Rules of the road

Driving laws are generally the same in each country, but there are some small yet important differences.

The laws shown on this page relate to the countries covered by this website. If you are heading further afield, the European Commission website has details for all EU/EFTA member countries.

These laws apply across Europe
Minimum driving age Use of handheld
phones whilst driving
Use of camera
detection equipment
Drink driving limit Child restraints
mandatory

18

Forbidden

Forbidden

49 milligrams
(lower for new / professional drivers)

Under 135cm height*

* The height is increased to 150cm in France, Germany, Switzerland and Austria.



Other things to consider

The use of headphones and other ear devices is fobidden in France

The use of cruise control is forbidden within roadworks or severe congestion in Belgium.

The use of headlights is mandatory during heavy rainfall or poor visibility.
The use of headlights is mandatory at all times in Switzerland.

The use of winter tyres is mandatory in wintery conditions throughout France and Luxembourg.

Snow chains must be used where signs or conditions require their use.

Impeding traffic can result in fines.

 

Maximum speed limits for cars and motorcycles 
 
Belgium or -
France* -
Luxembourg or
Netherlands  
Switzerland  

* - When raining, speed limits automatically fall by 20 km/h on expressways and motorways. When visibility is below 50m, the maximum speed limit is 50 km/h on all roads with a higher speed limit.

 

In most countries, many driving offences are punishable by an on-the-spot fine, which has to be paid there and then. Card payments are not possible, so if you don't have the cash or you're not fortunate to have been stopped next to a bank, then you'll find yourself without a car until you do manage to pay up.