What to do if: You're caught speeding or you breakdown

Break down

1. You Break Down

  • Make sure you’re covered: Breaking down can be a real inconvenience at the best of times, and when it happens overseas it can be an even trickier problem to deal with if you don’t have sufficient cover. Ensuring you have European breakdown cover will mean you’ll be able to call on help should you become immobilised at the side of the road. Without it recovery costs can really add up. 
  • Check your car is ready: It’s definitely wise to check your car is as ready as it can be before setting off on your trip. A full service is a good idea, as is ensuring tyres are in the right condition, visibility is good and your lights are working as they should be. 
  • Have you got your insurance documents?: If you do run in to problems you could be thankful for having relevant phone numbers and insurance documents to hand. If you do become stuck at the roadside it’s far better to have them with you than them being left back where you’re staying. 
  • Have you got the right clothing?: Remember to slip on your fluorescent jacket before exiting the car on busier roads, and, if appropriate, make use of the warning triangle to warn other drivers of the hazard ahead. Make your safety a priority.
  • The rescue plan: In the event of breaking down at the side of the road, find out your location and, if you have taken it out, contact your European breakdown cover provider. You could also use the Europe-wide emergency number, 112, for assistance. 
Speed camera

2. You Get Caught Speeding

  • The penalties for driving over the speed limit can be severe and if you’re pulled over it’s important to know that on-the-spot fines of hundreds of Euros (to be paid immediately in cash) can be demanded.
  • Failure to pay can lead to your vehicle being taken away from you, never a good situation and potentially an even worse one if you’re uncertain of your surroundings, local laws and the language barrier.
  • Currently, exchange of data relating to driving offences between EU nations is limited. But remain cautious as the European Commission is discussing plans to make this possible, which could see your UK driving licence being impacted by a motoring offence overseas. 

The best way to avoid such problems is, of course, to drive carefully and below the limit. Do keep in mind, though, that radar and speed camera detectors are prohibited. This is the case in a number of European countries, so ensure you leave them at home or disable them before travelling.

Speeding Offence Fines

On-the-spot fines can be issued (and will vary depending on the level of the offence). Payment within 20 days can see fines reduced by as much as half, however, non-resident drivers are required to pay immediately at this rate unless they’re able to provide a guarantor in Spain to cover it.

More serious offences will see bigger fines, and can lead to your vehicle being taken away from you, or even a prison sentence.

Driving abroad

Be sure to check out our other driving abroad guides:

 

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