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UK motorists may be in for a harsh surprise if they take their British driving attitudes to Europe, as countries on the continent enforce much tougher laws regarding motoring offences.

Whereas in the UK there can occasionally be some police officer discretion or marginal allowance when tippling over the speed limit, new motoring laws in Spain are far more definite.  Motors.co.uk have reported that if drivers go as much as 1km an hour over the Spanish limit you could be in line for a hefty fine of anything up to £488, not to mentioning the possible transference of penalty points to a UK licence. An important thing to know for those who enjoy car rental travel around Europe.

Many motoring groups encourage some allowance when it comes to adhering to speed limits; the motorist’s attention should never be entirely consumed by their speedometer which can become a danger in itself.     

driving south africa

Looking at speed limits from around Europe many would argue that the UK has it all wrong; we’re allowed to go faster in built up areas and slower on motorways.  Some of the 60 and 70mph zones which are in operation just outside of built up areas are ludicrously quick and should certainly be revised as 40 or 50mph – as is the case in much of Europe.

Contrast this with the motorways within the United Kingdom, which appear slow by contrast to France, Italy and obviously Germany.  Again many motoring groups would advocate higher speeds on open roads to avoid bottlenecking but this is still very much up for debate.

The UK law enforcement may seem particularly harsh in terms of penalty points and well hidden speed cameras, but motorists may well find Spanish speeding fines far more punitive monetarily.  It also seems that since hitting a peak in the first decade of the millennium, the rate of points being accumulated by British motorists has dropped, with less covert cameras capturing our speeding misdemeanours.

RADAR.pngRADAR“. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

It seems like the situation a decade ago was that the majority of motorists had penalty points; a phenomenon which appears to be less striking nowadays.  Maybe the penalty point culture changed our driving habits in the same manner as political correctness compels people to change, but maybe law enforcement has recognised it might have been a shade too harsh.

The UK appears to be striking a happy medium nowadays in terms of limits and enforcement of these limits.  Britain needs to be a culture that watches the road instead of the dashboard and the system of penalty points and speed limits doesn’t seem far off the mark. So next time you’re travelling to Europe, be very aware of the speed and traffic laws in each country as it could put a hefty unexpected surcharge on your otherwise cheap European holiday.

About The Author:

With a passionate for statistics and fun facts, Chris Andrews has a BA in Journalism and Communication Studies. He is always looking for new forms of communication in digital media. In his spare time he enjoys traveling and discovering new cultures.

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Nick Wharton & Dariece Swift

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Nick Wharton and Dariece Swift are the owners and founders of Goats On The Road. Together they have been travelling and working abroad since 2008 and have more than 20 years of combined experience in online business, finance, travel and entrepreneurship. Their expert advice has been featured on the Lonely Planet, CNN Money, Business Insider,  WiseBread and Forbes and they also spoke at the World Tourism Forum in Istanbul about the business of travel blogging.

Learn more about Nick Wharton and Dariece Swift on their respective author archives on this site and on the Goats On The Road About Us Page.

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