Wednesday 9 October 2013

Drivers are at risk of falling foul of overseas laws

The autumn edition of Living Spain magazine arrived today and it includes in the Latest News an item saying that British motorists are at risk of breaking any number of motoring laws when they are driving outside the country.  

According to a survey carried out by colinappleyard.com  that many drivers are unaware of speed limits, as well as other vital regulations such as mandatory safety equipment.

New powers mean that police in other countries can enforce on the spot fines to motorists instead of transferring the offence in question back to the UK.

The Colin Appleyard survey included the following statistics:

  •  98 per cent didn't know that the law in France and Spain states that there is a spare set of light bulbs in the car.
  • 95 per cent of drivers did not know it is illegal to drive in France with a satnav that shows the location of speed cameras. (There are more and more speed cameras being installed in France, not quite the number as back in Britain, however many new ones no longer have roadside warning signs)
  • 94 per cent of drivers did not know that you have to carry a breathalyser in France.( however try and buy one there, well that is a different matter - See Riviera Reporter Forum .  It appears they are hard to get hold of unless you are buying them on a cross channel ferry or an outlet like Halfords in Britain)
  • 82 per cent of drivers did not know local speed limit, or were unable to convert them into miles per hour. ( Surely most cars for the UK market still have speeds shown in mph and km/h? It is harder for a driver from mainland Europe or the Republic of Ireland visiting Northern Ireland or other parts of Britain as those cars will only have a speedo in km/h)
  • 35 per cent of drivers were unaware that headlights convertors are required by law in countries that drive on the right hand side in Europe. 
  •  18 per cent did not know that reflective jackets are required in many European countries in case of a roadside breakdown - What is more in some countries you have to have one for each passenger and the jacket must be carried in the main part of the car with a warning jacket, not in the boot.
  • 6 per cent were unaware that a GB sticker or a Europlate registration is compulsory. If all the UK registration number plates were identical having the Euro flag on them as they do in so many other European countries, people would not have to buy unsightly stick on GB signs for their vehicles.
  • 1 per cent  of those surveyed did not know to drive on the right in mainland continental Europe. (sounds rather scary!) and 20 per cent said they had accidentally driven on the wrong side of the road. 
Commenting on the results of their survey, Robin Appleyard  said " As most drivers heading for the continent make landfall in France, it's a shame that there's so much confusion over the local driving laws there. While you probably won't be fined for not having a breathalyser, the fine for having a speed camera enabled satnav can be an eye-watering €1,500. Drive safely and study local driving laws before you go" (Source Living Spain October 2013)

At the insurance4carrental.com website we have set up guides for driving in some 38 countries worldwide including the UK. 

So if you are thinking of driving (including hiring a vehicle) then it is well worth finding out information in advance as Robin Appleyard suggests and one source are the Driving Guides at the insurance4carrental site here.   

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