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What to do if you have an accident abroad

Driving abroad gives you the freedom to truly explore your destination, and to travel between different landmarks or hotels with more convenience. Only a tiny minority of British motorists break down or are involved in accidents abroad, however it pays to be prepared in the event that anything does go wrong

Recent RAC research shows that three in ten UK drivers are concerned about accidents while abroad, but that 13 percent of drivers have travelled abroad without checking their breakdown cover. Our guide shows you what to do in the event of an accident, for those who have breakdown cover, and those who do not. As you'll see, being covered can make things a whole lot easier.

When you break down

If you break down on the motorway, try to get onto the hard shoulder as quickly and safely as possible. If this is not possible, use your hazard warning lights, and only leave the car after checking that it is completely safe to do so.

If the breakdown occurs on a smaller road, move your vehicle to a safe area off the road, and use your hazard warning lights and warning triangle to alert other motorists.

Wherever you break down, and whether or not another car is involved, you should leave your vehicle from the door nearest to the kerb, and lock your door.

If your motor policy includes breakdown cover

Call for assistance, providing details of your location to the police, using your mobile or an emergency phone. The rescue recovery services will then either help you at the roadside, or will take your car for more complicated repairs

If the repairs are not completed during your trip, you will receive a hire car to ensure that you remain mobile throughout your holiday. You may also be offered overnight accommodation, and onward travel.

If your motor policy does not include breakdown cover

When driving abroad you need specific breakdown cover – for example, if you're in France you'll need European Breakdown Cover.

If you are not covered, when an accident occurs you should call for assistance, upon which the police will arrange for you and your car to be taken to a local garage. You'll then have to negotiate the costs for your car to be repaired, and organise how to continue with your journey.