The Unexpected Traveller: Driving quirks in Belgium
Driving in a foreign country is a tricky road to travel. Master the Belgian roads by learning to drive like a local with these five quirky tips for driving in Belgium.
Don't you just love the feel of an open road, wind in your hair, music playing and the promise of a destination ahead? If you do, driving in Belgium may not be the best option for you and I'm not just talking about the weather.
Here are five hard-earned lessons that I discovered about driving in Belgium.
1. The rule of 'priorite a droit'
The dreaded priorite a droit means that you should give way to anyone approaching from the right. This means that if you are on a major thoroughfare and someone is chugging his way on a country lane and is about to join your route, he has the right of way if he's approaching from the right. You'll need a overly sensitive right foot until you get used to this.
2. Traffic lights: red means...
The important thing to note about traffic lights is that if you manage to overstep the line before they turn red, then you're clear. This is mainly because of the cameras perched on top of the lights that cannot catch your number plate if you've moved beyond a certain point. It also explains the large amounts of gridlock in city centres.
3. Getting linguistically lost
Make sure that you know how your destination is spelt in both French and Dutch. Due to the language problems that they have, you may think that you haven't seen a sign yet when in actual fact there would have been plenty, just in another language.
4. Cruising in the fast lane
The general rule on the motorways is that you should not hog the fast lane. Judging by the reactions I get, you should not hog the slow lane either. The middle lane can annoy people so perhaps the best thing to do is just move from one lane to another as often as you can.
5. For the love of parking
Belgian drivers assume that a car's bumpers are meant to show when you've hit the car in front of you while parking. If you care for your wheels, I'd find a garage for them if I were you.
I would also recommend a colourful vocabulary as it can be handy from time to time.
The Unexpected Traveller, who occasionally answers to the name of Antoine, works in the murky world of IT where he does lots of stuff he can't explain to his grandparents. He travels, for fun or for work or for funny work, and enjoys noticing that the world is full of odd and strange wonders. He writes about his stories and encounters on his blog. You can find unexpectedness as it happens on Twitter or spot him lurking on Facebook. Photo credits: lxsocon (photo 1), oksidor (photo 2).
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