Your Essential Travel Guide To Driving In Belgium
A guide to driving in Belgium
Once you’re in Belgium you’ll find driving an absolute breeze, as the country has an excellent toll-free motorway network, as well as very well-maintained A roads which provide a more scenic route to your destination.
The only issue that you’re likely to encounter comes from the two different languages used in the country, Flemish and French. Although some signs show names in both languages generally in the north they are in Flemish and in the south they’re in French.
In this guide, we'll cover everything from what documents are needed for driving in Belgium from the UK, to helpful tips on how to stay safe on Belgian roads. So read on and get ready for an unforgettable family road trip!
Belgian driving laws and road regulations
Here are some key requirements for driving in Belgium you need to be aware of:
- As in the UK, wearing seatbelts is a legal requirement
- Using a mobile phone while driving is illegal, unless you have a hands-free system
- Minimum driving age for most vehicles is 18 years old
- Drive on the right side of the road and overtake on the left
- Blood alcohol levels of drivers cannot exceed a volume of 0.05%
- Children under 1.35m must be seated in a child seat or restraint, or in the rear of a car with a seat belt.
- It is prohibited for child seats to be used in the front seats if the airbag has not been deactivated
- If you’re travelling within a city that has a low emission zone (LEZ), you must check that your vehicle meets the entry requirements and register for each zone
Planning on travelling further than Belgium? Check out our guide to driving in Europe.
Speed limits in Belgium
Belgium uses the metric system for road signs, so you'll see speed limits and distance markers in kilometres and metres. Unless signs state otherwise, the following speed limits apply:
- Residential areas: 20 kmh
- School areas: 30 kmh - operational 24 hours a day, even when schools are closed, unless signposted otherwise.
- Built-up areas: 50 kmh
- Outside built-up areas: 90 kmh
- Outside built-up areas in the Flanders region: 70 kmh
- Motorways and dual carriageways that are separated by a central reservation: 120 kmh
- On some cycle streets or at the entrance to built-up areas, a speed limit of 30 kmh may apply
In Belgium, the amount of a speeding ticket is determined by the speed at which the offence was committed, as well as the type of road it occurred on. Fines range from €53 to as much as €866.
Essential items for driving in Belgium
There are certain documents and items that drivers must possess at all times when driving in Belgium:
- Full, valid UK driving licence & proof of ID (passport)
- Motor insurance certificate & V5 registration document
- Written permission to drive the vehicle from the registered owner if the car does not belong to you
- UK sticker, unless the registration plates have the UK identifier on them (vehicles featuring the letters GB together with the Council of Europe golden stars or a GB sticker are no longer valid for driving abroad)
- Headlight converters
- 3rd party car insurance or above
- Warning triangle and reflective jackets/vest for driver (for use in the event of a breakdown or accident)
- First aid kit (recommended but not compulsory)
- Motorcyclists must wear protective clothing
Remember to check with the car rental company if the necessary items are included when hiring a vehicle. It's also worth having comprehensive travel insurance and European breakdown cover policies when driving abroad.
Tips for driving by car in Belgium
- For a guide to Belgian road signs, download our helpful PDF
- When overtaking a cyclist or moped rider there should be a distance of least 1m between them and the overtaking vehicle
- If the carriageway is too narrow, then the driver may use the side of the path provided that pedestrians are not put in any danger
- For tips on motorcycling in Belgium, take a look at our dedicated guide
Parking in Belgium
- Stationary vehicles must have their engines switched off
- Parking is prohibited on the left-hand side of the road, except in on-way streets
- For those with electric cars, we’re pleased to be partnered with Spirii, connecting EV drivers with 200,000+ charging points across Europe within its user-friendly app, with features such as multi-currency credit card payments and international roaming