Guide to Driving in Belgium
When driving in Belgium, remember that you need to drive on the right side of the road, which is something you will need to get adjusted to quickly if you are coming from a country that drives on the left.
Speed limits vary depending on where you are driving in Belgium. The speed is measured in kilometers per hour (kph), which might be a bit confusing for someone who's not used to the metric system. Speed limits in Belgium are:
-Urban areas: 50 kmph (31 mph)
-Open roads: 90 kmph (55 mph)
-Motorways or Expressways: 120 kmph (74 mph)
Recently, in the past few years, the Belgian Government introduced certain equipment to improve road safety. Speed traps, cameras and unmarked vehicles are now operating throughout the country.
Highways in Belgium are well built and maintained with good lighting. However, rain and fog can reduce visibility. Although most of the roads in Belgium are toll free, only the use of Antwerp’s Liefkenshoek Tunnel requires the use of toll.
The minimum age requirement for driving in Belgium is 18 years.
The amount of legally allowed alcohol in the blood is 0.5 mg/ml. When police request an alcohol test, you are allowed to refuse according to the law. However, in doing so you might get arrested.
Remember to carry important documentation with you at all times. Documents you should have with you:
Getting your Belgian driver's license
To apply for a Belgian driver’s license or to exchange your licence for a Belgian one, you need to go to the town hall of the city you are registered in. To get the process started, you can register at your local commune office . The validity of your driver’s license in Belgium depends on your country of origin. Some foreigners in Belgium must exchange their licence for a Belgian one, some may exchange it if they wish, and others will need to take a full driving test (theory and practical) in order to get a Belgian driving licence. Note: The minimum age for driving is 18 years in Belgium. People under the age of 18 with a valid US driver's license may not drive in Belgium until they are 18.
It is compulsory to carry a driving licence, car registration papers and insurance documents in the car (Dutch, EU and International Driving Licences are accepted).
If you have an old style all green licence it is recommended, but not required, that you obtain the IDP for Italy and Spain. An International Driving Permits (IDP) is not a substitute for a full UK driving licence, but is an additional document to be used alongside your driving licence. International Driving Permits (often referred to as an International Driver's License www.idltrip.com ) are available to people over the age of 18. An IDP/ IDL is valid for either 12 months or 3 years (depending on type of IDP) from the date of issue.
Belgium requires the use of either seatbelts or a safety seat for everyone in the car, both at the front and back.
Children under 18 years of age and below the height of 1.35m are prohibited from travelling in the front seat, and must be seated at the rear with a seatbelt tightly fastened or in a safety seat (depending on the child&9;s age).
The police have the authority to collect fines and press charges on the spot. If you decide to pay the fine on the spot, make sure you get a receipt from the official. If for any reason, you are not willing to pay, you will be asked to pay a security deposit, in which case you have a specific time period (usually two weeks) to pay your fine.
All cars in Belgium must be equipped with the following equipment: Warning triangle
There are several parking areas known as Blue Zone parking areas in Belgium that feature parking meters or similar facilities. Parking discs are also used in some cases which can be obtained from police, service stations etc. According to the law, you are not permitted to park within 15 meters of a tram, bus or rail stop or intersections.
In Belgium, trams have priority over cars. The horn is only allowed to be used outside built up areas. Horns may be used during times of danger or during low visibility. Dipped headlights or day-time running lights must be used in poor daytime visibility.