The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has launched a new campaign to help Britons drive safely whilst abroad, by educating them about foreign motoring laws.
The campaign has been launched after FCO staff located abroad reported a surge in the numbers of road accidents befalling UK citizens either on holiday or whilst living abroad.
The campaign highlights the variable safety of foreign roads, citing the example of Thailand, which experiences eight times more deaths from road traffic accidents (RTAs) every year than the UK. RTAs are the second most common cause of death for a UK citizen in Thailand after death from natural causes.
The UK’s Ambassador to Thailand is Mark Kent.
“British nationals using the roads in Thailand should bear in mind that road laws and driving customs here are different from those in the UK and road conditions, driving standards and road traffic regulations can vary,” he said.
“The outcome could be very different with many lives being saved and critical injuries reduced if people adopted the same safety precautions abroad that they would naturally take at home… such as safety helmets”.
As well as placing an emphasis on road safety, the campaign is seeking to inform Britons of the variations in road laws that they may not be aware of. These include the requirement in France for all drivers to carry their own breathalyser kit.
In Scandinavia it is illegal to drive without your headlights on, even during the day, and in Germany it is illegal not to have winter tyres on your vehicle during certain times of the year. In Russia it is illegal to pick up hitchhikers.
The FCO campaign includes an internet ‘tool’ allowing road users to identify the area that they are visiting on a map and click to receive FCO travel advice, AA motoring advice and specific information on driving in a particular region from the AngloInfo website.
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