Driving in Western Europe: What You Need to Know

Welcome to the JMW guide ‘Driving in Western Europe: What you need to know’, a resource to help you navigate the roads of the continent and make sure you stay on the right side of the law, wherever you are.

On this page, you will discover general advice that applies to the whole of Western Europe, and then, by clicking on the map below, you will find a country-by-country breakdown of specific laws for driving. These breakdowns will cover elements such as speed limits, use of lights and horns, seat belts and booster seats for children, motorcycles and how to drive in wintery conditions.

Western Europe includes:

Put your knowledge of driving abroad to the test with our quiz: Are You Ready to Drive in Europe?

If you have had a road traffic accident while abroad that wasn’t your fault, you are entitled to make a claim for compensation. Our specialist team has a wealth of experience with this tricky area of the law and the different requirements that a claim arising from an injury abroad may have, as opposed to a claim in the UK. Whether you were a driver or a passenger, our expert solicitors can help you through the claims process, providing excellent legal advice throughout so you can get on with what’s really important - recovering from your accident.

To speak to a member of JMW’s accidents abroad team, get in touch by calling us on 0800 054 6570 or by filling in our online form and we will get back to you.

General Driving Advice for Western Europe

Whether driving your own car in Europe, or hiring a local car once you’ve arrived, it is important to take a few basic steps to avoid falling foul of the law, stay safe and make sure you have a great holiday.

Documents

You could be asked to show your documents at any time and failure to do so could result in a fine, or even have your car taken away if they're not in order.

When you’re behind the wheel, you may need to carry the following:

  • Your valid full (not provisional) driving licence (including the paper copy)
  • A copy of your DVLA driver record and a licence check code
  • An International Driving Permit
  • Your vehicle's registration document (V5C) (the original not a copy)
  • Your motor insurance certificate
  • Your passport(s)
  • Your travel insurance documents

You may need a visa for certain countries too. We would always advise that you check what documentation requirements any country you are to be driving in has, before you travel.

Hired, leased or borrowed

If you're taking a hired, borrowed or company-owned car abroad then you'll need a letter of authorisation from the registered keeper as well as the original vehicle registration document (V5C) or a Vehicle on Hire Certificate (VE103).

Low emission zones and urban restrictions

Many cities across Europe now operate and enforce congestion charge schemes and low emission zones, many of which affect vehicles bought in the UK. Some cities will require you to apply and register for a pass before you travel.

Your Safety

Seat belts

You must wear seatbelts in the front and rear of the vehicle, if fitted, in all countries in Western Europe.

Emergency number

If you become involved in an accident, assault or any other distressing situation, you can call the emergency number 112 from anywhere in the European Union. This number acts similarly to our 999.

Mobile phones

Driving and use of a hand-held mobile is against the law in most countries.

Think right

Everywhere we have covered in this guide requires drivers to drive on the right. This can be easy to forget, and many drivers find it helpful to stick something on the dashboard or windscreen as a reminder.

Your Vehicle

GB sticker

You must display a GB sticker on your vehicle and without one you could be issued with a fine. The only exception to this is if you have euro-plates (number plates including the GB euro-symbol), in which case you don't have to display a conventional GB sticker within the EU.

Reflective jackets

Many countries require all drivers to carry reflective jackets and wear them as soon as they exit a vehicle in an emergency or break down. In some countries, passengers as well as the driver must wear a reflective jacket. While some car hire companies do provide reflective jackets, not all do and so it’s worth checking in advance.

Snow chains

If you’re driving in the winter months, snow chains can be useful and, in some countries, are a legal requirement even if you've got winter tyres fitted.

Radar detectors

Sat nav systems that show fixed speed camera locations are banned in most countries and so you should disable this function if taking one abroad.

Using or carrying a police speed trap detection device is also illegal in most European countries.

Motorcycles

  • During the day you must use dipped headlights
  • Riders must wear crash helmets
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Belgium

In addition to the General Driving Advice for Western Europe, the following laws apply when driving in Belgium:

Speed Limits

  • Residential areas 12mph (20km/h)
  • Built-up areas 31mph (50km/h)*
  • Outside built-up areas 55mph (90km/h)
  • Outside built-up areas in the Flanders region 43mph (70km/h)
  • Motorways and dual carriageways separated by a central reservation 74 mph (120 km/h)
  • The minimum speed on motorways 43mph (70km/h)

*A limit of 18mph (30 km/h) may be indicated before entering a built-up area. This limit also applies in cyclestreets (Fietsstraat).

Children

  • Children under 18 and less than 1.35 metres must use an appropriate child-restraint system in both the front and rear seats of a vehicle
  • Unless travelling in a taxi, a child under three must use a child seat/restraint
  • If you wish to use a rear-facing child seat on a front seat, the airbag must be deactivated

Motorcycles

  • Riders must wear protective clothing, i.e. gloves, jacket with long sleeves, trousers with long legs, and boots protecting the ankles
  • Children under three are not allowed on motorcycles
  • Children under three are allowed in a sidecar if it has been equipped with an appropriate child seat
  • Children between three and eight may be carried as passengers in a special seat, but only on motorcycles up to 125cc

Drinking and driving

  • The legal limit of alcohol is 49 milligrams per 100 millilitres of blood
  • On the spot penalties range from €150 and €12,000, and driving bans from three hours up to 15 days (depending on the level of alcohol found in blood)
  • If prosecuted, you could be fined between €300 and €16,000 and your licence could be suspended from eight days up to five years (depending on the level of alcohol found in blood)

It is compulsory to carry:

  • Reflective jacket - the driver must wear a reflective safety jacket when they exit a vehicle following a breakdown, accident or if stopped where parking is not allowed
  • Warning triangle - applies to vehicles with more than two wheels only

In addition

  • It is prohibited to use cruise control on congested motorways and some motorways during road works
  • Any stationary vehicle must have its engine switched off, unless absolutely necessary
  • When overtaking a cyclist or moped rider, there should be a distance of at least 1 metre between the vehicle and the cyclist/moped.

Download the JMW driving guide to Belgium here.

Talk to Us

To speak to our friendly and professional business solicitors, call us today on 0345 872 6666 or allow us to give you a call back at a more convenient time for you by leaving your details via our online contact form. Be sure to take advantage of our vast experience and expertise today.

France

In addition to the General Driving Advice for Western Europe, the following laws apply when driving in France, Monaco and Corsica:

Speed limits - general

  • Built-up areas 31mph (50km/h)
  • Outside built-up areas 50mph (80km/h)
  • Urban motorways and dual carriageways separated by a central reservation 68mph (110km/h)
  • Motorways 80mph (130km/h) (lower in built-up areas. Minimum 49mph (80km/h))

Speed limits - driving in wet weather or if you’ve held a driving licence for less than three years:

  • Outside built-up areas 43mph (70km/h)
  • Dual carriageways 62mph (100km/h)
  • Motorways 68mph (110km/h)

Children

  • Children up to the age of 10 must travel in an approved child seat or with a restraint suitable for their age and size
  • Children under the age of 10 are not allowed to travel in the front seat unless:
    • there is no rear seat
    • the rear seat is already occupied by children under 10
    • there are no seat belts in the rear

It is the driver’s responsibility to make sure that all passengers under 18 are in an appropriate seat with the correct restraints

Motorcycles

  • All helmets must display reflective stickers on the front, rear and sides in accordance with the requirements of Regulation 22. The stickers must have a minimum surface area of 18cm x 18cm, and must be visible from the front, rear, left and right. Inside the sticker, it must be possible to mark either a circle of 40mm diameter or a rectangle at least 12.5cm x 12.5cm in surface area and at least 20mm in width
  • Helmets worn in the UK have to comply either with BS6658 or with UNECE Regulation 22. Regulation 22 helmets may come supplied with suitable stickers for you to apply
  • The driver and passengers of mopeds, motorcycles, motor tricycles and motor quadricycles must wear a pair of CE-certified gloves while riding

Drinking and driving

  • The legal limit is 49 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood
  • Bus/coach drivers and new drivers with less than three years’ experience have a legal limit of 19 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood

It is compulsory to carry:

  • Warning triangle (not required on motorcycles)
  • Snow chains - when driving on snow-covered roads, you must fit snow chains in accordance with local road signs. When driving with snow chains on, a maximum speed limit of 31mph (50km/h) applies
  • Reflective jackets (EN471)
    • You must have at least one reflective jacket and must wear it before exiting your vehicle in the event of an emergency or breakdown situation
    • Riders of motorcycles must also wear a reflective jacket in the event of an emergency or breakdown
  • Breathalysers
    • Drivers of all motor vehicles including motorcyclists, but excluding mopeds, must carry one certified (showing an ‘NF’ number) and unused breathalyser

In addition:

  • You must not use headphones, headsets or any other device that sits in or on the ear when driving
  • You must not overtake a stationary tram when passengers are getting off or boarding
  • When overtaking a bicycle, you must leave a distance of at least one metre in built-up areas between your vehicle and the bicycle. You should leave a minimum of 1.50 metres in other areas
  • You must not use your horn in built-up areas except in cases of immediate danger

Low emission zones

Either full time or ‘emergency’ low emission zones are slowly being introduced across France. So far, these include Paris, Lyon, Lille, Grenoble, Strasbourg, Toulouse, Marseille, and Chambéry, and Bordeaux is expected to implement a scheme at some stage in 2018.

If you wish to drive in one of these restricted areas, you’ll have to display a ‘Vignette’ (sticker) in your windscreen. Failure to purchase and display the vignette will mean a fine between €68 and €135.

Download the JMW driving guide to France here.

Talk to Us

To speak to our friendly and professional business solicitors, call us today on 0345 872 6666 or allow us to give you a call back at a more convenient time for you by leaving your details via our online contact form. Be sure to take advantage of our vast experience and expertise today.

Germany

In addition to the General Driving Advice for Western Europe, the following laws apply when driving in Germany:

Speed limits

  • Built-up areas 31mph (50km/h)
  • Outside built-up areas 62mph (100km/h)
  • Dual carriageways 80mph (130km/h)
  • Motorways 80mph (130km/h). Some rural sections of the motorway have no upper speed limit, but the Highway Code states the vehicle must be under control at all times
  • To drive on German motorways, your vehicle must have a design speed of more than 37mph (60km/h)
  • In bad weather (visibility below 50m), the maximum speed limit is 31mph (50km/h)
  • If snow chains are fitted on tyres, the maximum speed limit is 31mph (50km/h)

Children

  • Any children aged under 12 and less than 1.5 metres tall must use a suitable child seat/restraint
  • You may only place a child in a rear-facing child seat in the front if the passenger airbag has been deactivated
  • Any child restraints/seats you use must conform to ECE 44/03 or ECE 44/04
  • The driver is responsible for ensuring that all children are safely restrained

Lights

  • You must use dipped headlights during the day if fog, snow or rain restricts visibility
  • You must not drive using only sidelights (parking lights)
  • You must use dipped headlights when driving through tunnels

Motorcycles

  • You must wear a crash helmet when riding a quad bike or trike capable of more than 20km/h unless seat belts are fitted and worn

Drinking and driving

  • The legal limit is 49 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood
  • If you are under 21, or have held your licence for less than two years, there is a zero legal limit tolerance

In addition

  • Winter tyres are compulsory during winter weather conditions, including black ice, snow, ice, slush and frost
  • You must not use spiked tyres
  • If you are driving a slow-moving vehicle you must stop at suitable places and let others overtake
  • You cannot overtake a school bus that is approaching a stopping point
  • It is recommended, though not compulsory, to carry the following items:
    • Warning triangle
    • Reflective jacket
    • First-aid kit
    • Spare bulb kit

Environmental zones

  • Some German cities, including Berlin, Hannover, Stuttgart, and Dresden, operate environmental zones where access to some vehicles is restricted. If you intend on driving in one of these restricted areas, you must display a ‘Plakette’ (sticker) in your windscreen

Download the JMW driving guide to Germany here.

Talk to Us

To speak to our friendly and professional business solicitors, call us today on 0345 872 6666 or allow us to give you a call back at a more convenient time for you by leaving your details via our online contact form. Be sure to take advantage of our vast experience and expertise today.

Ireland

In addition to the General Driving Advice for Western Europe, the following laws apply when driving in Ireland:

Speed limits

  • Built-up areas 31mph (50km/h)
  • 18mph (30km/h) in Dublin, this speed limit is also being introduced in other areas
  • Outside built-up areas 37-62mph (60-100km/h), according to road signs
  • Motorways 74mph (120km/h)

Children

  • Children under three years of age may not travel in a car unless they are using a suitable child restraint (this excludes taxis)
  • Children under three years of age may travel in the front seat if in a rear-facing child restraint. The passenger airbag must be disabled
  • Children over three years old, less than 1.5 metres tall, and weighing less than 36kg must use a suitable child restraint when travelling in a car fitted with seat belts. If seat belts are not fitted they must travel in the rear seats
  • Child restraints must conform with the ECE R44.03 standard

Drinking and driving

  • The legal limit is 50 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood
  • A lower limit of 20 milligrams applies to novice and professional drivers (e.g. taxi drivers, bus drivers)

In addition:

  • You must use dipped headlights in poor daytime visibility
  • You must not use your horn between 11:30pm and 7am in a built-up area unless there is a traffic emergency
  • You must not use radar detectors

Download the JMW guide to driving in Ireland here.

Talk to Us

To speak to our friendly and professional business solicitors, call us today on 0345 872 6666 or allow us to give you a call back at a more convenient time for you by leaving your details via our online contact form. Be sure to take advantage of our vast experience and expertise today.

Italy, San Marino and Sardina

In addition to the General Driving Advice for Western Europe, the following laws apply when driving in Italy, San Marino and Sardina:

Speed limits

  • Built-up areas 31mph (50km/h)
  • Outside built-up areas 55mph (90km/h)
  • Dual carriageways 68mph (110km/h) (55mph in wet weather)
  • Motorways 80mph (130km/h) (68mph in wet weather)
  • Drivers who passed their test less than three years ago must not exceed 55mph (90 km/h) on dual carriageways and 62mph (100km/h) on motorways

Children

  • Children travelling in a UK-registered vehicle must be secured according to UK legislation

Lights

  • You must use dipped headlights during the day outside built-up areas
  • You must use dipped headlights during snow and rain/poor visibility
  • You may only use rear fog lights when visibility is less than 50 metres or in the case of strong rain or intense snow
  • You must use dipped headlights in tunnels

Motorcycles

  • You must use dipped headlights during the day
  • Children under the age of five must not travel on a moped or motorcycle
  • Passenger may only be carried if the registration certificate states that the bike is designed to do so
  • Motorcycles under 150cc must not go on motorways
  • You must have at least one rear-view mirror (two if your motorcycle is capable of more than 100km/h.)

Drinking and driving

  • The legal limit is 50 milligrams per 100 millilitres of blood
  • There is a zero limit for professional drivers and drivers with less than three years’ driving experience

It is compulsory to carry:

  • Warning triangle (for vehicles with more than two wheels)
  • Reflective jacket - enough for the driver and any passenger who gets out of a broken-down vehicle on the carriageway at night or in poor visibility
  • Snow chains (or winter tyres) - between 15th October and 15th April, or at other times if conditions dictate

In addition

  • Cars driving with snow chains must not exceed 31mph (50km/h)
  • If your car, caravan or motorhome has an overhanging load at the rear then you must display a fully reflectorised square panel (50cm x 50cm) with red and white diagonal stripes
  • You can only use your horn in built-up areas in cases of immediate danger

Download the JMW guide to driving in Italy here.

Talk to Us

To speak to our friendly and professional business solicitors, call us today on 0345 872 6666 or allow us to give you a call back at a more convenient time for you by leaving your details via our online contact form. Be sure to take advantage of our vast experience and expertise today.

Luxembourg

In addition to the General Driving Advice for Western Europe, the following laws apply when driving in Luxembourg:

Speed limits

  • Built-up areas 31mph (50km/h)
  • Outside built-up areas 55mph (90km/h)
  • Motorways 80mph (130km/h) or 68mph (110km/h) in rain or snow
  • ‘Zone de rencontre’ are areas where the limit is 12mph (20km/h). Pedestrians have priority and may cross whenever they choose

Children

  • Children under three years of age must use a suitable child restraint
  • Children aged from three to 18 years old and/or under 1.5 metres tall must use a suitable restraint. If their weight is more than 36kg, they can use an adult seat belt in the rear only
  • You can only use a rear-facing child restraint on a seat with a frontal airbag if the airbag has been disabled

Lights

  • When parking, you must leave your sidelights on where there isn’t any street lighting
  • If visibility is reduced to less than 100m, i.e. due to fog, snow, heavy rain, you must use dipped headlights
  • You must use your dipped headlights in tunnels

Motorcycles

  • You must not carry a child under 12 years of age

Drinking and driving

  • The legal limit is 49 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood
  • For young and novice drivers, the limit is 19 milligrams

It is compulsory to carry:

  • Reflective jacket - you and your passengers must wear a reflective jacket if you get out of a broken down vehicle on a motorway or outside built-up areas, at night and in bad visibility
  • Warning triangle (vehicles with four or more wheels only)
  • Tyres - all tyres must be of the same type and standard. They must be either winter tyres (marked M&S) or summer tyres
  • Winter tyres - tyres marked M&S - must be fitted if driving in winter conditions

In addition:

  • You must use your hazard warning lights if you breakdown on the motorway. If you do not have hazard warning lights, you must use a warning triangle and a flashing light at the rear
  • You must not use your horn in built-up areas except in cases of immediate danger

Download the JMW guide to driving in Luxembourg here.

Talk to Us

To speak to our friendly and professional business solicitors, call us today on 0345 872 6666 or allow us to give you a call back at a more convenient time for you by leaving your details via our online contact form. Be sure to take advantage of our vast experience and expertise today.

Monaco

In addition to the General Driving Advice for Western Europe, the following laws apply when driving in Monaco:

Speed limits - general

  • Built-up areas 31mph (50km/h)
  • Outside built-up areas 50mph (80km/h)
  • Urban motorways and dual carriageways separated by a central reservation 68mph (110km/h)
  • Motorways 80mph (130km/h) (lower in built-up areas. Minimum 49mph (80km/h))

Speed limits - driving in wet weather or if you’ve held a driving licence for less than three years:

  • Outside built-up areas 43mph (70km/h)
  • Dual carriageways 62mph (100km/h)
  • Motorways 68mph (110km/h).

Children

  • Children up to the age of 10 must travel in an approved child seat or with a restraint suitable for their age and size
  • Children under the age of 10 are not allowed to travel in the front seat unless:
    • There is no rear seat
    • The rear seat is already occupied by children under 10
    • There are no seat belts in the rear
  • It is the driver’s responsibility to make sure that all passengers under 18 are in an appropriate seat with the correct restraints

Motorcycles

  • All helmets must display reflective stickers on the front, rear and sides in accordance with the requirements of Regulation 22. The stickers must have a minimum surface area 18cm x 18cm, and must be visible from the front, rear, left and right. Inside the sticker, it must be possible to mark either a circle of 40mm diameter or a rectangle at least 12.5cm x 12.5cm in surface area and at least 20mm in width
  • Helmets worn in the UK have to comply either with BS6658 or with UNECE Regulation 22. Regulation 22 helmets may come supplied with suitable stickers for you to apply
  • The driver and passengers of mopeds, motorcycles, motor tricycles and motor quadricycles must wear a pair of CE-certified gloves while riding

Drinking and driving

  • The legal limit is 49 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood
  • Bus/coach drivers and new drivers with less than three years’ experience have a legal limit of 19 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood.

It is compulsory to carry:

  • Warning triangle (not required on motorcycles)
  • Snow chains - when driving on snow-covered roads, you must fit snow chains in accordance with local road signs. When driving with snow chains on, a maximum speed limit of 31mph (50km/h) applies
  • Reflective jackets (EN471)
    • You must have at least one reflective jacket and must wear it before exiting your vehicle in the event of an emergency or breakdown situation
    • Riders of motorcycles must also wear a reflective jacket in the event of an emergency or breakdown
  • Breathalysers
    • Drivers of all motor vehicles including motorcyclists, but excluding mopeds, must carry one certified (showing an ‘NF’ number) and unused breathalyser

In addition:

  • You must not use headphones, headsets or any other device that sits in or on the ear when driving
  • You must not overtake a stationary tram when passengers are getting off or boarding
  • When overtaking a bicycle, you must leave a distance of at least one metre in built-up areas between your vehicle and the bicycle. You should leave a minimum of 1.50 metres in other areas
  • You must not use your horn in built-up areas except in cases of immediate danger

Download the JMW guide to driving in Monaco here.

Talk to Us

To speak to our friendly and professional business solicitors, call us today on 0345 872 6666 or allow us to give you a call back at a more convenient time for you by leaving your details via our online contact form. Be sure to take advantage of our vast experience and expertise today.

Netherlands

In addition to the General Driving Advice for Western Europe, the following laws apply when driving in the Netherlands:

Speed limits

  • Built-up areas 31mph (50km/h)
  • Outside built-up areas 49mph (80km/h) or 62mph (100km/h)
  • Motorways 80mph (130km/h), minimum 37mph (60km/h)

Seat belts

  • Front seat passengers must be taller than 1.35 metres if no seat belts are fitted in the front
  • If no belts are fitted in the rear then rear seat passengers must be at least three years old

Children

  • Children up to the age of 18 and less than 1.35 metres tall must use an appropriate child restraint approved to ECE 44/03 or 44/04
  • Children under three years old must be in an appropriate child restraint
  • You must deactivate any passenger airbag before placing a child in the front passenger seat using a rear-facing child seat

Motorcycles

  • Drivers/passengers of open micro-cars without seat belts must wear a crash helmet

Drinking and driving

  • The legal limit is 50 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood
  • A lower limit of 20 milligrams applies to drivers for the first five years after qualifying to drive, and to moped riders under 24 years of age

In addition

  • You must use a warning triangle and/or hazard warning lights in case of an accident or breakdown
  • In built-up areas you must give way to buses leaving bus stops
  • You must give way to trams unless traffic lights indicate otherwise
  • You must not use spiked tyres
  • You must not use a radar detector

Download the JMW guide to driving in the Netherlands here.

Talk to Us

To speak to our friendly and professional business solicitors, call us today on 0345 872 6666 or allow us to give you a call back at a more convenient time for you by leaving your details via our online contact form. Be sure to take advantage of our vast experience and expertise today.

Spain

In addition to the General Driving Advice for Western Europe, the following laws apply when driving in Spain, the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands:

Speed limits

  • Built-up areas 31mph (50km/h)
  • Second category roads outside built-up areas 55mph (90km/h)
  • First category roads outside built-up areas 62mph (100km/h)
  • Motorways 74mph (120km/h)
  • Motorways and dual carriageways in built-up areas 49mph (80km/h)
  • The minimum speed on motorways and dual carriageways is 37mph (60km/h)
  • Near schools and in some residential zones, the limit is 13mph (20kph)

Children

  • Children under 12 years of age and under 1.35 metres tall must use an appropriate child restraint unless travelling in a taxi in an urban area
  • Children under 12 must not travel in the front seat unless the rear seats are already occupied by children, or the vehicle doesn’t have rear seats, e.g. a van
  • Children taller than 1.35 metres may use an adult seatbelt

Lights

  • You must not use full-beam headlights in built-up areas
  • You must use dipped headlights in tunnels

Motorcycles

  • Riders of motorcycles, as well as trikes and quadbikes without seat belts, must wear a crash helmet
  • You must not carry a child under seven years old
  • A child between seven and 11 years old may ride as a passenger if the bike is being driven by a parent or authorised person. They must wear a suitable helmet
  • Moped riders under 18 years old must not carry passengers

Drinking and driving

  • The legal limit, which also applies to cyclists, is 49 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood
  • A lower limit of 29 milligrams applies to drivers with less than two years’ experience

It is compulsory to carry:

  • Spare wheel (not for two-wheeled vehicles) - and the tools to change a wheel, or a tyre repair kit
  • Warning triangle - (not required for two wheeled vehicles) one is compulsory but it is recommended to carry and use two in the event of an accident or breakdown situation
  • Reflective jacket - both driver and passenger(s) must wear a reflective jacket when getting out of a vehicle in a breakdown situation on a motorway, main road or any other busy road

In addition:

  • You must not use your horn in an urban area except in an emergency
  • If you are driving a campervan or are towing a caravan or trailer and the overall length is more than 12 metres, you must have one (130cm x 25cm) or two (50cm x 25cm) yellow reflectors at the rear
  • If you are carrying one or more bicycles on the rear of your vehicle you must fit a 50cm x 50cm reflectorised panel
  • You could be fined if your child (under 16 years of age) rides a bicycle without wearing a cycle helmet
  • In one-way streets in some cities, you must park on the side of the road with even house numbers on even days of the month, and on the uneven side on uneven days.

Download the JMW guide to driving in Spain here.

Talk to Us

To speak to our friendly and professional business solicitors, call us today on 0345 872 6666 or allow us to give you a call back at a more convenient time for you by leaving your details via our online contact form. Be sure to take advantage of our vast experience and expertise today.

Portugal

In addition to the General Driving Advice for Western Europe, the following laws apply when driving in Portugal:

Speed limits

  • Some town centres 12mph (20km/h)
  • Built-up areas 31mph (50km/h)
  • Outside built-up areas 55mph (90km/h) or 62mph (100km/h)
  • Motorways 74mph (120km/h), minimum 31mph (50km/h)
  • If you have held your licence for less than 12 months, you must not exceed 55mph (90km/h)

Children

  • Children under 12 years old and less than 1.35 metres tall must travel in the rear in an appropriate child restraint, unless the vehicle has only two seats, or is not fitted with seat belts
  • If you wish to carry a child under three years old in the front passenger seat, they must use an appropriate child restraint and the airbag must be switched off if the child restraint is rear-facing

Lights

  • You must use dipped headlights in poor daytime visibility and in tunnels

Motorcycles

  • You must not carry a child under seven years old

Drinking and driving:

  • The legal limit is 49 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood
  • A lower limit of 19 milligrams applies to new drivers with less than three years’ experience

It is compulsory to carry:

  • Photographic proof of identity (at all times)
  • Reflective jacket - compulsory for residents and recommended for visitors. Reflective jackets should be worn if you or your passengers exit a broken down vehicle on the motorway and main or busy roads

In addition:

  • Vehicles registered in Portugal must carry a warning triangle
  • It is forbidden to carry or use a radar detector
  • It is forbidden use a dashboard camera
  • You must not use spiked tyres or winter tyres
  • You must not use your horn in a built-up area when it is dark except in the case of immediate danger
  • You must not carry a bicycle(s) at the rear of a car. You may carry bicycles on the roof of your car as long as the total height isn’t more than 4 metres

Download the JMW driving guide to Portugal here.

Talk to Us

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