Unusual Laws To Watch Out For When Driving Abroad

Unfortunately, Covid put pay to pretty much all foreign travel last year. But now, with vaccinations on the rise, restrictions easing and the possibilities of travel looming closer, people are getting excited about travelling abroad.

You might decide that the easiest way to get about when you venture abroad is by driving. Some may even choose to drive door-to-door, but most others will hire a car when they’ve landed. With this in mind, it’s important to stay on the right side of the law when it comes to using the road. After all, you don’t want to be spending your holiday behind foreign bars!

Many laws on the continent are either the same or identical to those in the UK, but some countries in Europe have some pretty interesting laws… and not adhering to them could land you with a hefty fine, penalty or even prison!

So, let’s take a look at the most unusual driving laws (in our opinion)! 


  • Take your headphones out

Yes that’s right! In both France and Spain, it is illegal to drive with headphones in. Regardless of whether you’re listening to music or on a phone call, you shouldn’t use headphones and instead opt for a handsfree kit or use bluetooth!


  • Remember your glasses

In Portugal, Spain and Switzerland there are laws in place that if you wear glasses for driving, it is mandatory to keep a spare pair with you in the car at all times. This one seems a good idea, but is it really that necessary to make it a law?


  • Have a bite to eat before you leave

In Cyprus, it’s written into law that you cannot eat or drink whilst driving, as your attention is divided and not fully on driving. So if you’re heading for a road trip in Cyprus, just be sure that you don’t tempt yourself with snacks and drinks in the front! In the UK, although it’s not a law, you can be issued a ticket for driving without due care and attention if you eat or drink behind the wheel!


  • No smoking

Greece enforces that you should stub out before you drive, and we don’t think it’s a bad idea! Not only is smoking at the wheel a distraction, much like having a mobile phone in your hand, but it could also affect the health of any passengers, particularly those with breathing problems such as asthma. Of course, smoking was stopped in company vehicles in the UK under the 2006 Health Act.


  • Keep calm…and carry on.

Rude gestures on the road in Cyprus and Germany can land you with a pretty hefty fine. It’s best to remain calm and keep your offensive hand signals to yourself! Although in the UK we seem to be pretty accustomed to them, they’re a big no no if you’re on holiday over there!


  • Carry a breathalyser

As enjoying a glass of red or two is part of the culture over in France, it doesn’t come as too much of a surprise that you have to carry a breathalyser with you at all times. It’s definitely a safer way for people to check that they’re OK to drive without ‘edging’ it. So when you head over to the beautiful country, make sure that you’ve got one with you!


  • Don’t carry a Jerry!

For some bizarre reason, it’s illegal to carry spare fuel in your car in Portugal! You may think you’re being prepared, but you can face some pretty stringent penalties if you’re caught with a full jerry can!


  • Don’t run out of fuel!

From it being illegal to carry spare fuel in Portugal to it being against the law to run out of fuel in Germany! With long roads and high speed limits, it’s crucial that you don’t let your car run out. You’ll end up landing yourself in a lot of trouble with the German authorities, which probably isn’t the best idea…


  • Towbar and 3 metre rope, it’s essential…well, in Serbia.

We can’t imagine Serbia being the first destination people choose to go abroad too, but in case you do find yourself driving around the streets of Belgrade, ensure you’re carrying a three metre tow rope and have a tow bar on the car, as it’s illegal to drive without one! 


  • Reversing Hazards

In Slovenia, apparently the reversing lights on your car aren’t enough to warn other road users you’re moving backwards. Slovenian law dictates you have to also put your hazards on when in reverse! 


  • No Shiny Sundays in Sweden.

In Sweden, it’s illegal to wash your car on a Sunday! Instead you’re supposed to leave it and wash it another day. We’re not sure if this dates back to a religious meaning with the Sabbath day, but it seems a little outdated nowadays! 


So, it turns out there’s quite a few interesting rules out there…Some of them make sense, others not so, but as driving abroad can be pretty scary at the best of times, it’s best to be clued up about these things! Of course, this isn’t an exhaustive list by any means, so make sure you fully read and understand the rules of the road if you’re driving abroad!


Happy Holidaying! 

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