In May, stricter driving regulations were introduced in the UK. Bad drivers who tailgate, undertake and cut up other motorists will now be given £100 fixed penalty fines in a new government push to cut road accidents. Existing fines will also increase, for example if you use a mobile phone at the wheel you could be short of £60 and if you don’t use your seatbelt, £80-£100 could quickly be leaving your wallet.
But it’s not just in the UK where drivers need to be aware of the law, as rules and fines vary widely across Europe. Independent car hire comparison website carhiremarket.com has put together a list of driving laws for some of the most popular European destinations, so you don’t get caught out when trying to enjoy that much deserved sunny break!
Autobahn myths – You can’t always drive at whatever speed you like on the German Autobahn as a third of this highway has speed restrictions. Many sections have a speed limit ranging between 80-130 km/h so don’t get carried away!
Don’t argue – If you are unlucky enough to receive a fine when on your holidays, do your best to accept the situation, otherwise you risk your car being confiscated
After hours cruising – If you find yourself out on the Italian roads between the hours of 22:00 and 07:00 be extra cautious. Fines go up by one third during these hours
Stay calm – In built up areas, the use of the car horn is prohibited, except in case of immediate danger
Don’t honk the horn – Stay calm and collected in Greece as well! You can receive an on-the-spot fine for the unnecessary use of that often tempting beep
Keep the bikes at the apartment – If you are planning a family cycle ride when in Portugal this summer, make sure you don’t carry them on the back of a passenger car. Yes, you guessed it – it’s illegal!
Temporary Electronic Toll Device – Planning on using the motorways in Portugal? Since 15th October 2010 it became law that all drivers must carry a Temporary Electronic Toll Device (DEM) that must be pre-loaded with at least 10 Euros. These can be obtained from some mandatory service stations, CTT (the postal company in Portugal) and Vic Verde stores with a 27 Euro deposit. When leaving the country this must be returned
Keep your hands firmly on the wheel – If you are relying on GPS to navigate you around Spain, make sure this is all pre-programmed before you set off. It’s illegal to even touch a device such as this unless parked in a safe place
Watch your speed – Did you know that speed limits are changing in Spain in 2011? So even if you are used to driving there, check before you travel. The limit in built up areas on roads with lanes in both direction and single lanes is set to be reduced to 30km/h at some point this year
Anel Bruns, Product Manager at leading car hire comparison site carhiremarket.com commented: “Hiring a car is undoubtedly one of the best ways to see the sights of a new country, but drivers must take note of all driving laws that are different to their home turf. As we have experienced in the UK this month, rules and regulations can change at anytime, so even if you think you are experienced at driving in Spain or France, check every time you plan to travel.”