Driving laws vary depending on the country that you reside in. Driving Laws In Belgium Belgium are both members of the European Union and are situated in Europe, yet there laws on driving differ slightly. If you are planning to live, work or visit Belgium and are planning to do some driving, make sure that you get your facts right when it comes to driving. It is important to be aware of the driving laws in Belgium that you should be abiding by, not only to prevent unwanted fines, but also for your safety as well!
In Belgium traffic flows on the right hand side of the road, like many other countries within Europe. If you are already used to driving on the right hand side of the road, probably because you do so already in your home country, then this shouldn’t be a problem for you. However, if you are used to driving on the left hand side of the road, this may take a short time to adjust to, so be sure to take extra precautions when overtaking, especially if you have brought your car with you from home, as the steering wheel will be on the other side of the car.
Drinking and Driving
Compared to other countries within Europe, such as the UK, drink driving laws in Belgium are very strict. The alcohol limit in the UK is 0.8 milligrams of alcohol in a milliliter of blood however, the limit is only 0.5 in Belgium, so don’t get caught out with this one! If you get caught severely over the limit, the consequences are very hard, possibly resulting in up to a six month jail sentence and a five year license suspension. Even if you get caught slightly more than 0.5% over the limit, you will be given heavy fines on the spot and later risk being prosecuted and fined even more money again!
When traveling in your car, you must ensure that you have a visibility vest, warning triangle and fire extinguisher with you at all times. This is quickly becoming a rule in most countries throughout Europe. In other European countries, it is also compulsory for drivers to have a first aid kit in their cars at all times, this isn’t compulsory in Belgium but is recommended. Headlamp converters are also compulsory!
When traveling with children under three years of age, they must be seated in the rear of the vehicle with the necessary restraint, such as a car seat. It is illegal for the child to sit in the front of the car and when sitting in the back, they must be sat in a suitable car seat.
Children between three and twelve years of age are allowed to sit in the front of the vehicle or as a rear seat passenger however, they too must be sat in a suitable restraint such as a car seat or booster seat. These are easy to get hold of as it is important that the child has a necessary travel seat before you travel with a child on board. Fines
If you receive a fine of some kind, as a foreign driver you are able to refuse to pay an on the spot fine however, you must provide the person who has issued the fine with your contact details. If you refuse to pay an on the spot fine and do not give your contact details, you can expect to risk having your vehicle clamped. On the spot fines are commonly issued in Belgium, often for drunk driving and speeding offenses. Seat belts
Seat belts are compulsory on both the rear and front seats of a vehicle. Make sure that you wear a seat belt in your car for your own safety and tell your passengers to do so too. The Correct Documentation
When driving, always carry your vehicle registration document; certificate of motor insurance and of course, your valid driving license. If the vehicle that you are driving is not registered in your name, you must have a letter giving you permission to drive the vehicle from the owner of the vehicle. As a foreigner, it is also advised that you carry your passport with you, especially if you’re driving license doesn’t contain a picture of you. Filling up When filling up at petrol stations, most credit and debit cards are accepted. However, if you use a fuel station after hours, you may be unable to use a credit or debit cards, as the fuel stations that open after hours don’t usually accept them as they are automatic pumps. Diesel, LPG and all types of unleaded petrol are available in Belgium. Leaded petrol is getting very difficult to find now in Belgium. It is legal to carry a petrol can around with you in your vehicle too.
You must ensure your insurance company that you will be driving in Belgium. A green card is no longer compulsory, but third-party insurance is. Lights
For those driving cars, vans and larger vehicles, you must have dimmed headlights in bad weather and anytime when there is poor visibility. Motorcyclists must have dimmed headlights on their motorcycles at all times. Licenses and Driving in Belgium
The minimum age for driving a motorcycle or a car is 18 years old in Belgium. If you have obtained your license from your home country, you must ensure that it is valid. If you’re driving license is not recognized by the EU, you must ensure that you have dealt with the necessary documentation before getting behind the wheel in Belgium.