The rules of the road have already changed. Read before renting a car in Europe

  • Published by Ozgur Tore

If you plan to rent a car abroad or taking your own car abroad, there are various rules on the roads that change every time we cross a border.

Abiding by these rules is made even more difficult by continuous amendments to road legislations across the world.

A recent survey from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and found that only half of those planning to drive abroad carry out research online before driving in Europe, while 64% said they didn’t feel it was necessary to explore the local road laws for their next trip abroad.


To help travellers to stay up to date with the key amendments to driving laws, has listed the most recent and upcoming revisions to driving laws in popular holiday destinations:

Spain – As in France, drivers in Spain can no longer use devices that detect speed cameras, such as sat navs. The speed camera detection function on a sat nav or GPS system must be deactivated.

Spain - New speed limits which came into effect in June saw the speed limit on motorways rise from 120Km/h to 130Km/h.

Portugal – The country has seen a major overhaul of its road legislation in 2014 with over 60 amendments believed to have been enforced. Drivers in Portugal should be aware that if they are involved in an accident, there is now a compulsory drug screening in addition to alcohol testing.

Portugal – Another recent amendment to Portugal’s road laws states that all drivers are expected to have their EU passport on them if they are pulled over.

Ireland - From August 1st 2014, new drivers will have to display an ‘N’ badge or plate, for novice, on their vehicles for two years. Those hiring a car in Ireland who have held their license for less than two years should also use the plate as a precaution.

Scotland - Ministers are reducing the drink drive limit to 50mg per 100ml, instead of the 80mg UK limit. This new enforcement applies whether hiring a car or crossing the border in to Scotland in your own vehicle.

U.S. – Both New Mexico and South Dakota are the latest U.S states to ban texting while driving after implementing the law on July 1st. There are now 41 U.S states with a ban on texting behind the wheel.

UK – Up to now in England and Wales, phones were seized by police officers in collisions that resulted in serious injuries or fatalities, to discover if the phone was used or was a contributing factor. Now UK police officers have been told to crackdown on the use of mobile phones behind the wheel by seizing devices in minor collisions also.

Most Read news in this category since January 1, 2017

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