Lonely Planet Writer

How well do drivers actually know the quirky rules of the road in Europe?

Driving a car or motorcycle around Europe is a brilliant way of seeing the continent, but don’t forget that every country has its own individual driving rules.

A picture taken in "Paris Plage" shows a sign reading "alternate traffic".
A picture taken in “Paris Plage” shows a sign reading “alternate traffic”. Image by Getty

Did you know that you’re legally required to have your headlights on, even in broad daylight, in Scandinavia? Or that you may think you’re doing a good deed, but it’s forbidden to pick up hitchhikers in Russia.  And heaven forbid that you might have a dirty car in Belarus – that’s a complete no!

Driving through Gothenburg. Image by Craig Morey / CC BY-SA 2.0
Driving through Gothenburg. Image by Craig Morey / CC BY-SA 2.0 Image by Craig Morey / CC BY-SA 2.0

Luckily help is at hand as British company, Jennings Motor Group, has created a handy infographic to help clear up any confusion among drivers. It describes the more unusual and quirky rules of the road, and also contains a useful chart converting MPH to KPH to help drivers easily make the calculations.

Part of the Jennings Motor Group's infographic on driving in Europe. Image: Jennings Motor Group
Part of the Jennings Motor Group’s infographic on driving in Europe. Image: Jennings Motor Group

Some of the more obscure or strange rules include that you are required to carry an extra pair of glasses if you need them if you’re driving in Spain. Drinking water is harmless, isn’t it? Well not if you’re behind the wheel in Cyprus – that’s illegal. It’s also compulsory for a car to have a tow bar and a 3m rope in the car boot in Serbia.

Madrid, Spain.
Madrid, Spain. Image by M.Peinado / CC BY 2.0

The company also cautioned drivers to take care on the most dangerous roads in Europe, which include Trollstigen and Atlantic Ocean Road in Norway; Stelvio in Italy; Kolyma Highway in Russia; Grimsel Pass in Switzerland and La Rioja in Spain.

Infographic via Jennings Motor Group Driving in Europe