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Driving in Belgium: what do I need to know?

As you might expect in the home country of European bureaucracy, driving in Belgium can be a nightmare of complex regulations and expensive fines.

Belgian drink driving laws are tough

Our advice would be never to drink alcohol when driving anywhere, but the laws in Belgium are particularly strict.

Most countries have a simple upper limit for blood alcohol levels, but when driving in Belgium there is a whole range of levels and accompanying fines. If you are caught driving with a blood alcohol level between 0.05% and 0.08%, you will be fined 150 Euros and banned for three hours, while 0.08% to 0.15% comes with a fine of 550 Euros and a six hour ban.

However, get caught driving in Belgium over 0.15% and you will face a fine of up to 12,000 Euros and loss of your licence for up to five years. That said, if you are caught over even the lowest limit, and you have been driving for under two years, you will automatically face prosecution and a fine of at least 3,000 Euros.

What happens if you are caught speeding?

As with many European countries, on-the-spot fines exist for speeding and other offences when driving in Belgium, and refusal to pay can lead to your car being impounded. Even if you dispute the fine, you should pay a deposit within 96 hours or you may lose your car for good.

Speed limits for driving in Belgium are broadly in line with the UK at 50 km/h (31 mph) in built up areas, 90 km/h (55 mph) in non-urban areas and 120 km/h (74 mph) on motorways.

Unlike in France, you are permitted to carry maps or satnav systems that display the site of fixed speed cameras, but you cannot carry equipment such as radar detectors or blockers.

What equipment will I need to carry?

A note about roundabouts

As in France, roundabout driving in Belgium can be very confusing. On the majority or roundabouts, the traffic on the roundabout is signposted to have right of way, as in the UK. However, on certain roundabouts with no such signpost, the traffic joining from the right has priority.

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