Radar detectors in vehicles are strictly prohibited in many countries, including Germany.
Radar detectors in vehicles are strictly prohibited in many countries, including Germany.

Don't let ignorance of road rules drive you crazy

EUROPE has some of the finest motorways and road systems in the world but there are some perils for self-drive holidaymakers.

Compared to Australia, distances are comparatively short, sign-posting is of a high quality and motorist services are readily available, but the secret to an enjoyable road experience is to be aware of the idiosyncrasies of different road rules in each of Europe's 30-odd countries.

Not being aware of these rules could be costly, with heavy fines facing motorists who commit infractions, many of which relate to laws that aren't in place in Australia.

European motoring expert Andrew Morgan, a director of Sydney-based globalCARS and a former tour bus driver in Europe, has put together a website that outlines varying road rules

The information refers to driving in countries as diverse as Cyprus and Croatia, Malta and Montenegro and Belgium and Bulgaria.

Some of the quaint regulations that might surprise Aussie visitors are regulations that demand that all foreigners buy health insurance on arrival in Belarus where it's also against the law to drive a dirty car.

Don't neglect to pay parking fines in Croatia as border immigration authorities are kept in the loop and can hold your passport until fines are paid.

In Greece police are empowered to confiscate the number plates of illegally parked vehicles.

Imagine the red tape confronting someone using a leased or rented car from another country.

In the Czech Republic vehicles damaged in an accident cannot be taken out of the country without providing border officers with a written police report on the incident.

Radar detectors in vehicles are strictly prohibited in many countries, including France, Germany, Finland, Cyprus and the Czech Republic. Variations on their use apply in some other countries.

As for drinking and driving, regulations generally limit breathalyzer readings to .05 but in Poland, Sweden and Norway the maximum allowable blood alcohol level is .02 and in Romania and Slovakia it is zero.

In many countries use of a vehicle's horn in urban areas is banned between 10pm and 5am, but in Gibraltar it is banned completely within city limits.

You can read many of the international road laws at www.globalcars.com.au.



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