UK drivers targeted abroadOver-55s most likely to face problems, says FCO

10 July 2008

Cars on road

The cover needed depends on how you use your car

Two thirds of British drivers abroad are likely to get into difficulties this summer, according to the Foreign Office (FCO).

Such difficulties include being targeted by criminals, which is becoming increasingly common, according to the FCO. 

Each year, 8 million UK residents drive in a foreign country, but the research shows that over-55s are the most likely to encounter problems.

Getting lost

Some get badly lost, or drive on the wrong side of the road or are the victim of distraction robbery after being flagged down in a false emergency.

Launching its Steer Clear of Trouble on Foreign Roads campaign, the FCO said tourists are three times more likely to be involved in a road accident than a local driver.

The research revealed a UK resident is twice as likely to die on a road in Spain or in the USA as at home, and three times more likely to die in Greece than in the UK.

Driving licence

Many travellers were also setting off totally unprepared with less than half remembering to take their driving licence and car registration documents..

Nearly eight out of 10 don’t carry telephone numbers for local emergency or breakdown service and the local British Consulate.

Pamela Deegan vice-consul in Lille, France, said: ‘The majority of Brits driving from the UK to the continent drive through northern France and many of the accidents we deal with are caused by driver fatigue, drink-driving, speeding and driving on the wrong side of the road.’

Insurance

The FCO has produced a checklist for drivers:

  • familiarise yourself with the driving laws of the country you are visiting
  • check you have the proper documentation with you before you travel, such as insurance details
  • drive defensively and expect the unexpected
  • take regular breaks and don’t obscure the view out of your back window
  • have a GB sticker clearly visible on the back of your car if your number plate doesn’t include this information.