Should these road laws seen across the world be used in the UK?

Car Dealer

Brits have several road laws to already consider when driving throughout the UK. However, Volkswagen dealership Vindis queries whether the following driving laws, which are already in place within countries across the globe, should be added to the UK’s Highway Code for the benefit of motorists and the nation’s general population…

Fines for road rage, like in Cyprus

Have you ever waved a fist at another driver in a bout of anger, or perhaps made a rude gesture to them using your hands? Do any of these in Cyprus and you could be hit with a large fine. The law is linked to motorists being penalised if they unnecessarily raise a hand from their steering wheel while on the road.

Road rage is frequently seen across the UK, it seems. According to a poll carried out by Tyreshopper.co.uk and involving 2,000 UK motorists, 61 per cent of respondents said they had fallen victim to either a verbal or a physical attack during a 12-month period. The same survey also established that one in five motorists were left too scared to get back behind the wheel after the ordeal.

The Accident Advice Helpline has also looked into road rage quite comprehensively. 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.

“It’s very easy to get frustrated while driving — it happens to nearly all of us at some point,” commented David Carter, of the Accident Advice Helpline. “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.”

Always carry abreathalyser kit in cars, like in France

You will not want to forget your breathalyser kit if you’re travelling across France by either driving a motorcycle of four-wheeled vehicle. 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.

Don’t be too shocked if this driving law came to the UK in some form. This is because the Department for Transport reported that around 9,040 people were injured or killed on roads across Britain in 2016 after being involved in incidents where a driver was found to be over the alcohol limit to be behind the wheel.

Place breathalyser kits in every vehicle and we could also see a reduction in the number of morning-after drink-drivers. This is important after a survey commissioned by the AA involving close to 20,000 motorists suggested that one in five motorists had driven the morning after drinking during the previous day — despite the drivers being aware they may still be over the drink-drive limit.

“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,” commented Edmund King, the President of the AA, to the BBC.“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.”

Compulsory to drive on the snow only with snow chains or winter tyres, like in Italy

When it snows in an area of Italy, drivers will only be allowed to use their vehicles within the affected region once it’s been fitted with winter tyres or snow chains. Fail to follow this law and a driver can expect to be slapped with a fine if caught by the authorities. Neither of these items are obligatory when the wintry weather hits across the UK.

Can you remember the widespread problems caused when the Beast from the East arrived in the UK in 2018 though? When blizzard conditions swept the nation at the end of February and into March, traffic came to a halt for several hours on the M80 between Glasgow and Stirling, various parts of the A1 were closed several times, and thousands of drivers were left stranded on roads throughout the UK.

There are also 6,393 more accidents recorded whichinvolved a car in the UK during winter when compared to those which occurred throughout the summer months, if the findings of Continental Tyres are anything to go by. Despite these figures, a poll carried out by Falken tyres found that a quarter of drivers refused to invest in a set of winter tyres due to the cost being too high in their opinion and 19 per cent said they couldn’t be bothered with the hassle of changing their tyres.

Matt Smith, who is the UK Director of Falken, has provided drivers with an alternative solution: “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.”

Combat major congestion using a ‘colour coding’ system, like in Manila, the Philippines

About to enjoy an incredible holiday in the Philippines and have your mind set on renting a vehicle in order to navigate the metro area of the country’s capital, Manila? If so, you’ll want to top up your knowledge on the district’s ‘colour coding’ system. Introduced as a measure to prevent major congestion throughout Manila, the law is linked to the final digit of a vehicle’s number plate. There are a few regulations in place, such as vehicles with a number plate ending in the number 1 or 2 being restricted from driving in Manila’s metro area between 7am and 7pm on Mondays.

We can’t imagine the opposition being too fierce against something that will aim to combat congestion across the UK. After all, a study conducted by traffic data firm INRIX has suggested that the UK is currently the 10th most congested country across the globe and that London is the second most gridlocked city in Europe, behind only Moscow.

The research by INRIX involved the analysis of direct costs. This included wasted fuel and time being examined, as well as looking into indirect consequences like the higher prices being charged for household goods because of increased freight fees. From this data, the organisation calculated that drivers in the UK wasted 31 hours last year when they were stuck in rush-hour traffic — at a cost of £1,168 per motorist.

“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,” points out Dr. Graham Cookson, the Chief Economist at INRIX.

“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.”

Always carry an extra pair of prescription glasses, like in Spain

A ruling is in place across Spain that states that motorists who require prescription glasses to drive must carry an extra pair of glasses in their vehicle. Fail to show a spare pair and you could be penalised with a small fine.

There’s over two million people across the UK currently living with sight loss, figures from the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) suggest. The RNIB predicts that this number will surpass 2.7 million people by 2030 before hitting close to four million by 2050.

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) does enforce measures related to driving and sight loss, it has to be said. You can find full details about the parameters here. Furthermore, figures which were released to Optometry Today following a Freedom of Information request revealed that the DVLA had either revoked or refused 42,519 car and motorcycle licences 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.

While these figures will help to ease some concerns, there are still a few worries related to driving and sight loss across the UK currently. According to a survey carried out by road safety charity Brake, for instance, a quarter of drivers in the UK haven’t had a vision test in the past two years from when the poll was conducted. What’s more, four per cent of respondents had never had their eyes tested.

“In the UK, there is currently no requirement for drivers to have regular sight tests,” noted Trevor Warburton, a Clinical Adviser at the Association of Optometrists, to Optometry Today. “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.”

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