Fleet News

Drivers eye up football finals

MANY business drivers are considering driving to Germany to support England’s football team as excitement around the World Cup Finals grows.

With the price of air travel ludicrously expensive for those who have yet to book, many football fans will be considering taking the company car over the channel.

Several companies have now issued guidelines and advice to keep fleets safe and legal. Letting drivers take their vehicles abroad need not be a headache even if a fleet manager’s initial reaction to such a request may be to splutter coffee over the computer.

Breakdown cover is essential, as to get roadside assistance in Germany costs an average of £67, according to AA Business Services. Breaking down en route in France could result in a bill of £60 or more and getting a vehicle repatriated could cost between £600 and £1,000.

Liam Donnelly, sales director for leasing company Arval, said: ‘European breakdown cover is a must for foreign travel, but drivers may need to arrange their own as European coverage cannot be assumed.

‘This is the same for paperwork as police or border officials may ask for driving documentation. Fail to produce them and the World Cup experience may be short lived.’

Back home, key paperwork to be procured includes a V103A ‘Vehicle on Hire’ form – the consent agreement signed either by the company or the leasing firm allowing contract hire vehicles to be taken abroad for personal use. Once the vehicle is allowed to be driven abroad, can the employee get behind the wheel?

Donnelly advised: ‘It is worth checking company insurance to ensure appropriate coverage and drivers should also spend a little time studying local traffic laws. Certain European countries have different views than the UK on road safety. For example, in Belgium every car must carry a fire extinguisher and a warning triangle and in Germany every vehicle must have a first aid kit, as well as the obligatory headlight deflectors.’

Spencer King, brand manager for LeasePlan, also had some practical advice.

He said: ‘While these may not be essential, drivers should consider carrying a spare set of keys, a phrase book and, of course, enough money to help in case of emergencies.

‘On arriving at their destination country, drivers must ensure they are familiar with the rules of the road. Local street signs and rights of way may not be as easy to understand as first believed, so extra care should be taken when driving.

‘Drivers should also ensure they abide by all road legislation, in particular, drink-driving laws.’

By following the above advice, fleet operators can ensure their drivers are well prepared to take the company car for a jaunt to the continent. At least until they return three days later when England crash out in the first round…

  • For more tips on driving abroad check out the article our sister website at www.companycardriver.co.uk by clicking here.
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