How to drive in Belgium?
Basic rules of the roads and driving requirements.
GENERAL TIPS AND ROAD INFORMATION
Traffic drives on the right and passing on the left.
Most Belgian roads are in good condition with adequate illumination.
Mobile phones may be used only with a headset or Bluetooth system.
Motorways have the signposts with a white E on a green background. They have services stations with fuel, snack shops and washrooms available. Some also have information points and repair garages. A minimum speed of 70 Kph applies unless otherwise indicated. Passing on the right is illegal. Orange SOS phones are provided at regular intervals for emergency assistance.
Trams have priority in Belgium, as are the passengers getting on and off.
Right of way
Priority is given to the right; drivers must stop for traffic entering from the right. Marked by an inverted yield sign with a red X in the middle, the priority from the right rule means that cars coming from the right always have priority unless a yellow diamond sign or other road sign has been posted. This does not apply on motorways and roundabouts.
Parking restrictions are clearly marked. Do not park where tram or rail lines cross the road. Most cities have parking meters along the street and in many Belgian cities there is a "blue zone" parking system in operation. You must purchase a cardboard clock sold in gas stations, tobacco shops or from the police. Parking in this zone is usually valid for 3 hours.
Parking fines must be paid at the Town Hall where the ticket was issued.
The blood/alcohol limit in Belgium is 0.5 grams of alcohol per liter of blood. The police have the power to carry out random alcohol tests on drivers at any time and a blood sample will be taken if a driver refuses a breathalyzer test.
Anyone found driving under the influence of drugs is punished.
All types of unleaded (Regular and Super umleaded) are available as well as diesel. LPG is less available. Credit cards are widely accepted. Service stations are closed overnight and on Sundays.
Speed limits in Belgium are measured in KPH (Kilometers per Hour).
Speed traps, cameras and unmarked police vehicles are used throughout the country to detect speeding motorists. Belgium has a high accident rate, mainly due to speeding. The traffic control authorities are strict, and expensive fines for speeding are issued on the spot.
Speed limits are as follows, unless otherwise indicated:
Rural areas: 50 KPH (30 KPH in school areas)
National roads: 70 KPH up to 90 KPH
Highways: 120 KPH
There is a toll for the Antwerp Liefkenshoek Tunnel.
As of January 2008, Belgian motorists will pay to use motorways and there will be a reduction in standard road tax to compensate. However, a token (vignette/teken) will be stuck to the inside of the windshield. Prices will vary depending on the size of the car's engine and there could be extra reductions for environmentally friendly cars. Tourists and visitors will also need to purchase the token.
The legal minimum age for driving in Belgium is 18 years
Valid Belgian driver's license, driver's licenses from other EU countries and International Driving Licences (accompanied by a valid foreign driving licence) are accepted in Belgium.
Insurance is mandatory for all vehicles. The minimum level of cover required is third party, but comprehensive coverage is common. The car and not the driver is insured, therefore many people have additional insurance for themselves in the event of personal injury.
Country of origin stickers (e.g. GB stickers) must be used in Belgium, unless your license plate has the sticker pre-applied.
Every vehicle must be registered with the Vehicle Registration Authority (Direction Immatriculation Véhicules, DIV) before it can legally be on the road. Registration must be updated when the vehicle's owner changes. There are also requirements for registering trailers.
It is compulsory to carry the following documents in the car at all times: international driving licence, insurance certificate, vehicle registration documents, passport/proof of identity, proof of payment of road tax and car radio tax, when applicable.
All vehicles must also carry: a warning triangle, first aid kit, fire extinguisher, reflective vest
It's compulsory to wear a seat belt, back seats included, if belts are fitted. It is the driver's responsibility to ensure all passengers wear their belts and the driver will be fined if passengers are not belted.
Headlights must be used in tunnels, even during the day
Children under three may not travel in the front, unless seated in a suitable child seat. Children over three and under twelve or measuring less than 1,35m must use child seats in the front and rear.
USEFUL TELEPHONE NUMBERS
Fire Department 100
Ambulance Service 100
Roadside Assistance 0900 10 280