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Do I Need to Worry About Driving Abroad?

For many of the 4.2 million travellers choosing to drive in Europe, as opposed to public transport, being behind the wheel offers a sense of freedom to explore the foreign land and take matters into their own hands. But with a rise in road traffic accidents abroad, is the cause for concern greater than that of UK roads?

The latest statistics from the Global Status Report on Road Safety state that there are 1.24 million deaths as a result of road traffic accidents around the world each year, with current trends suggesting that, by 2030, road traffic accidents will move from the eighth to the fifth leading cause of fatalities around the world.

But what does this mean, relative to taking a trip abroad? Such statistics are scary and impersonal and, whereas road conditions and laws change from country to country, consideration for your safety and others’ translates around the world.

A study from the RAC, revealed that UK drivers’ biggest fears of driving in a foreign country are as follows:

  • 59% were afraid of driving on the opposite side of the road;
  • 50% were put off by being unable to understand different traffic signs;
  • 47% were scared by different rules of the road;
  • 32% were worried about getting lost;
  • 32% were nervous about language barriers.

As well as the above, many Brits are concerned about how to get roadside assistance, the cost of repairs and dealing with foreign mechanics.

Mostly, these concerns can be addressed and reinforced by minor preparations before your trip, in doing a little bit of homework on any changes in the law.

It is not entirely surprising that drivers’ greatest fears are of driving on the other side of the road. With everything reversed and drivers required to think in opposites, foreign roads can feel daunting – as if learning to drive all over again. Further to this is the a fear of different rules of the road, which perhaps we take for granted in their designs to keep us safe when driving.

Driving in other countries needn’t be a daunting experience. UK driving schools now offer special lessons in which you can practice thinking in opposites on the road. In preparation for driving overseas, it is important that you look up the differences in the laws on the roads where you’re headed.

The RAC study revealed that 43% of British travellers said that they did not research the driving laws of the places they were headed before taking to the foreign roads, with a further 6% admitting they did no pre-road trip research.

More than one in 10 British drivers also admitted that they did not keep an eye on their alcohol limits whilst on holiday, and 17% of UK motorists have risked problems with local authorities by driving without adequate research.

Driving abroad should be treated with the same caution and consideration for safety as at home. In fact, statistically, many road traffic accidents occur on familiar roads when a driver’s awareness is lowered due to the comfort of routine. Our advice is straightforward: if you’re planning to drive abroad, ensure that you have all the documentation that is required, and take the time to look up the laws.

See our blog on tips for driving abroad on the other side of the road here.

Claiming Compensation Following an Overseas Road Traffic Accident

Many people assume that a road traffic accident abroad claim is not possible, but if you are injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault whilst overseas you may be entitled to bring your claim here, in the Courts of England and Wales.

To increase your chances of an overseas road traffic accident compensation claim you should:

  • try to collect as much evidence as possible, including photos of the site and damage;
  • making a written account as soon as possible will also help in case you can’t remember later;
  • collecting contact details may prove difficult if you speak a different language but, if possible, it is important to exchange details with the people involved in the accident, along with contact information of any witnesses to support your claim.

Slater and Gordon Lawyers have extensive experience in pursuing claims for people injured in an accident on holiday.

If you or a member of your family was injured in a road traffic accident overseas, Slater and Gordon No Win, No Fee Solicitors can help you with your claim for compensation. Call us on freephone 0800 916 9046, from abroad on +44 20 7657 155, or contact us online.

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