Going On Le Grand Tour This Summer?

Wed 31st Jul 2019

While thousands of British drivers will be tackling ‘Frantic Friday’ and ‘Black Saturday’ this weekend, a leading motoring organisation has warned against being behind the wheel for too long.

The Highway Code may advise drivers to rest for 15 minutes every two hours, but according to a study by RAC Europe almost a third of motorists have driven through Europe non-stop for more than five hours - that’s half an hour longer than those who drive for a living are legally allowed behind the wheel.

The study also reveals that 90 per cent of drivers have driven for more than three hours without stopping.

Millions of drivers are expected to be on French roads this weekend, many of them from the UK as ‘Frantic Friday’ is followed by ‘Black Saturday’.

Rod Dennis, spokesman for RAC Europe, said: "This Saturday is declared a ‘Black Saturday’ or ‘un Samedi noir’ in France, and for good reason – widespread queues are expected as millions of holidaymakers head south and west in search of the sun, with a good number of these starting their journeys this side of the Channel.

"With long traffic jams inevitable, it’s vitally important UK drivers plan, but also pace their journeys.

"Worryingly, these new figures show just how few of us are prepared to do that.

"Perhaps it’s a desire to get to our holiday destinations as quickly as possible that means we continue to drive on, or maybe we’re not leaving ourselves enough time to reach the French ferry terminals on our journeys home – but whatever the reason, driving for so long in one go means we’re severely increasing the risk of causing a collision.

“Despite the ease at which modern vehicles allow us to clock up the miles (or kilometres) in relative comfort, it’s still the case that driving is an extremely demanding task – all the more so if you are getting used to foreign roads, and foreign drivers.

So taking a proper break is essential – it doesn’t need to be a long one, but having a rest (even a short nap) and drinking two cups of caffeinated coffee as recommended in the Highway Code can keep you safe and alert."