bank holiday period it is clear that Mrs May triggering article 50 clearly hasn’t changed their love of popping across the Channel as the most popular destinations will be Spain (22%), France (13%) and Italy (7%). A fifth (19%) are planning on going outside of Europe.   

However, the survey of almost 10,000 has revealed that many holidaymakers have concerns about driving abroad including having an accident (28%), driving on the opposite side of the road (23%) and breaking down (23%).

Those concerns are backed up by analysis of Saga claims data2 which shows that in the last 12 months over 600 claims have been made by Saga customers driving abroad with 80% of incidents involving collisions and damage totalling almost £700,000. A further one in ten claims involved theft or vandalism. Almost half of all incidents occurred in France (48%), followed by Spain (26%) and Italy (9%).  

Other worries for motorists on foreign roads include having to ask for directions, not understanding signs and negotiating roundabouts (7%).

Furthermore, whilst one in seven (15%) admitted to having concerns about understanding motoring laws abroad, the survey has revealed that in fact around half of over 50s would struggle to identify compulsory motor vehicle safety equipment for popular European destinations.

Whilst people were more likely to be familiar with French law - the majority identifying compulsory items such as a warning triangle, reflective jacket and breathalysers3 - around two thirds of respondents didn’t know that basic items like GB stickers4 and headlamp adjustments are compulsory not just in France but also neighbouring countries including Portugal, Italy, Germany, and Spain.

Roger Ramsden, Chief Executive of Saga Services, commented: “Whilst we know that the over 50s are keen and experienced road users, driving abroad is not without its risks.  Getting to grips with foreign motoring laws and driving on the opposite side of the road can be daunting no matter how many years you have been behind the wheel. I would urge people intending to drive whilst on holiday this Easter to check the motoring laws before they leave and also make sure they have appropriate insurance cover for their journey. That way they can get on with enjoying their break without worrying or falling foul of the authorities.” 

Saga Car Insurance customers are automatically covered when driving in the European Union, and unlike many other insurers cover is provided is for an unlimited period. Customers also have the option to add European breakdown assistance for extra peace of mind. Those looking to hire a car whilst on holiday can take advantage of Saga’s Hire Car Excess Waiver (HCEW) from just £2.70 a day alongside their Saga Travel Insurance policy. That way they will be covered for eventualities such as lost or stolen keys, misfuelling and getting the hire car back to the rental company if they are prevented from doing so through accident or illness.


Notes to editors:

1Populus interviewed 9,586 Saga respondents, all aged 50+ online between 21 and 26 March 2017. Data was weighted to be nationally representative (12% of over 50s in the UK = 2.64M people). Populus is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules; for more information www.populus.co.uk

2Saga claims data March 2016 – March 2017

3All drivers in France should possess a breathalyser. However, as of the 25th January 2013 a driver cannot be penalised for not carrying one. The fine has been postponed indefinitely. The breathalyser has to be a certified by the French authorities, showing an ‘NF’ number. The official text states that one unused breathalyser should be produced.

4GB Stickers are compulsory within the EU unless your UK registration plates display the GB Euro-symbol (Europlates) which became a legal option from 21 March 2001. The Euro plate must comply with the new British Standard (BS AU 145d). The Euro plate is only legally recognised in the EU; it is still a requirement to display a GB sticker when travelling outside the EU.

About Saga Car Insurance

  • Saga Car Insurance is the leading specialist insurance provider for people aged 50 and over, offering cover tailored to their needs
  • Saga Car Insurance holds a Defaqto 5 star rating and is accessible with UK based call centres and no automated telephone menus
  • Saga Car Insurance offers uninsured driver cover, up to £500 get you home cover, £1,000 of personal belongings cover and vandalism cover
  • For more information, visit www.saga.co.uk/insurance/car-insurance or call 0800 015 0756

About Saga’s Hire Car Excess Waiver insurance policy
Saga’s Hire Car Excess Waiver Insurance covers offers over 50s a wide range of cover including:

  • Up to £4,000 excess insurance
  • Covers customers for misfuelling up to £1,000
  • Covers customers if they lock themselves out of the hire car up to £500
  • Covers customers if hire car keys are lost or stolen up to £500
  • Covers people if they are unable to return the hire car back to the rental company due to an accident or illness

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