Motoring Research

Are you aware of these European driving rules?

Motoring Research logo Motoring Research 21/07/2020 18:02:41 Gavin Braithwaite-Smith
a police car parked on a city street: Driving in Europe after Brexit © Provided by Motoring ResearchDriving in Europe after Brexit

The Highway Code outlines the rules of the road for motorists in England, Scotland and Wales. But what about the rules for driving in other parts of Europe?

There's an app for that. The European Union's 'Going Abroad' smartphone app details the important road safety rules in the different European countries. Alternatively, you could use the interactive map, which includes EU member states and other European nations.

Many of the European road rules are straightforward and predictable. Speed limits, seatbelts, the use of a mobile phone at the wheel, and so on. Driving on the right is a given. Or is it? Do so in Cyprus, Ireland and Malta and you'll be on the wrong side of the road.

Here, we reveal a dozen of the more unusual European road rules. Things to bear in mind if you're fortunate enough to be sailing across the English Channel this summer.

European driving rules

  • Remove your headphones - France and Spain
    • You're not permitted to drive while wearing headphones, regardless of whether they're connected to music or for making phone calls.
  • Mind your manners - Cyprus and Germany
    • Rude or offensive gestures could result in a steep fine.
  • Carry spare glasses - Portugal, Spain and Switzerland
  • Reversing with hazard lights - Slovenia
    • You must use hazard warning lights when reversing in Slovenia.
  • Get a permit - Italy
    • You require a special permit to drive through some historical areas in Italy.
  • Steer clear of snacks - Cyprus
    • You must not eat or drink behind the wheel in Cyprus.
  • Watch your fuel - Germany and Portugal
    • It's illegal to run out of fuel on a German autobahn. Meanwhile, carrying cans of petrol is banned in Portugal.
  • No off-road driving - Iceland
    • It is illegal to venture beyond the boundary of a road in Iceland unless there's a specific parking area.
  • No smoking - Greece
  • Carry rope - Serbia
    • You must carry a tow bar and three metres of rope when driving in Serbia.
  • Carry a breathalyser - France
    • You must carry a breathalyser in France. If you're sailing across the Channel this summer, make sure the breathalyser is in-date.
  • Engines off by the railway - Germany
    • Drivers must switch off their engines when queuing at a level crossing in Germany.

Read the rules before you travel

a hand holding a video game remote control: Drivers more likely to be breathalysed in Europe © Provided by Motoring ResearchDrivers more likely to be breathalysed in Europe

A spokesperson for, the company behind this research, said: "Now the government has released a list of exempted destinations in which Brits are permitted to travel to, many families will be looking to book a last-minute trip for some much needed sunshine and relaxation.

"Most car hire firms are still operating, allowing you to hire a car whilst abroad, so it's worth learning about the different road rules that apply in different countries."


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