Driving in Europe is not much different from driving at home. Whether you are on vacation or you travel for business purposes, you should know that there are some basic rules that also apply in Europe: observe, fit in, wear your seat belt, low speed in big cities etc.
But we must admit that there are some strict rules that you need to learn about before you hit the European roads. Here are seven rules to keep in mind when driving in Europe:
- Speed Limit
In most of the European countries, the speed limit is the same: 50 km/h in built-up areas, 90 km/h outside of built-up areas, 110 km/h on dual carriageways and 130 km/h on motorways. The speed limit could vary depending on the country, which is why you should always check before travelling. For example, Sweden is different than all the other European countries since there is no speed limit. The speed is usually determined by the quality and safety of the road.
Another important advice is to always check the road signs as the speed limit can change several times on different parts of the same road.
- Drink Driving
We all know the devastating consequences of driving while being under the effects of alcohol. Whether you drive in Europe or not, it is highly recommendable that you drive responsibly and aware of your surroundings.
However, when it comes to Europe the regulations can be very strict. In most of the European countries, the police do not look kindly at drunk drivers especially if they also drive above the limited speed. For example, Italy can charge you three times more if you are caught between 22.00 and 07.00.
In France on the other hand, could either confiscate your driving license or arrest you. Moreover, if you drive in France, you are advised to carry a certified, sealed breathalyser. Failure to carry one will result in a fine of 11 Euros.
*Note: if you rent the car in France, the rental company will usually provide the breathalyser. Make sure you ask at the desk!
- Automatic Road Cameras
If you think that nobody will notice if you drove slightly faster than normal, you are wrong! The automatic cameras have surely taken photos of your car number, speed and it is most likely that you will soon receive your fine through your email.
5.Do no drive in the city
Although it might safe you some cents driving by car in the city, you should avoid doing that at any cost. Many European countries have taken measures to discourage urban driving. This is why in cities like London you will pay a congestion fee. A similar situation is in Olso, but it is more likely that you will receive the bill two months later due to their automatic system.
As for the Mediterranean city centres, car traffic is banned. Take for example Italian cities like Rome, Pisa, San Gimignano or Verona. Wherever you see the sign ZTL (ZonaTrafficoLimitato) means you cannot drive or park in that area. If you do, then your licence plate has been photographed and a bill will wait for you at home.
The best thing to do is park the car outside or at the hotel where you are staying (make sure you register the car when you check in the hotel) and use the public transport or an Uber.
If you are in a hurry, the best way to go from one European country to another is by expressways (Autobahn/Strada/Route). If you prefer to admire nature or national areas, you could drive on the highways.
Some Expressways are free in certain European countries, while in other you will have to pay a fee. You will meet toll booths where you will pay the fees based on the miles you drive. For example, if you drive from Rome to Naples, you should expect to pay around $55. On the other hand, you will not have to buy any toll ticket if you drive on the highway.
*Note: the difference between the expressways and highways:A highway is a generic term given to roadways that are used to connect important cities, and usually have 4 lanes to provide for high speed traffic. An expressway is a high speed road with partial access and extra facilities like access ramps and lane dividers.
- Low Emission Areas
Low Emission Zones are often the most effective measure that towns and cities can take to improve air pollution. Low Emission Zones (LEZs) are areas where the most polluting vehicles are regulated. Usually this means that vehicles with higher emissions cannot enter the area. In some low emission zones the more polluting vehicles have to pay more if they enter the low emission zone.
Low Emission Zones are also known as Environment Zones, Umweltzonen, Milieuzones, Lavutslippssone, Miljozone, Miljözon, ZTL ambiente.
As an additional tip: make sure you also check out the local road servicing companies. These can provide you a cheap insurance across Europe, help you in case of emergencies, and give further tips about the driving conditions and rules in your country. Check out rac.co.uk for deals to make your journey a little more hassle-free.
We hope that you find this list quite helpful and will make you plan your trip in advance for a better, relaxed and safe European trip!