Posted by on Mar 15, 2013 in Driving Tips | 0 comments

Driving in Belgium: Guide and Safety Tips

The federal republic of Belgium is a small country with a population of slightly over eleven million people. Belgium is the preferred destination for many people especially from the neighboring countries of Germany, France and the Netherlands. Belgium capital city Brussels is the headquarters of the European Union this also attracts plenty of visitors not just in Europe, but also from all over the world. If you are planning on travelling and Exploring Belgium, then it is advisable that you do it through its impressive road system due to the following reasons: Belgium has a well-developed road infrastructure, well-behaved drivers, and a toll free road network.

On car hire

The car hire industry in Belgium is well established. That said, there is a high demand for hire vehicles and as such, it is advisable that you book your preferred car at least two weeks before travelling.

Driving requirements

Driving is one the right hand and overtaking on the left. Cars on the right should be given priority the same applies to passenger trams, ambulances, police cars, and school buses. Roads are well marked and interpreting signs should not provide major obstacles. In pedestrian crossings, passengers have a priority.

The minimum driving age is 18 years of age. Some car hire companies will only lease to passengers aged 21 years and above.

Do not use your cell phone when driving; this can lead to heavy fines. When driving in built up areas, horns should not be used unless you are in an emergency.

What to do in case of an accident

If it happens that you are involved in a road accident, the police need to be notified. If there are any injuries, basic first aid should be issued before calling for an ambulance. Contact the police using the number: 101.

Seat belt requirements

All passengers must wear a seatbelt at all times. If you are travelling with children aged three to twelve years, they should have specially fitted seats. Children less than three are not allowed in the front seats.

Motorway signs

Traffic signs follow the European model and interpreting them should not be a challenge if you are used to driving in Europe. They are marked using white and blue.

Fuel cost

The current price of fuel is €1.32 for unleaded petrol and €1.04 for diesel. Please note that fuel prices can change without warning. Most of the fuel stations are open from 8am to 8pm expect on Sundays. However, stations near expressways are open 24 hours from Sunday to Sunday. Major debit and credit cards are accepted.

Alcohol limit

The legal alcohol limit is 0.05% per a hundred millimeter of blood. To be safe, do not drink and drive. Belgium law allows police to carry our arbitrary alcohol test. Those found to break this law are liable arrest and then prosecution.

Important documents to have

If you are from the European Union, you can use your home country license. Outside the European Union, you are required to have an international driver’s license. If you plan to stay in Belgium, then you need to apply for a Belgium driver’s license. Other important documents to have includes third party insurance certificate, a photo ID, your vehicle registration documents, proof of car rental, and proof of payment of taxes.

What to have in your car

Before leaving the car rental premise, make sure that your car has the following: a warning triangle, a first aid kit, a fire extinguisher, and a reflective vest. Police may ask you to show the aforementioned items.

Speed limits

Speed limits vary as follows: In school areas: 30km/hr, Urban areas: 50km/hr, Outside built areas: 90km/hr, in dual carriageways: 120km/hr and in motorways: 120 km/hr. These speed limits are strictly enforced and drivers found doing otherwise face heavy penalties.

Tolls

Belgium has very few toll roads. The only significant toll road is found in Antwerp in the Liefkenshoek tunnel.

Parking Requirements

Finding a parking space can be tricky especially in Major cities. But, if are patient, you are assured of a parking space. Parking is done in blue zones. To gain entry into a blue zone, you need to purchase a blue parking disc. Parking should not be done within 15 meters of a bus stop, or a railway station. The way you park should also not cause distraction to other road users.

 Useful phrases to learn

Local phrase English
Essence Petrol
Gazol Diesel
Afrit Exit
Oprit Entrance
Grote Weg Highway
Tank station Petrol station

Additional information

1. Dipped lights should be used in all 4×4 vehicles throughout the year.

2. Studded tyres should be used during the winter period

3. Belgium official languages are German, French, and Dutch(Flemish)

4. For any clarification, you are encouraged to contact Belgium Motor vehicle Association.

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