UK drivers unable to recognise even half of foreign road signs

Motoring incidents most likely in Spain, France, Italy, Portugal and Australia. UK drivers are unable to recognise even half of foreign road signs (46%), according to revealing new research from Insurance4CarHire (I4CH).

The findings come from a survey of 2,000 UK drivers who were asked to correctly identify road signs from Italy, Spain, France, Portugal and Australia. Ranked in order, these five popular holiday destinations are where British motorists are most at risk of needing to make a claim on their insurance, according to I4CH claims data collected over the past three years (2012-14).

And with UK holiday-makers still keen to catch some late summer sun, the realisation we're least able to recognise Spanish road signs could come as extremely bad news, with motorists giving a wrong answer 62% of the time. Even in Italy, where British drivers give their best performance, we’re scraping at the halfway mark, with a success rate of a meagre 51%.

As well as dealing a death-blow to the image of conscientious British drivers, the results have done little to help the image of younger drivers, with those in the 18-34 year old bracket averaging the lowest score of all at 41%. By contrast, the baby boomer generation (55-64) performed slightly above average with an average score of 48%.

The poll also revealed a marked difference between the sexes, with men scoring roughly 4% higher overall (48% vs. 44%).

I4CH, which specialises in providing cover for the insurance excess imposed by car rental firms, has additionally revealed the top 5 countries they receive the most claims from, with the average claim coming in at £350*. Since 2011, I4CH have paid over £2million in claims, with the highest paid claims made in Italy (£280,000 worth) and in Spain (£191,000).

Country Number Of Claims
UK 916
Italy 670
Spain 613
France 509
Portugal 395

Commenting on the research, Lauren Mason, from I4CH, said: “These findings highlight just how foreign the experience of driving abroad can be for UK motorists. Whether it’s driving on the wrong side of the road, following different rules or just obeying a different set of signs, it can all add to the hassle of driving a car abroad. This is a clear reminder for British drivers to be as prepared as possible and anyone in doubt about the scope of their insurance policy should consider how covering their excess through I4CH can provide total peace of mind when hiring a car.”

Some other highlights from the research revealed:

Fig.1 Fig.2 Fig.3
Road -sign -1 Road sign - 2 Road sign - 3

Please take a look at the article as published by the Telegraph.

* Correct as of July 2014 since 2011

Notes to Editors

About the research

Findings based on a ‘Springboard UK’ survey of 2,000 people respondents aged over 18 holding a valid UK driver’s licence The study was conducted between August 8th – 12th, 2014.

About I4CH

Insurance4carhire is the UK’s longest running online car hire excess insurance specialist and part of Towergate, the largest independently owned insurance intermediary in Europe.

Founded in 2002, Insurance4carhire is an innovative online excess insurance provider whose core business is the provision of car rental excess insurance, providing a low cost alternative to the expensive Excess waiver charges offered by car rental companies.

Born out of the high costs being charged by the car rental companies for excess cover Insurance4carhire strives to bring customers annual excess insurance products that offer customers a real ‘safety net’. Enhanced policies provide customers with convenience, peace of mind and significant savings when they rent cars.

Insurance4carhire is recommended through Which?, the Times ‘Best Travel websites’ and has won awards throughout the last decade. With the accolade of “World’s Leading Innovative Ecommerce Travel Product” from The World Travel Awards, Insurance4carhire is credited for their continued support of the money saving traveller.

About Towergate

The Towergate Group strategy is to be the UK’s largest distributor and underwriter of specialist personal and SME insurance.

Launched in 1997, Towergate is one of the UK’s largest independently owned insurance intermediaries, generating more than £3 billion of pro forma gross written premium across its companies and employing over 5,000 people across 100+ UK offices.

Towergate is an important distribution channel for a significant range of insurance products and a key strategic partner for the UK’s largest insurers.

Towergate’s scale, customer insight and distribution relationships make it a unique business and a leader in the markets in which it operates. Its combination of distribution and underwriting gives it unparalleled consumer data and market insight.

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