Driving in Belgium

An introduction to driving a car or motorbike in Belgium, an overview of the main road rules and regulations, and details on the safety items which you must always carry in a vehicle...

Rules and Regulations

Many of the basic rules of the road in Belgium are very similar to those across the rest of Europe. Road signs are either in Dutch or French (translations for some of the most common words can be found in the 'Useful Words' section).

  • Drive on the right in Belgium, overtake on the left
  • Priority is given to the right; drivers must stop for traffic joining from the right. Marked by an inverted "yield" sign with a red "X" in the middle, the "priority from the right" rule means that cars coming from the right always have priority, unless a yellow diamond sign or other priority road sign has been posted. This does not apply on motorways, roundabouts, and roads sign-posted with an orange diamond within a white background
  • The legal minimum age for driving is 18 years
  • Trams have priority in Belgium, as do their passengers getting on and off
  • Pedestrians have priority at pedestrian crossings
  • Every vehicle must be registered with the Vehicle Registration Authority (Direction Immatriculation Véhicules, DIV) before it can legally be on the road. Registration must be updated when the vehicle's owner changes. There are also requirements for registering trailers
  • It is obligatory to have at least third party vehicle insurance. It is the car owner's responsibility to obtain the insurance
  • Valid Belgian, other EU country and International driving licences (accompanied by a valid foreign driving licence) are accepted in Belgium
  • Mobile cellular telephones may only be used with a "handsfree" system
  • It's compulsory to wear a seat belt (ceinture de sécurité/autogordel), including in the back seats if belts are fitted. It is the driver's responsibility to ensure all passengers wear their belts (and the driver will be fined if passengers are not belted in)
  • Headlights must be used in tunnels, even during the day
  • Drivers involved in an accident must stop and help injured people, collaborate in avoiding danger and other possible accidents, and call the police if there are injured people or if the road cannot be cleared (Police Tel: 101)

Driving with children in the car

  • Babies up to 13 Kg must travel in a car seat, facing backwards
  • Children 13 Kg to 18 Kg must travel in a car seat, facing forwards
  • Children 18 Kg to 36 Kg must travel in an adapted car seat using the normal seat belt
  • Children measuring less than 1.35m must travel in an adapted car seat
  • JeSuisPour.Be has detailed information on transport with children in cars (in French)

What to Carry in the Car

It is compulsory to carry the following documents in the car at all times:

  • Driving licence
  • Insurance certificate
  • Vehicle registration documents
  • Passport/proof of identity
  • Proof of payment of road tax and car radio tax where applicable

All vehicles must also carry:

  • A warning triangle. In the event of an accident or breakdown, the triangle must be placed 30 metres behind the vehicle on ordinary roads, and 100 metres on motorways, to warn following traffic. It must be visible at a distance of 50 metres
  • A first aid kit
  • A fire extinguisher, which must be accessible from the driver's seat
  • A reflective vest. The vest must be put on before getting out of the car in the event of an accident or breakdown on any road. For more information visit the: Code de la route website (in French)

Official Organisations and Government Bodies

For extensive information on all driving related matters including the driving licence, the driving test, taxes and highway regulations there are a number of sources.

  • The main Belgium Government information and services website provides details of application procedures for taxes and general driving information
  • The Ministry of Transport (Service public fédéral Mobilité et Transports/Federale Overheidsdienst Mobiliteit en Vervoer)
  • GOCA (Groupement des Sociétés agréées de Contrôle automobile et du Permis de Conduire/Groepering Van Erkende Ondernemingen Voor Autokeuring en Rijbewijs) is an organisation that brings together the examination centres and the centres for the roadworthiness test (contrôle technique/Autokeuring). The website contains detailed information on the driving test, the content of the examinations and where to get training (in French and Dutch)
  • The Vehicle Registration Authority (Direction pour l'Immatriculation des Vehicules, DIV) is the registration authority for all vehicles.
  • There are two police forces dealing with traffic violations: the local police (Police Locale/Lokale Politie) and the Federal Police (Police Fédérale/Federale Politie)
  • Belgian Road Safety Institute (Insitut Belge pour la Sécurité Routière, IBSR/Belgisch Instituut voor de Verkeersveiligheid, BIVV)

Further Information