Round-up of the most frequented destinations - by car
Each European country has its own driving rules and regulations, including those to do with tolls and environmental zones. LeasePlan is here to provide you with a round-up of the most frequented destinations so you can best prepare your journey there (and back).
Germany Around 85 German towns and cities require a special green sticker to enter (Umweltzones, i.e. environmental zones). They cost 16 euros. These stickers are not sold at the border but are sold at garages as well as TÜV and DEKRA technical control centres in the towns and cities concerned.
Other things to note: In case of traffic jams on roads (particularly motorways), free up the central lane for emergencies. The “Grüne Welle” sign indicates that the traffic lights ahead are synchronised and that you have the chance to pass through them all on green if you respect the speed limits.
Austria In Austria, in addition to tolls, you will need a sticker to get onto the motorways and “Schnellstrassen” (express roads). These cost 15 euros for 10 days or 32.50 euros for two months.
Other things to note: In case of traffic jams on roads (particularly motorways), free up the central lane for emergencies. Car horns not allowed in Vienna or near hospitals. On mountain roads, vehicles going uphill have priority.
Croatia Almost all motorways in Croatia require payment, but there is no sticker system.
Other things to note: In case of an accident, always call the police. On mountain roads, uphill traffic has priority.
Spain Motorways are not free. To make things easier, VAB recommends choosing a French Bip & Go badge, which are also valid in Spain. At the moment, only the city of Barcelona has introduced an environmental zone with an eco-sticker (with four different ratings depending on your car’s emissions level). This sticker costs 5 euros.
In some Spanish towns and cities, there are designated environmental zones to improve the quality of air and create more space for the inhabitants. These restricted traffic areas are indicated on signs featuring the text “Area de prioridad Residencial” (APR, i.e. Residential Priority Zone, an area only accessible to permit holders).
Other things to note: Use of car horn is not allowed in several towns and cities. In the mountains, uphill traffic has priority. Driving shirtless, barefoot, or with flip-flops is prohibited; the same applies to driving with an arm resting on the window or eating, smoking, drinking, adjusting the sat-nav or putting on make-up while driving. Passengers who put their feet on the dashboard may incur a fine.
France The French government has devised an eco-sticker system called “Crit’air”. This sticker (with a different colour depending on your car’s pollution level) is obligatory in Paris. Lille, Lyon, Grenoble, Toulouse, Strasbourg, and the Arve Valley (Haute-Savoie) also require them in case of pollution peaks. More than 15 other municipalities are going to make them obligatory between now and 2020. You can get this sticker for 4.21 euros.
Other things to note: There must be two breathalysers in the car (even if no fine is incurred). On mountain roads, vehicles going uphill have priority.
Italy In Italy, motorways require payment depending on vehicle category and number of kilometres travelled.
In some historic city centres (Rome, Arezzo, Bologna, Bolzano, Brixen, Florence, Milan, Palermo, Pisa, and Verona), Zone a Traffico Limitato (ZTL, i.e. restricted-traffic zones) have been implemented. Driving or parking is not allowed here.
Other thing to note: On mountain roads, vehicles going uphill have priority.
Portugal Lisbon has implemented traffic restrictions, but they only apply to older vehicles (before Euro 3).
Other thing to note: You must contact police in case of an accident.
United Kingdom Payment is required on some motorway routes. In London, a congestion charge is required in the Congestion Charge Zone (paid area). An “LEZ charge” (an eco-tax) is required in low-emission zones. Durham has also implemented a congestion charge around its historic centre.
Other things to note: Drive on the left and overtake on the right. Use of warning triangles is not allowed on motorways.
Slovenia A sticker is required to drive on all motorways and national highways.
Other thing to note: In case of traffic jams on roads (particularly motorways), free up the central lane for emergencies.
Switzerland To access Swiss motorways, you need to put a sticker on your vehicle’s windscreen. An extra charge is required for certain tunnels.
Other things to note: On mountain roads, vehicles going uphill have priority. No overtaking on the motorway if the flashing yellow lights on the emergency call posts are in operation. Round-up of the driving rules and regulations, including those to do with tolls and environmental zones in the most frequented destinations