Driving to Madrid? Don’t Forget Emergency Kit, Insurance & Your Shirt!

As tens of thousands of Tottenham and Liverpool football fans flock to Madrid for the Champions League Final this week, By Miles is urging those who are driving not to fall foul of foreign rules of the road.

For fans, the shortest driving route is through France and Spain – in both countries motorists drive on the right. Yet, according to a recent survey conducted by UK pay-by-mile car insurance provider, By Miles, a staggering 62% of UK drivers mistakenly believe they drive on the left.

By law, motorists driving in France must carry a range of accessories in their car such a breathalyser, spare headlight bulbs and a high-visibility jacket. Failure to carry these items can result in on-the-spot penalties. However, only a fifth realise they’d need a breathalyser (22%) realise and just over a third (36%) of drivers surveyed knew that they needed to pack a high-visibility jacket for the drive.

Travelling fans will also need to brush up on some of the more unusual driving laws to avoid being caught offside.

In Spain, much like footballers receive a yellow card for removing their tops in celebration, drivers can be fined up to €200 for driving shirtless. However, 91% of drivers are unaware of this rule. With temperatures set to hit over 30 degrees on match day fans need to be on the ball to avoid fines. Other laws drivers are unaware of are; no driving in flip-flops in Spain (91%) and no wearing headphones whilst driving in France (75%).

Those driving after the match need to make sure they allow more time than usual to sleep off any celebratory drinks. While the limit in the UK and Ireland is 0.8 milligrams per millilitre (mg per ml) – about one pint – in France and Spain it is 0.5 mg per ml, the equivalent of a small beer.

Mileage Mayhem

With fans expected to make a round trip of at least 2,000 miles, drivers are at risk of invalidating their car insurance by accidently going over their annual mileage limit. With three quarters of drivers (73%) unaware of this rule and half (50%) underestimating the drive to Spain’s capital city, accidentally invalidating their insurance is a real danger for many fans.

In the wake of these findings, By Miles is calling for fans to contact their insurers to check they are fully covered for driving abroad, and to check their road-trip won’t tip them over the top of their mileage limit.

James Blackham, co-founder of By Miles, said, Fans driving to the final this week must take the time to swot up on local driving laws or risk facing fines for being caught with their shirt off, literally.

“There are simple steps football fans can take before setting off to protect themselves. Don’t presume your insurer automatically gives you the same full cover you have at home when you’re driving in Europe. Give them a ring to make sure you have the same level of cover – many drop to third party only once outside the UK.

“Whilst you’re on the phone, check your annual mileage cap too. While Madrid doesn’t seem all that far away, road-tripping fans do risk clocking up too many miles on the journey and invalidating their insurance policies as a result. Motorists worried about falling foul of this rule would benefit from updating the estimated annual mileage on their policy, or better yet, exploring policies that don’t have mileage caps. For example, drivers on our pay-per-mile policy pay a fixed upfront cost to start their policy, then pay per mile they drive (which can be as low as 3 pence), but we cap the maximum charge for the day at 150 miles, no matter how far they drive, so they’ll never get a nasty surprise.”

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