Expats Drive Into Trouble Because They Can’t Read Road Signs


Brits abroad are a danger on foreign roads because they do not understand the traffic signs.

New research claims that although nearly two thirds of British expats and holidaymakers have got behind the wheel of a car while overseas, three out of four drive blind because they have no idea what road signs are trying to tell them.

The result is these drivers have triggered nearly a million road accidents that could have been avoided.

Besides being involved in the 860,000 traffic accidents, almost a quarter of drivers confessed they had taken a wrong turn because they were confused by foreign road signs.

A fifth confessed they turned down a road where they did not want to go.

Victims of abuse

One in 10 drivers were the victims of abuse from other road users who shouted at them.

A similar number of drivers admitted failing to understand directions and road signs sparked rows with their passengers.

The study, by Co- Insurance, revealed 46% of British drivers find following road signs the most stressful Op part of travelling abroad.

The problem is such a headache for many Brits abroad that they refuse to get behind the wheel for fear of having an accident or an argument, says the research.

Because of the study, the insurer is urging expats and motorists to brush up on the rules of the road in the country where they intend to drive.

Rules of the road

Nick Ansley, head of motor insurance at the Co-op said: “Familiarising yourself with road signs before you drive abroad is incredibly important. As the figures show many British drivers are having crashes on holiday turning what should be a relaxing time of year into a stressful one.

“Ten minutes brushing up on the road signs of the country you are visiting could stop a lot of stress and worry for you and other road users in the long run.”

He suggests five rules for driving overseas:

  • Check out the traffic laws in each country you plan to drive through
  • Make sure you understand the difference between miles and kilometres an hour to keep in speed limits
  • Wear the right footwear to drive in – never wear flip-flops
  • Check your sat-nav is up-to-date for where you intend to go
  • Keep your driving documents in the car

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