The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has issued a stark warning to fans flying out to watch the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand to take care on the country’s roads.
It says twice as many people die on the roads in New Zealand, per head of population, as in the UK.
As thousands of British supporters head down under for the World Cup kick off on September 9, the FCO has issued advice to help them prepare for their trip.
Minister for consular affairs Jeremy Browne said: "Whether fans are planning on taking part in adrenalin sports or hiring a vehicle for a road trip, I strongly recommend that they check the small print of their travel insurance to ensure they are covered for everything they want to do. And people driving long distances should plan their journey carefully, including regular breaks, to avoid accidents.”
The FCO has been working with the Rugby Football Union, the Scottish Rugby Union and the Welsh Rugby Union to help encourage fans to be fully prepared.
Welsh rugby coach Warren Gatland, who is from New Zealand, said: “As always, Wales will have strong support in the stands, particularly in Wellington for our first match. Let’s hope that the fans enjoy their time here and go home with great memories of rugby rather than huge medical bills.
"New Zealand is a beautiful but vast country – it’s really easy to underestimate how long journeys can take so I’d encourage people to allow plenty of time to get to matches so you don’t miss a minute of the rugby or take risks on the roads!”
The Foreign Office has a dedicated Rugby World Cup advice page www.fco.gov.uk/rugby with details of match dates, locations and travel tips, including driving tips such as:
* Prepare for long distances between service stations in rural areas
* Take care when driving at night: outside of towns there is little street lighting. Also look out for livestock wandering onto roads
* Do not drink alcohol before driving in New Zealand. Drinking and driving laws are strictly enforced and random breathalyzer tests will be carried out, including routes from international airports.
* In New Zealand an amber traffic light means STOP and the right of way rules are different from other countries. Read a copy of the Road Code www.nzta.govt.nz/resources/roadcode/ before driving.
* Check with your insurance www.fco.gov.uk/en/travel-and-living-abroad/staying-safe/travel-insurance/ company that you’re fully covered to drive abroad including breakdown recovery and any medical expenses resulting from an accident
* You can send updates about your location and travel movements via your mobile in NZ by texting 7233 (SAFE). These details are kept on a central database which can be accessed by NZ Police if necessary
* Listen to the games on the move! Radio Sport will be the official broadcaster of the Rugby World Cup – for local frequency check the website: www.radiosport.co.nz
More specific information is on the FCO website: www.fco.gov.uk/rugby
Published Date: September 1, 2011