The reopening of the British travel and hospitality sectors is welcome news for both the economy and holidaymakers alike. And although many destinations abroad have started to reopen their borders to international travellers, a recent Tempcover survey has found that many Brits have chosen to holiday at home in the wake of the travel pandemonium caused by Covid19.
In fact, more than half (52%) of respondents said that they are still not entirely comfortable using air travel. In contrast, almost eight in ten (79%) said they would opt to use their vehicle as the primary means of travel for their holiday this summer.
The vast majority (82%) of those surveyed said that they are planning to travel on the road at least 100 miles each way to and from their holiday destination, with 28% opting to travel up to 500 miles each way and nearly one in five (18%) being prepared to rack up more than 500 miles each way.
The potentially dangerous habits drivers are unaware of
These findings indicate that there will be more cars on the road that will be clocking additional mileage over extended journeys this summer. Given that many motorists are out of practice following three months of extremely limited vehicle use, safety awareness is more important than ever before.
Worryingly, less than one in ten (9%) motorists are aware that using a triangle when broken down on the hard shoulder of a motorway endangers them and their passengers. More than three quarters (77%) wrongly believe that it is the safest thing to do.
Nick Lloyd, Head of Road Safety at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) warns against this. “Walking on the hard shoulder, or in potentially live traffic if it is a smart motorway, is extremely dangerous. If you are unfortunate enough to break down, park the vehicle as far away from live traffic as possible, switch on your hazard warning lights and exit the vehicle from the passenger side, away from live traffic, and stand on the other side of the barrier. Call Highways England and inform the operator that you’ve broken down and let them know your location so that breakdown recovery can be arranged, along with traffic lane closures if on a smart motorway.”
Another negative trend is drivers spending too much time on the road before taking a break. The survey revealed that under four in ten (38%) motorists abide by the Highway Code’s recommendation to not drive more than two hours without taking 15-minute break. In fact, an almost identical amount (37%) stop every three hours while almost a fifth (18%) wait four hours or more.
Lloyd estimates that fatigue may be a contributory factor in up to 20% of road accidents, and up to one quarter of fatal and serious accidents. “The importance of planning your journey to enable you to take a minimum break of at least 15 minutes after every two hours of driving cannot be stressed enough. It’s better to arrive 15 minutes later than risk the lives of you and your family,” he says.
Beware the small print and loopholes on some annual car insurance policies
Another essential aspect of road safety is vehicle insurance cover. Just under half (48%) of motorists plan to share the driving on-route to their local summer destination but as many as half may not be fully covered to do so – often without even realising it.
Over a quarter (27%) stated that they do not add an additional driver to their vehicle policy because they believe that it is covered by the additional drivers’ own policy. Tempcover CEO Alan Inskip warns that annual insurance policies are becoming increasingly restrictive in terms of covering additional drivers and, beyond a small sentence on the certificate of insurance, there is very little in the way of specific information for drivers to find out whether they would be covered to drive another car.
“The onus is increasingly being put on drivers to find and interpret their individual policy wording before getting behind the wheel of another car. While you’re unlikely to find out if you are covered to drive other cars under your policy before buying it, what you can find, if you search hard enough, is the growing number of restrictions that insurers are putting on the clause. This means that if you were to drive a friend or family member’s vehicle and had an accident, you and the vehicle owner could be left with a huge repair bill for the car, and you’d lose your No Claims Discount,” he says.
Another 23% admitted that they do not add the additional driver to their own annual policy because it is too much of a hassle or cost for such a short period of time. “It’s not just accidents drivers need to worry about. If you are not insured to drive another car and you’re stopped by the police, you could get 6-8 penalty points on your licence, a possible 6-12-month disqualification from driving and an unlimited fine depending on the seriousness of the offence,” Inskip adds.
A temporary solution to a temporary situation
Temporary vehicle insurance is a largely-unknown solution that can be used as an alternative or to complement annual insurance. Provided the vehicle is taxed, policies can be taken out for any duration between 1-hour to 28-days, making temporary insurance ideal for holiday trips when the driving is being shared. Unlike many standard annual policies, temporary vehicle insurance gives the covered driver the same level of comprehensive insurance but for a duration that works specifically for them.
Inskip explains that it works in the same way that standard insurance does except there are no long-term contracts. “Once the chosen policy duration time is over, it won’t automatically renew, the policy simply expires. The covered driver will receive a reminder when the policy is due to expire so they can quickly and easily purchase more short-term cover if they need it. An added benefit is that there’s no risk to any existing No Claims Discount, as it’s a separate and standalone policy.”
Just one in seven (14%) said that they are planning to cover additional drivers with a temporary vehicle insurance policy this summer. However, when asked if they believe that temporary vehicle insurance could benefit them for a long UK road journey this summer, 50% said yes with another 20% undecided.
How to get temporary vehicle cover
Download the Tempcover app on Google Play or iOS App Store for the best experience and most competitive prices. Alternatively, visit www.tempcover.com, enter your vehicle reg plate, choose the policy duration and answer a few short personal details to get your quote within 90 seconds.