July 13, 2012

Seeing as summer’s been cancelled here, you might be thinking about going away somewhere. But hang on a second! Only one in four Britons is able to drive on the continent without running into problems, according to new research from yellow insurance company Uvavu reported on the www.femalefist.co.uk website this week.

More than one in six, the insurer says, admit to driving on the wrong side of the road, while more than a quarter of drivers struggle to make any sense of those strange looking foreign road signs. See Bankstone News’ handy cut-out and keep (but sadly far too small to see) guide to (mostly) foreign roadsigns below.

Among these ignorami, apparently, are any number of pitiful fools who still haven’t heard that you are no longer allowed to consume alcohol in France and must carry a personal breath-test kit with you at all times.

“Most of us will be jumping into a car this summer,” Uvavu’s Nigel Bartman, told www.femalefist.co uk, “and will cover hundreds of miles in pursuit of a well-earned break.” Confusingly, he then adds: “while we might favour driving over queues in airports, it is not without its hazards.” Presumably these would include the hazard of being arrested for motorised mass murder and spending the rest of your life in some Midnight-Express-style custodial hell.

Based on Nige’s somewhat eccentric assumptions about British holiday-making motorists’ homicidal inclinations, you might doubt the reliability of his top ten tips for continental driving. But, just in case, here they are anyway (lightly paraphrased for the sake of concision):

1. Work out where you are going before you leave. Think about all the things that could go wrong, and then a) decide not to go after all or b) “make sure you have the correct insurance in place” and consider European Breakdown Cover. Why would we want to do this? “In case your car breaks down,” Nige explains.

2. If you still insist on driving abroad, “check to see if you need reflective vests, spare bulbs, warning triangles, GB stickers, masking stickers for headlamps, breathalysers” and Nige adds helpfully: “anything else that is required of Brit drivers on foreign roads.”

3. Work out where you are going before you leave (see 1. above). Look at a map, Nige suggests.

4. Stop driving if you are tired. Get someone else to drive for a bit.

5. The roads will be busier and you journey will take longer than you think. Deal with it! Try not to freak out.

6. Think of “fun games” for your children to play and feed them sweets so they’ll stop bugging you.

7. If you drive a hire car, make sure you know how it works. Drive around the car park a few times.
This sounds like excellent advice to Bankstone News: if you can thread your way at a reasonable speed between all those closely-packed hire cars, you’re ready for anything! If the attendant questions your actions, simply tell them (nice and loud, remember they’re foreign) that you are “warming up.”

8. 9. 10. See 1. above.

What could possibly go wrong? (See 1. above).

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