Posted on 16th Feb, 2017 by Jonathan Peach
HGV drivers are no strangers to international journeys, so it’s important to be aware in the differences in driving laws when crossing sovereign boundaries. We’ve taken the opportunity to detail some of the most pivotal ones for you – especially those of our immediate European neighbours – so that you can be prepared before you set of
Road signs will generally give you a good idea as to speed limits on the roads you’re driving. Even if you go for miles without seeing one, it still should be easy for drivers to accurately gauge the safest speed to travel, especially given the different height and weight profile of HGVs. Having said this, though, some countries do have distinct differences that might not be immediately obvious. For example, on Germany’s autobahns (translated as federal highways), there is a recommended speed limit of 130km per hour by default. In fact, for certain classes of vehicles there is no upper speed limit, making them a drastically different environment for UK motorways and an important consideration for HGV drivers. For the same reason, it’s illegal to stop on one – and that includes breaking down, which can be put down to driver negligence and punished accordingly. In Spain, meanwhile, the motorway speed limit was reduced to 110km per hour, so drivers will have to account for the slightly slowed traffic accordingly.
Meanwhile, other European countries have specific rules that account for their changes in climate. In Bulgaria, it’s mandatory to drive with your lights on – even in daylight – from the 1st of November through to the 1st of March, and in Sweden that rule is extended further. Even in full daylight, all drivers must have their headlights switched on and at dipped beam at the very least.
Toll roads are another oft-overlooked component in driving abroad. They are few and far between in the UK, but a far more common sight on European roads such as those in France, so HGV drivers must always have a method on hand with which to pay them. In the Czech Republic, meanwhile, there are no toll booths but a road usage sticker must be purchased prior to arrival. Drivers caught without this sticker can face a fine. Speaking of fines, while no one wants to have one levied at them, they are yet another reason why drivers must be prepared with a payment method on hand. In Denmark, for example, police can even seize a foreign vehicle if the driver is unable to pay an on-the-spot fine.
Even if you drive impeccably, you may still find yourself dealing with the local authorities. Although drivers may respect the rules of the road and pay utmost attention to the local laws, it doesn’t necessarily make them immune from accidents caused by other people’s driving. In these cases, it’s imperative to protect yourself legally – our VT CrashCAM Driving Accident Recording Camera can provide irrefutable proof in such circumstances, saving you or your company from unnecessarily lengthy and potentially costly legal proceedings. Recording in 1080p HD footage, it’s all reviewable through advanced on-board software, allowing you to replay the sequence of events at the scene if necessary.
You can click here to see our full range of vehicle safety products, or read our article on safe driving at night for when you’re making those all-day international journeys. If you need any help or advice, you need only give us a call on 08450 041 562.
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