While there are quite a few driving laws to be aware of when behind the wheel of a vehicle within the UK, there are other road laws only enforced in foreign countries which the UK could really benefit from having as well. VW dealer Vindis explains more…
The case for carrying an additional pair of prescription glasses
Currently enforced in: Spain
If you drive in Spain and need to use prescription glasses to get from A to B, it’s the law to carry an additional pair of glasses in your vehicle. Fail to show a spare pair and you could be penalised with a small fine.
The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) suggests that there are more than two million people in the UK living with sight loss. The RNIB predicts that this number will surpass 2.7 million people by 2030 before hitting close to four million by 2050.
It must be highlighted that measures are enforced by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) in relation to driving and sight loss. 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.
There are still some worrying aspects regarding this topic despite what we’ve mentioned above. 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. 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,” the Association of Optometrists’ clinical adviser Trevor Warburton stated in Optometry Today.
The case for it be compulsory to drive on the snow only with snow chains or winter tyres
Currently enforced in: Italy
Motorists in parts of Italy where it’s snowing will only be able to drive if their vehicles have been fitted with either snow chains or winter tyres. 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.
However, the widespread problems caused by the Beast from the East in 2018 may change our attitudes about this ruling. 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.
According to Continental Tyres when taking a more general look at this topic, 6,393 more accidents involving a car occur on roads throughout the UK in the winter in comparison to those recorded in the summer. Despite these findings, 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.
“Switching to an all-season tyre could well be the solution for Britain’s drivers unwilling to commit to pure winter tyres,” points out Falken’s UK director Matt Smith as an alternative solution. “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.”
The case to be fined due to bouts of road rage
Currently enforced in: Cyprus
A large fine could be the result of you giving another driver a rude gesture with your hands or waving a fist at them in anger when driving in Cyprus. The law is linked to motorists being penalised if they unnecessarily raise a hand from their steering wheel while on the road.
The UK seems to have so many instances of road rage. 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.
Road rage has also been looked at in depth by the Accident Advice Helpline. 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.
The Accident Advice Helpline’s David Carter pointed out: “It’s very easy to get frustrated while driving — it happens to nearly all of us at some point. 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.”
The case for carrying a breathalyser kit in cars
Currently enforced in: France
Don’t forget to pack your breathalyser kit in your vehicle or motorcycle when planning to drive in France. 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.
It shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise if this same road law was eventually introduced throughout the UK. This is especially after 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.
Morning-after drink-drivers may also fall in number if breathalyser kits had to be placed within their vehicles at all times. This is 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.
Speaking to the BBC, the AA’s president Edmund King acknowledged: “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. 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.”
The case for having a ‘colour coding’ system to fight back against major congestion
Currently enforced in: Manila, the Philippines
Do you have a holiday in the Philippines planned and hoping to rent a vehicle so that you can get around the capital city Manila’s metro area? 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.
There surely wouldn’t be much opposition if action was taken to fight against congestion throughout 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.
Direct costs were analysed as part of INRIX’s research. 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.
INRIX’s Chief Economist Dr. Graham Cookson noted: “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.
“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.”