Different road laws across the globe — and why they should be introduced to the UK

If you’re planning a trip abroad and are planning on getting behind the wheel of a car there, you need to make sure you know the road laws of the country. However, could Brits benefit from some of the road laws seen across the globe being introduced onto UK roads?

Carry a breathalyser kit in the vehicle at all times

Enforced in: France

Planning a trip across France? You’ll have to remember that a breathalyser kit needs to be in the vehicle at all times – including motorcycles. The devices are there so that motorists can check whether or not they are exceeding the drink-drive limit.

There are several penalties in place if a motorist is caught drink-driving in the UK. A guilty party can expect a hefty fine, a ban from driving, and possibly even imprisonment.

The Department of Transport reported around 9,040 people had been killed or injured on British roads in 2016, after being involved in incidents where a driver was found to be over the alcohol limit to be behind the wheel. Meaning there’d probably be very little resistance to British motorists carrying breathalyser kits.

Carrying these kits could result in a drop in morning-after drink drivers as well. This is after an AA survey involving close to 20,000 motorists that 1 in 5 had driven the morning after drinking the previous day, despite the drivers being aware they may still be over the drink-drive limit.

Edmund King, the president of the AA, pointed out to the BBC: “I think people have kind of got the message when they go out in the evening, so they’ll book a taxi or they’ll have a designated driver and they’ll be responsible. But once they get home, they go to bed, they have some sleep, and then they kind of think well I’m OK, it’s the next day.

“So, they’re not equating the next day with what they’ve actually drunk and the problem is if you really have had a lot to drink, your body can only really break down one unit of alcohol per hour…it is relatively easy to be over the limit the next day.”

Road rage fines

Enforced in: Cyprus

Rude gestures or waving fists at other drivers in anger in Cyprus could leave you with a large fine on your hands. This law is enforced when it’s felt that a motorist is unnecessarily raising their hands from the steering wheel while on the road.

Road rage in the UK is something a lot of people have probably fallen victim to, a poll carried out by Typreshopper.co.uk showed that of the 2,000 people involved, 61% of them had been a victim of verbal or physical abuse during a 12 month period. The same exact survey also brought to light that 1 in 5 motorists were left too scared to get back behind the wheel after the encounter.

The Accident Advice Helpline looked into the road rage themselves and did some research in which they recorded that the average road-related bout of anger across the UK will only last for a few seconds but can take over four minutes for the driver to calm down entirely.

David Carter, from the Accident Advice Helpline, commented: “It’s very easy to get frustrated while driving — it happens to nearly all of us at some point. But road rage can end up being really dangerous. If you experience a bout of road rage, you may end up driving more erratically than whoever annoyed you in the first place.”

Carrying an additional pair of prescription glasses at all times

Enforced in: Spain

If you require prescription glasses to drive while behind the wheel in Spain, it’s required that you carry a spare pair of glasses in your vehicle. Fail to your spare pair could mean you are penalised with a small fine.

According to RNIB over 2 million people live with sight loss in the UK, The RNIB predicts that this number will surpass 2.7 million people by 2030 before hitting close to four million by 2050.

There are measures in place when it comes to the driving and sight loss that the DVLA have, full details on the parameters of it can be found here. Figures released following a freedom of information request to Optometry Today and revealed 42,519 car and motorcycle licences had been revoked or refused by the DVLA between 2012 and 2017 due to poor vision. During the same period, it was also found that 6,739 lorry and bus drivers had lost their licence as a result of their failing eyesight.

There is a cause for concern when you look at the survey carried out by Brake, the road safety charity it shows that in the UK a quarter of drivers in the past 2 years since the poll was conducted had not had a vision test and that 4% of respondents had never had their eyes tested before.

Trevor Warburton, the clinical adviser at the Association of Optometrists, stated to Optometry Today: “In the UK, there is currently no requirement for drivers to have regular sight tests. We believe that compulsory vision screening for all motorists would help ensure that drivers’ vision meets the required standards, significantly reducing the risk of someone having an accident due to their poor vision.”

Fighting major congestion with a ‘colour coding’ system

Enforced in: Manila, the Philippines

If you’re planning to vacation in the Philippines and want to rent a motor so that you’re able to get around the capital Manila then you’ll want to top up your knowledge on the district’s ‘colour coding’ system. The law was introduced to try and help prevent congestion throughout the capital, it’s linked to the final digits on a vehicles number plate. A few regulations are also in place, for example vehicles that have a number plate ending in a 1 or 2 are restricted from driving in the metro area of Manila from 7am until 7pm on Mondays.

A study by INRIX showed that the UK was the 10th most congested country across the globe and that London is the second most gridlocked city in Europe, behind only Moscow, so battling congestion across the UK would no doubt be greeted with a warm welcome.

INRIX did some research which included analysing direct costs, such as wasted time and fuel, they also looked in to consequences that were indirect, such as being charged more for household goods due to freight fees. From the data gathered it was calculated that drivers wasted 31 hours stuck in rush-hour traffic costing a whopping £1,168 per motorist.

Dr. Graham Cookson, the Chief Economist at INRIX, observed: “Combined with the rising price of motoring, the cost of congestion is astonishing — it takes billions out of the economy and impacts businesses and individuals alike.

“With the Office of National Statistics showing more cars on the road than ever before, we need to consider innovative new approaches to solving the issue. Increased flexible working or road charges have potential, however, transport authorities should be looking to exciting developments in data analytics and AI which promise to reinvent our approach to traffic management.”

Only allowed to drive in the snow with snow chains or winter tyres

Enforced in: Italy

In Italy, as soon as snow begins to fall it’s compulsory for motorists to only drive in vehicles which are fitted with snow chains or winter tyres. Fail to follow this law and a driver can expect to be slapped with a fine if caught by the authorities.

Chains and winter tyres are not obligatory for your vehicle when the winter weather hits. With the effects of the beast from the east at the start of 2018, is it time for a change?

Back in February and the start of March when the blizzard conditions swept across the UK,  traffic came to a halt for several hours on the M80 between Glasgow and Stirling, there were numerous parts of the A1 closed several times over, leaving thousands of motorists stranded.

In general though, Continental Tyres has suggested that there are 6,393 more accidents involving cars on UK roads in the winter than those recorded in the summer.

A quarter of drivers refused to buy winter tyres due to cost being too high in their opinion and 19 per cent said they couldn’t be bothered with the hassle of changing their tyres according to a Falken tyres survey.

“Switching to an all-season tyre could well be the solution for Britain’s drivers unwilling to commit to pure winter tyres. With many sizes on offer, it is often possible to find a tyre that fits the standard rims, eliminating the cost and hassle of having an extra set, solving another issue raised in the survey.” Said Matt Smith, the UK director at Falken.

This article was researched and created by Audi Dealership, Vindis.