Strangest Driving Rules of Europe

Across the world, traffic rules & laws can differ drastically from country to country. Whether it’s something as simple, such as driving on the other side of the road, or something more out there, i.e., not being allowed to drive on a Monday if your car’s licence plate ends with 1 or 2. In this article, in anticipation of the upcoming Euros, we are taking a look just at Europe’s driving rules, specifically the strangest ones. So read on to make sure you don’t unwittingly break any rules!


The maximum blood alcohol level is 0.01%, which means that you might as well not drink. It’s also compulsory to carry a first-aid kit in your car at all times.


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A sign showing a bugle with a red line through it means you’re not allowed to use your car’s horn.


No parking meters or disabled parking bays (that we know of).

It’s also illegal to drive a dirty car.


Even if it’s signposted as a one-way street, some streets let cyclists travel in two directions – So make sure to keep your wits about you.


You must wash your car on entering the country, and it’s technically illegal to drive a dirty car, similar to Russia, Romania and Belarus.

You can only park on the left in one-way streets. This isn’t intuitive because in Bulgaria they drive on the right.

Like Poland, the motorway speed limit is a fairly rapid 140kph.

It’s illegal to use your car horn for anything other than avoiding an accident.


You must not use your car horn in residential neighbourhoods or near hospitals.

You must not eat or drink anything while you are driving.

Making obscene gestures at other motorists is punishable by a fine (this includes shaking your fist!)


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You must check under your car for sleeping children every time you get in it. This must be annoying for courier drivers.


All cars must carry two wheel chocks in case you break down on a slope (again, presumably because of the quality and reliability of the vehicle fleet in Estonia).

You must not have any alcohol in your blood as a driver in Estonia.


The motorway speed limit drops from 120kph to 100kph between October and March because of wetter and icier weather.

In Finland, Norway, Sweden and Iceland you must use your headlights all the time.

You are only allowed to park on the right-hand side of the road, but on some days there is no parking at all if the streets are being cleaned.


If a driver flashes their headlights at you it’s because they will move first; they’re not letting you through. You must also carry spare headlight bulbs.

If you park closer than 5m to a pedestrian crossing, expect to be ticketed.

Despite their love of wine, the French are only allowed 0.02% blood alcohol, as opposed to NZ’s 0.05%. You must also carry your own breathalyser kit.


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In certain areas at certain times you must use winter tyres.

Some stretches of the autobahn don’t have speed limits. Expect to be overtaken by buses doing 160kph. If you drive too slow on the autobahn you can be ticketed. It’s also illegal to run out of fuel on the autobahn.

If you make offensive hand gestures at another motorist you can be fined up to 500 Euros.

Cyclists must not have a blood alcohol level above 1.6%.

Some cities require you to have an emissions sticker on your vehicle otherwise you’ll get a fine.

You must turn your engine off while waiting at a railway level crossing.


Greece banned smoking while driving.


You must not drive off the boundary of the road unless there’s a formed parking area in order to protect flora and fauna.


You must not drive through certain historic areas without a permit.


All cars must have functioning windscreen wipers, but they don’t technically need a windscreen.


Your front seat passenger must also be sober.


You don’t need to indicate when you change lanes.

Malta is the only European country other than those in the British Isles that drives on the left.


Your lights must be on at all times when driving.


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If you wear glasses for driving you must also have a second pair in the car.

You must not carry a can of fuel in your car.


Hitchhiking is illegal, so don’t pick one up, and don’t hitchhike yourself. The same rule applies in Switzerland.

And remember your car must be clean.


All cars must have a tow bar and three metres of rope – obviously a lot of breakdowns occur in Serbia.


You must put your hazard warning lights on when you are reversing.


In Spain if there are no yellow lines it means no parking.

To reduce congestion you can only park on one side of one-way streets, and the side depends on the day of the month and which side has even-numbered houses!

You’re not allowed to use headphones while you’re driving.

Cyclists always have right-of-way. We’re not sure exactly what this means and we assume that they can’t just randomly roam.

If you wear glasses for driving you must also have a second pair in the car.


You’re not allowed to wash your car on Sundays.

If you wear glasses for driving you must also have a second pair in the car.

There you have it, some of the strangest driving laws of Europe. However, just because they are strange doesn’t mean they aren’t helpful. In fact, there’s an argument to be made that the U.K. could benefit from adopting a few of these rules!