As the low-lying blanket of white cloud cleared, I caught sight of the majestic beauty of the Alps through the window of my plane. Stretching almost endlessly across the horizon, the snow-covered mountain range, separating Southern Europe from Central and Western Europe, took my breath away. I had never seen it before so clear and rich.
Several hours later, I had landed in Pisa, Italy. My first holiday abroad. My partner and I were travelling to Florence for our anniversary. On leaving the airport, on a natural high, the sights and sounds of rustic Pisa hitting me about the face with all the subtly of a jack hammer, I knew we had to get to the Stazione ferroviaria for our journey to Florence and I was happy to walk there, Google maps assuring me it was no more than 15 to 20 minutes away on foot.
My partner was not so keen, certainly not with her 5000kg suitcase. I exaggerate of course but it was stretched at the seams nevertheless. So, we agreed upon flagging down a local taxi driver who got us to the train station in less than five minutes. That was primarily because he seemed to think he was the only vehicle on the road, hitting over 40mph quickly, cutting off numerous vehicles and nearly mowing down countless pedestrians.
I was a little shocked that I felt less safe in the taxi than I did on the plane. And it got me thinking of the accident rate abroad in Europe, versus what we experience here in Britain.
According to the Annual Accident Report 2018 by the European Commission, road traffic accidents in Member States of the European Union claim about 25,600 lives and have left more than 1.4 million people injured since 2016. I found that a fairly shocking statistic.
Throughout our holiday in Florence, I experienced wonders, marvels, sights and sounds as I had never seen before in my life. The beautiful architecture that can be seen on almost every street corner to the astounding Santa Maria Del Fiore and the breath-taking view from the Duomo, the Michelangelo, the Palazza de Pitti, the river Arno with it’s colourful and vibrant Ponte Vecchio. My words do not do it justice. I was out of my element but I fell in love with the place.
Not so much with the general traffic though, cars cutting you up on pedestrian crossings, vans forcing their way down narrow side streets, mopeds nearly hitting numerous toes of the general throngs of the public. It is no wonder that Europe has such a high rate of road traffic collisions in that case.
Looking at the ABTA travel trends report 2019, Europe is apparently the number one destination people wish to visit this year with a particular focus on value-for-money packages. In fact, forward bookings for this summer are up 12% on this time last year with Europe topping the list of places for people to visit over the next six to 12 months. Despite the political uncertainty facing the country, Britons are not letting that get in the away of holidays abroad clearly. I can only see this will sadly lead to an increase road traffic accident statistics also.
Thankfully, my holiday passed without any such event and I took home with me a great many beautiful memories. But, for those of you involved in accidents, here’s a handy checklist to run through should you be less fortunate than me:
- Report the accident immediately to your holiday rep or someone in authority
- Take the details of any witnesses
- Take photographs of the area the accident happened in, and evidence of any damage
- Keep records of the dates of any visits you make to doctors, clinics or hospital, and any days where you had to do change plans because of the accident, such as missing an excursion or needing to pay for transport to hospital
- Keep all your receipts for anything medical or accident-related
If you have suffered an accident abroad and need legal advice, please call our team on 01616 966 229.