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Motorists alerted on driving abroad

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Research has revealed that UK motorists driving abroad are at their most vulnerable 60 minutes after they begin their first car journey in a foreign country.

The study, produced for the Foreign Office (FO), examined the problems - such as driving on the wrong side of the road, unfamiliarity with a rented vehicle and driver fatigue - faced by British motorists faced when driving abroad.

Professor Geoff Beattie, of Manchester University, who produced the research, said these factors were highest during the 60-minute period.

"Our brains need time to adjust to a number of factors for even routine tasks such as driving, so this research should be food for thought for anyone planning to drive abroad, and especially those planning to ride mopeds or motorbikes which have an even greater risk of accident," he said.

FO research also showed that a fourth of young, independent travellers confessed to driving or being the passenger of a moped or quad bike when abroad without having checked if they were covered by their insurance policy.

Head of FO's Know Before You Go campaign, Jess Prasad, said tourists were "three times more likely to be involved in road accidents than locals" and urged them to check local driving laws and their travel insurance before getting behind the wheel."

© Press Association 2010