British drivers ‘often confused by European road signs and traffic laws’

Written by Ellie

British drivers may be running into trouble when travelling to the continent due to an unfamiliarity with foreign road rules.

This is according to a new study from easyJet and Europcar, which questioned around 2,000 British motorists and analysed more than 800 road signs from across eight European countries to identify common gaps in people's understanding.

It was shown that 80 per cent struggle to correctly identify foreign road signs while driving abroad, with 89 per cent of those polled admitting to having little to no understanding of foreign regulations and road signs. Additionally, 87 per cent conduct no research into the local Highway Code in their destination country before embarking on a road trip.

Common problems include difficulties getting used to driving on the right-hand side of the road, which was cited as an issue for 59 per cent of respondents. Meanwhile, 44 per cent said they had problems identifying foreign traffic signs, while 51 per cent cannot understand foreign rules and regulations, and 25 per cent have trouble working out the difference between kilometres and miles per hour.

As such, 72 per cent said they felt apprehensive when driving abroad, while 80 per cent believe they would be unlikely to pass a driving test in another country. For private citizens, this could be a dangerous problem; for those business travellers, it could also represent a significant business risk.

Stuart Cole, professor emeritus of transport at the University of South Wales, said: "Unfamiliar roads can be daunting for Brits travelling abroad due to the lack of expertise in foreign regulations and road signs.

"European laws mean that many rules are similar; however, Brits should take the time to look through the traffic laws and signs of where they're travelling to give them peace of mind to enjoy their trip."

Ellie Baker, brand manager at Fuel Card Services, added: "The conclusions of this report may have been aimed at leisure travellers and holidaymakers, but fleet and business drivers need to pay even closer attention. Otherwise, they could risk causing legal troubles for their companies."

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Posted on 11th June 2018

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