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UK: Driving abroad - International driving laws could put the brakes on your holiday


Almost a quarter of people heading off on a driving holiday (23%) do not research the rules of the road for the country they’re visiting, before their trip - according to car insurer Aviva. More than one in five (22%) also admits to not having insurance for driving abroad.

The new research from Aviva’s latest Family Finances survey* found that driving abroad holidays are most popular among 25-34 year olds; either families with two or more children or couples without kids.

Steve Ashford, head of motor underwriting said: “Drivers are risking a heavy fine or, at worse, being arrested if they do not understand the rules of the road when driving abroad. Other countries have different road rules to the UK and ignorance is not an acceptable excuse.”

“Know before you go – check you understand the driving laws for the country you’re visiting and make sure you have the right car insurance and roadside assistant to ensure you’re covered in the event of an accident or breakdown.”

Aviva’s Top Five Unexpected International Driving Laws

  1. Turn off satnav speed camera alerts in France: Devices capable of detecting speed cameras and warning drivers of their locations are illegal. Before driving in France you need to disable these alerts on your satnav. If you’re caught with a working device, or break any French driving laws, the French police can confiscate your license and impound your vehicle.

  2. You need two pairs of glasses to drive in Spain: If you usually wear glasses or contact lenses to drive then make sure you have a spare pair with you in Spain. If you happen to be caught without then you could have to deal with a fine.

  3. Keep your headlights on in Norway: It’s compulsory in Norway to keep your headlights on 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Even in the middle of summer, where the sun doesn’t set in some parts of the country, it’s a legal requirement to have them on.

  4. Watch out for wildlife in Finland: There are a number of big animals that roam the countryside in Finland. Should you be unfortunate enough to have an accident involving a reindeer, elk or any other large animal it’s illegal not to report it to the police. Also avoid using your horn when driving in Finland as it’s illegal unless you’re in danger.

  5. Extreme speed limits on the German motorway: The autobahn in Germany, the equivalent of our motorway, has lengthy sections with a 130 km-per-hour speed recommendation. This is still just a recommendation but bear in mind that it’s illegal to stop even if you run out of petrol on the motorway.

More Unexpected International Driving Laws can be found on Aviva’s website.

Aviva Car Insurance – Foreign Use Cover**
A standard comprehensive car insurance policy with Aviva automatically provides the minimum cover required to travel in most European countries - usually the equivalent of UK third party only.

This can be upgraded for an additional annual premium to provide the same cover as in the UK for travel within the following countries:
Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France (including Monaco), Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy (including San Marino and the Vatican City), Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Ireland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland (including Liechtenstein).


Notes to editors

* The Family Finances Report is designed and produced by Aviva in consultation with ICM Research. The report is an in-depth study into the financial needs of the 84% of the UK population who live as part of a modern family. Based on customer profiles and Government data Aviva has recognised the six most common types of modern family as:

- Living in a committed relationship with no plans to have children
- Living in a committed relationship with plans to have children
- Living in a committed relationship with one child
- Living in a committed relationship with two or more children
- Divorced/separated/widowed with one or more child
- Single parent raising one or more child alone

Unless otherwise specified, data was sourced from the Aviva Family Index which used findings from over 26,000 people who are members of one of the six groups of families identified above via ICM research. This report is a definitive look at the personal finances of families in the UK. Not only does it look at personal wealth, income sources and expenditure patterns but also tracks how these change across the different types of family unit.

** Further information can be found on Aviva’s website:

About Aviva

  • Aviva provides life insurance, general insurance, health insurance and asset management to 34* million customers, across 16 markets worldwide

  • In the UK we are the leading insurer serving one in every four households and have strong businesses in selected markets in Europe, Asia and Canada. Our shares are listed on the London Stock Exchange and we are a member of the FTSE100 index. 

  • Aviva’s asset management business, Aviva Investors, provides asset management services to both Aviva and external clients, and currently manages over £245 billion in assets.

  • Aviva helps people save for the future and manage the risks of everyday life; we paid out £24.6 billion in benefits and claims in 2014.

  • By serving our customers well, we are building a business which is strong and sustainable, which our people are proud to work for, and which makes a positive contribution to society.

  • The Aviva media centre at includes company information, images, and a news release archive.

  • For an introduction to what we do and how we do it, please click here

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* Before the deduction of overlapping customers.

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