A Conversation for International Driving Etiquette

Driving in Belgium

Post 1


Can anyone help me?
I've heard that the roads in Belgium are the most dangerous in Western Europe because
1. They have a bizarre Right-of-Way law which not even the Belgians can understand.
2. It is not a legal requirement for drivers to have insurance. Consequently, if you do have an accident, it's essential to leave the scene before someone can get your name and address
3. The muddy soil makes maintenance of the roads an almost hopeless task - most of them suffer from subsidence.
Having driven through Belgium, I can confirm that the roads are often very bumpy. I can't comment on the right-of-way and insurance issues, however. All I can say is that I have seen some truly frightening driving there, especially on the Motorway around Brussels
Can anyone enlighten me as to how dangerous driving in Belgium really is?

Driving in Belgium

Post 2

Researcher 155885

The simple answer is: Not as dangerous as Madrid! (and I have been told that Madrid is a hundred times safer than Rome!).

The only think I have ever been told about a bizzare Right-of-way thing in Belgium is that if a driver has the right-of-way he/she will use it regardless of what other road users (pedestrians included) are doing. However, when I was in Belgium earlier this year, I did not see any evidence of people doing this.

Driving in Belgium

Post 3

Shrimp, keeper of petty nitpicking [(-1+8)x(-2+9-1-0)=42]

Lemme clarify...

There's no such thing as a *bizarre* right-of-way law. If there are no traffic lights or other traffic signs, you should give way to vehicles coming from the right, except on roundabouts (but only since very recently). Simple as that. However, in Brussels, and indeed many other parts of Belgium, drivers slightly modify this rule. They interprete this way: If you're coming from the right, you don't have to stop and check for other cars, just drive on. If someone hits you, they're gonna pay. This is known as 'to make use of your right.'

Insurance is obligatory. All Belgian car owners must be insured.

Bumpy roads: Not really true. Roads are generally in excellent condition. The consequence however, is that you can't drive more than 30 km before getting stuck in a traffic jam caused by road maintenance.

Driving in Belgium isn't more dangerous than in other countries. Except maybe Holland, because they obey to speed limits. But then again, we're talking Holland here smiley - biggrin. The thing is, most foreign drivers don't even realize they're driving in Belgium, because Belgium is one of the few countries (along with Luxembourg) which you can travel through without noticing it's there.

smiley - cheers Shrimp

Driving in Belgium

Post 4


Be fair - Luxembourg is much easier to miss than Belgium! I should know I live and work there. I often find myself loosing my concentration briefly on the way home, and ... whoops! There I am in Switzerland again.

Driving in Belgium

Post 5

Rod, Keeper of Pointless and/or funny discussions or statements

I'd like to point out a few things. Having lived in belgium for quite a while these are first hand experiences.
The roads are bumpy. I have seen highways that have had the top layer scraped off and then were just left there for a year or 2 before anyone noticed. In towns usually only the bigger roads are well maintained, the smaller ones are deemed as not to important and usually are just 'patched up' if realy nescesary, causing the road to be quite bumpy and looking like a large quilt.

As for bad driving, one possible explanation I found is the following: ontil not so long ago (about 30 - 35 years I guess) to get a driverslicence in Belgium all one had to do was go to the police station and pick one up. Now, as in most countries, you take lessons and a test etc. But one small detail is that it is possible to get your drivers license after only a few lessons and then driving for a year with your parents (basically having them teach you...). And almost all of those parent still just bought their licence without actually taking lessons. This results in people being tought how to drive by people that are not to sure of what is going on themselfs...


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