Want to watch some of the hardest motor racing events ever? Take a look at these
The most dangerous roads in Europe
Driving abroad is fast becoming the most dangerous part of a holiday maker’s trip according to the RAC Foundation, which is hoping to increase driver awareness on foreign roads during National Motorway Month.
Sadly fatal accidents such as the ones which befell three British tourists in Menorca last month are becoming more common. The Channel Tunnel and ferry systems carry three million British motorists to the continent every year, while even more hire a car after they arrive. According to Eurostat, in Europe as a whole, 57.3% of holiday trips are made by car.
National Motorway Month
image © Reuters
The Euro Tunnel has increased the number of British drivers abroad
During the next four weeks National Motorway Month campaigners are urging motorists to avoid the pitfalls which often affect them while on holiday. It can be all too easy to slip into holiday mode, and consign oneself to a more relaxed, less inhibited style of driving. Add unfamiliar foreign motoring laws to reduced vigilance and the risk of accident can be substantially increased
Death rates on the roads in Greece are five times greater than death rates in the UK, while UK motorists who drive to Spain or Portugal are three times more likely to be involved in a fatal accident than at home. The Top five EU holiday destinations with the most dangerous roads are as follows (in ascending order):
- Ireland (Eire)
During National Motorway Month the RAC Foundation, the Institute of Advanced Motorists, the Freight Transport Association and BSM Driving Schools are appealing for motorists to take greater care on Europe’s roads. Furthermore, they are stressing the importance of reducing risk by using motorways instead of main roads.
The risk of being involved in a fatality on Greek motorways falls to twice that of being killed at home in the UK. Mile-for-mile, motorways in Spain and Portugal are actually safer than our own. Across the EU, just of 8% fatal accidents occur on the motorway network.
Image © REUTERS/Rubra
Dangers to British motorists can take many forms
Error processing rich text. If a feed, please verify the feed is proper xhtml strict rich text.
So to help lower that risk factor we face while driving abroad, how about knowing a few facts on how drivers in other countries behave on their native roads.
- British motorists are the most uptight in Europe, with 87% agreeing that they are sometimes very annoyed by other drivers. Belgian drivers are the most laid-back, with just 55% annoyed by other people’s driving.
- French motorists top the road-rage league table, with 60% admitting that they have behaved aggressively to other road users.
- German road-ragers are most likely to flash their headlights and tailgate, while UK motorists stick to hand signals. Greek motorists are the most likely to offer a few words of advice.
- Italian drivers are most annoyed by motorists using their mobile phones; while Greek motorists are most annoyed by last-minute lane changers.
- In France, a motorist flashing his lights at a junction is not inviting you to pull out – he is warning that he intends to come through and is asking you to give way to him.
The RAC Foundation is also reminding motorists to stay on the right side of the law when travelling abroad as well as the right side of the road:
image © Reuters
RAC encourage British drivers abroad to stick to motorways
- Speed limit: lower motorway speed limits apply to inexperienced and young drivers in France, Portugal and Luxembourg. Lower limits also apply in wet weather in Italy and France. In Italy, cars and motorcycles with small engines are limited to 68 mph on the expressway.
- Holiday wardrobe: Italy, Spain, Portugal, Austria and Croatia, require motorists to carry a hi-visibility jacket or waistcoat to put on if the car breaks down. Myopic motorists in Spain and Switzerland must always shave a spare pare of spectacles in the car.
- Holiday reading: Most European countries insist that motorists carry a driving license and insurance documents in the car. If driving a rental car, check the small print – many contracts prohibit drivers from taking rented vehicles into eastern European countries.
- One for the road: alcohol limits in most European countries are much stricter than the UK’s. In eastern European countries like Hungary and Slovakia, the limit is zero.
- Holiday money: On-the-spot fines are taken in many European countries. Police can escort the driver to a cash point if necessary, or may even confiscate the car until the fine is paid. French police can collect up to 375 Euros at the roadside, or confiscate the driver’s license if they were speeding at 20% above the limit. Italian police can collect one-fourth of the maximum fine on the spot as a deposit. In Spain, police will require 100% of the fine unless the driver can present a Spanish bail bond or an address of a Spanish friend or company who will guarantee payment of the fine.
Laws you didn’t know you could break on holiday:
©EMPICS Sports Photo Agency
Foreign signs can confuse holiday makers
- In Germany it is illegal to run out of petrol on the autobahn, and an on-the-spot fine will be levied.
- In Belgium, it is illegal to use cruise control in heavy motorway traffic.
- Don’t take your speed camera detector to France. Simply having one in the car, regardless of whether it works on GPS or radar signals, is an offence.
- In Greece, you may not carry a petrol can in the car.
- German motorists follow the "zipper law" - If traffic starts queuing where two lanes merge into one, the Reissverschluss law applies. It means vehicles from each lane must give way one at a time.
related stories on msn
Latest Cars videos
Engineers are using robots to test Ford vehicles through some of the most strenuous obstacles in the industry.
Date 18/06/13, Duration 2:20, Views 383