Breizh Poellrezh SF - Douarañ Santel
Breizh Poellrezh SF - Douarañ Santel

THE FOLLOWING ARE MANDATORY WHEN DRIVING IN BELGIUM & LUXEMBOURG AND MUST BE CARRIED IN THE VEHICLE AT ALL TIMES:

* VEHICLE REGISTRATION DOCUMENT
* LETTER OF AUTHORITY TO DRIVE, IF YOU ARE NOT THE OWNER OF THE VEHICLE
* CURRENT M.O.T. CERTIFICATE
* CURRENT CERTIFICATE OF INSURANCE (MULTI-LINGUAL ON REVERSE)
* PHOTOCARD DRIVING LICENCE OR INTERNATIONAL DRIVING PERMIT, IF YOUR LICENCE DOES NOT HAVE A PHOTOGRAPH, A PASSPORT IS NEEDED TO VALIDATE THE LICENCE
* SPARE BULB KIT
* WARNING TRIANGLE
* FIRST AID KIT
* INTERNATIONAL ACCIDENT DECLARATION FORM
* FIRE EXTINGUISHER

Children in cars:
Children under 3 cannot travel as front-seat passenger unless they use a proper child restraint system. Children under 3 in the rear must use a proper child restraint if one is available. Children over 3 and under 12 must use appropriate restraints front and rear.

Lights:
Dipped headlights must be used in poor daytime visibility.

Mobile Telephones:
The use of hand held mobile telephones is PROHIBITED, any infringement and you will be fined ON THE SPOT anything from 25€ to 2480€. DO NOT USE YOUR TELEPHONE

Drinking and Driving:
Don't do it. You will be fined up to 125€ on the spot if the level of alcohol in the bloodstream is between 0.05 per cent and 0.08 per cent. You will also have to surrender your licence for 3 hours. You could be prosecuted, which could result in a fine of up to 2,500€. Over this level and fines shoot up to 10,000€, and you could face prosecution with a maximum penalty of 6 months in prison and a 5 year suspension of your licence.

Seat belts:
Compulsory for front and rear seat occupants.

Speed limits & Fines:
Beware speed limits are enforced by Speed Cameras and on-the-spot fines are levied. The best bit of advice we can offer is don't speed in Belgium if you are a foreigner as the police consider you to be easy pickings.

Motorways = 120km/h
Rural Roads - 90 km/h
Towns = 50 km/h.

On the spot fines are issued. 200€ for excesses of less than 20km/h, 275 - 375€ and the possibility of a prison sentence for anything over 20km/h. Ensure an official receipt is issued by the officer collecting the fine. As a foreign motorist you could refuse to pay the fine, but if you do you must offer a surety or run the risk of having your vehicle impounded.

Visibility Vests:
These are now compulsory throughout the EU. if you need to walk on a motorway. You don't have to carry one, but if you breakdown on the motorway you will be breaking the law if you walk to an emergency phone without one. A suitable high visibility vest should be purchased and conform to BS EN471:1994 Class 2.

Languages:
Now here's something that will confuse you, in Northern Belgium (Flanders or Vlaanderen) the language is Dutch(Flemish)-speaking, Southern Belgium (Wallonia or Wallonie) is French-speaking (apart from a tiny bit in the south which is officially German-French bilingual), and Brussels, which is entirely surrounded by Flanders,and is in fact 80% French-speaking (at least in terms of residents, although many Flemings commute in during the day) and officially bilingual.

Signs in Flanders are given in Dutch only, even if pointing to a place in Wallonia (bizarrely the French is only given, italicized in brackets, if the place is in *France*!); likewise signs in Wallonia are in French only, even if pointing to a place in Flanders. You can easily skit in and out of one and the other on main routes (notably the E-40 east of Brussels towards Liege/Luik), and so the same place can have an entirely different name (other examples include Louvain/Leuven, Anvers/Antwerpen - French first) on signs, even for the same junction! In Brussels they are given bilingually French first separated by a hyphen (eg 'Mons-Bergen'), and also German is used alongside French in the far south. Confused?If you haven't been yet, you will be!

A final thought:
'B' on the back of the car is taken by many other Europeans to mean 'Bad' - the standard of driving in Belgium is diabolical (the driving test was only introduced in 1978), you can even stand on a bridge in Brussels and watch people drive into gridlock, predicting it well in advance! The disassembling of such gridlock is an unholy mess, generally involving cars on footpaths, cones being removed, and other unpleasantries! However, the motorway tunnel under Brussels has got to be tried
!

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