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Stay on the Right Side of the Law: European Road Rules All Motorists Should Know


Holidaymakers planning European road trips this summer have been warned about the significant driving laws and etiquette differences between countries, as hundreds get caught out each year. 

Travel insurance comparison experts at have researched the eight crucial driving differences across Europe to avoid being caught out on the road trip of a lifetime.

Driving holidays and road trips are experiencing a rise in popularity, with 52% of holidaymakers choosing to hire a car when on holiday.

Of those who choose not to hire a vehicle, 25% say the reason is because they are unsure of driving rules and laws at their holiday destination.

Motorists risk penalties such as hefty fines, penalty points, and even driving bans for breaking the law in Europe.

This happens regularly to those travelling in and out of various European countries – to help increase border road safety.

Many travelling across Europe will naturally think to drive on the same side of the road as they do at home – but this could be a dangerous mistake to make: Cyprus, Malta, Ireland and the UK all use the left-hand side.

Drivers also need to be aware of the significantly high number of toll roads along Europe’s routes whilst taking both long and short trips – come prepared with the correct currency to avoid getting caught.

Greg Wilson, CEO and Founder of said: “There are some seriously breath-taking views across Europe, and with it now more accessible to hire out cars whilst abroad, it’s a wonder we’re seeing an increase in road trip vacations allowing holidaymakers to visit multiple countries in just one holiday.

“And with many planning a road trip in Europe this summer, we urge travellers to be aware of the number of driving differences.

“Roads across Europe can be tricky to navigate and have a high volume of speed cameras, so it’s crucial to stick to the speed limit and approach unfamiliar aspects cautiously.

“A European road trip will be an incredible experience, but you must know the wide range of driving differences abroad.

“Stay safe, research before you set off to avoid driving illegally and being issued large fines.”’s five laws you must know before driving in Europe:

  1. Driving on the Correct Side of the Road

It is essential to understand each country’s road etiquette when driving around Europe, as the side of the road switches depending on which country you are in. In most European countries, drivers must remain on the right side of the road. The exceptions to this rule are the UK, Malta, Cyprus and Ireland.

  1. Legal Driving Age

It’s important to remember that for the majority of countries in Europe, the minimum legal driving age is 18. Countries with different rules are the UK, Germany and Italy, where the minimum driving age is 17.

  1. Smoking and Driving

Smokers need to be aware of the European countries which enforce laws against smoking in the car with any passengers, including minors. Countries include Cyprus, Greece, Poland, Italy, France, Ireland, Belgium, Denmark and Austria.

  1. Honking Your Horn

There are certain countries which restrict the use of the horn. In Finland, drivers only honk their horns if they are in immediate danger. In Cyprus, drivers must limit honking their horns near hospitals and residential areas. In Vienna, honking your horn is also generally prohibited around hospitals. Check the road rules in each country before heading off on your trip.  

  1. Be Aware of Toll Roads

Make sure to have your bank card and cash in the correct currency, as some booths are known for only accepting coins. It also helps when planning your route to check ahead for tolls so you don’t be surprised. is a price comparison site that can help with all sorts of travel insurance, such as European and backpacker travel insurance.  


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