Dangers of foreign drivers on wrong side of the road

Part of the North Coast 500

Accidents involving a vehicle travelling on the wrong side of the road are becoming far too common and this is a particular issue in the North of Scotland on roads such as the A9, as it forms part of the North Coast 500, a stretch of road billed as Scotland’s answer to Route 66.

The A9 has been renowned as one of the most dangerous roads to travel on in Scotland. Since 2013, there has been an average of four deaths per year on this road with many more people seriously injured.

Earlier this summer, Road Safety Scotland set up a campaign to remind drivers from other countries to ‘Keep Left’ after inexperience of driving on the left hand side of the road was a contributory factor in 65 road accidents in 2017.

The campaign is looking to target foreign drivers by providing them with a wristband reminding them to drive on the left in several different languages. The campaign has the backing of Police Scotland and local rental companies.

At Digby Brown, we have also acted for people injured in crashes where a driver has driven on the wrong side of the road and caused an accident.

Our Inverness office recently acted for a man who was hit by a driver on the wrong side of the road when he was travelling to work along the A9. As he came over a dip in the road, he was met by another vehicle coming towards him He tried to swerve but unfortunately was unable to avoid the head on collision.

Our client was taken to hospital by ambulance. He had injuries to his neck, back and shoulders and was kept in hospital overnight as the staff had concerns about a potential head injury.

As a result of the accident, he was unable to work for two weeks and needed help from his family with everyday tasks. Whilst his employers did pay him for the time he needed off work, he lost out on his shift allowance, which made up 10% of his monthly salary.

We raised the case and were able to persuade the Insurers that liability was very clear in this case and they confirmed that their driver was liable for the accident, and they were therefore required to pay compensation to our client.

"Following my accident, I would certainly back any initiatives by Road Safety Scotland and others to combat the problem with road users driving on the right hand side of the road, especially in the summer months."

The case highlights both the dangers of the A9 and the dangers of inexperience as a factor in the cause of accidents.

Many drivers travelling that far north are not familiar with the roads and a simple lapse of concentration can have very real consequences.