Weird and Wonderful European Driving Laws

driving laws

British citizens abroad are quick to take to the roads but they are often not aware of the dangers of travelling on foreign highways.

UK tourists often hire cars and expats often choose to take their vehicles abroad with them when they book their moving company, with international classic car transport very popular in the UK.

However, traffic laws and local driving habits abroad can differ hugely from home, resulting in high road accident levels.

For example, Thailand, home to some 50,000 Brit expats, reported nearly 10,000 deaths in 2011, as opposed to only 2,000 in the UK.

High numbers of crashes involving UK tourists and expats abroad have resulted in the Government launching a new safety tool to combat the problem.

The app from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office attempts to make international driving information easily and concisely available to anyone planning to take to the wheel in a foreign locale.

The app ensures drivers are aware of overseas laws which can sometimes wildly differ from home.

For example, in France, as of July 2012, any driver failing to carry a breathalyser when operating a car or motorcycle will be subject to an on-the-spot fine of 11 euro.

In Bulgaria, it is a legal requirement to carry a fire extinguisher in your vehicle.

To celebrate the launch of the app and to raise awareness of the sometimes weird and wonderful nature of foreign driving laws, here is a list of the six strangest European driving laws you might encounter on your next summer holiday.


If you’re planning a holiday to Belarus, you might want to pack some car shampoo and a bucket as driving a dirty car is punishable by law.


Obviously Estonians aren’t too comfortable with the concept of handbrakes, as they have a strange law, in which all drivers legally must carry two wheel chocks with them at all times. These are wooden blocks to be positioned under the vehicle’s wheels when stationary to prevent rolling.


In Luxembourg traffic law, it is acceptable for a car on the road to be without a windscreen – though strangely cars are legally obliged to have windscreen wipers.


Despite the humid climate, Cypriot drivers can be arrested for drinking anything (including water) while driving.


Before turning the ignition in Denmark, drivers are expected to check all of the components of their car are in working order, including lights and brakes. Strangely, they are also expected to check under the car – presumably to ensure no-one is hiding beneath.


We have some strange rules too, in Britain a law still states that all Hackney carriages must carry a bale of hay and a bag of oats with them at all times. This dates back to when taxis were pulled by horses and drivers were legally obliged to keep them fed.

About the author: This article has been written by Jennifer Acton, on behalf of Abels Moving Service, who provide a premium international car shipping service.


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