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Breaking Down Abroad: A Case Study

By: Sally Aquire - Updated: 28 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Breaking Down Abroad: A Case Study

Many drivers are afraid of driving abroad as they fear breaking down in a foreign country. This was certainly true of Emma Williams, who takes as many steps as possible to limit the chances of it happening again after she suffered a breakdown on a French motorway.

Insurance

Before setting off, Emma stresses the importance of checking your motor insurance. As she points out, “Make sure that you are covered for driving in Europe on your insurance policy, as this will not always be the case. I am with a well known breakdown company, who have a good system in place . Take all of your insurance paperwork on holiday with you. When I broke down in France, they asked to see this and my Green Card so that they knew that I was covered”.

Preparation

Emma is now meticulous when it comes to making sure that her car has been fully serviced before she even thinks about driving abroad. She says, “I didn't get my car checked over before I left the UK, so I probably shouldn't have been that surprised that it broke down halfway through France. I learnt my lesson the hard way, and would advise that all drivers who are planning to drive abroad take the time to take their cars to a garage to be looked at before setting off. If I had done that, it would have saved a lot of hassle!”

Self Maintenance Checks

You can also perform your own maintenance checks on your vehicle before setting off, as Emma does. She says, “I make a point of checking that my car's tyres are properly inflated and that they have the correct minimum tread. I also check the oil and water levels in the engine”.

If a Breakdown Does Occur

The same basic rules apply in this situation as would be the case in the UK. When Emma broke down, she reacted in much the same way as she would have done in the UK. She says, “I pulled over to the hard shoulder as soon as it was safe for me to do so. Once there, I placed the obligatory emergency triangle 30 metres behind my car and called my breakdown company from one of the emergency telephones.

The breakdown truck arrived quite promptly but unfortunately, my car could not be fixed by the roadside and had to be towed away to a garage. This was an expense that I hadn't bargained on, especially when my breakdown happened at 8pm, which costs a lot more than a breakdown that happens before 6pm. All in all, my breakdown cost me in excess of 200 Euros. Fortunately, I was provided with accommodation to stay in overnight until my car could be fixed at the garage”.

Emma has several pieces of advice based on her own experiences of breaking down. She says, “Firstly, check your insurance and get yourself covered if you're not already. Secondly, have your car checked before you leave in case there are some underlying problems that would otherwise lead to a breakdown. Finally, take plenty of spare cash in case you do break down so that it doesn't eat into your budget”.

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