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Comprehensive Guide to Driving in Romania: Rules, Tips & Must-Knows

Embarking on a Romanian road trip?

Planning a trip to Transylvania? Get tips and explore must-see places for an amazing adventure! And if you intend to go by car, stay right here.

Buckle up for a comprehensive guide packed with essential driving tips, regulations, and insider insights. From navigating city centers to understanding road etiquette, discover everything you need to know for a smooth and informed driving experience across Romania’s picturesque landscapes.

Essential Rules and Regulations for Driving in Romania

License Requirements

To drive in Romania, you’ll require a fully valid license that you’ve held for a minimum of one year. EU and EEA licenses are acceptable, along with International Driving Licenses (though they aren’t obligatory). Driving a car in Romania mandates being at least 18 years old.

Driver’s checklist:

  • Valid driving licence
  • Proof of identification (passport)
  • Insurance documents (green card)
  • Proof of ownership (registration certificate)

It’s recommended to secure written permission from the registered owner if you’re not the vehicle owner but will be driving the vehicle.

Car Rentals

Renting a car requires a minimum age of 21. For drivers under 25, expect a young driver’s surcharge from rental firms. Additionally, the maximum age for car rental is typically 70.

Driving on city roads in Romania

Always drive on the right and overtake on the left, except for trams which you overtake on the right, unless on a one-way street or when space doesn’t allow it. When near a tram stop without a pedestrian area, stop 5 meters from the end carriage and wait until tram doors close. At roundabouts and in built-up areas, yield to vehicles from the right.

Use of Highways

To travel on motorways and state roads in Romania, you’ll need a vignette (rovinieta). The vignette is linked to your license plate and is then registered in the Romania database. 

You can obtain one at a petrol station or conveniently purchase an e-vignette online. These vignettes are available for durations of 7 days, 30 days, 90 days, or 12 months, providing access to these roads during their validity period. 

Alternatively, buy your e-vignette via the Internet on the roviniete.ro website. The first day of validity can be chosen when buying your vignette.

Speed limits

In Romania, the national speed limit is set at 130km/h on major roads outside of built-up areas. On main roads outside built-up areas, the speed limit typically ranges from 90km/h to 110km/h. Within built-up areas, the speed limit is set at 50km/h.

e vignette europe
European countries that require vignettes or stickers - Source: https://i-vignette.com/en-gb

Additional toll charges apply on some Romanian bridges

Extra toll fees are required for certain Danube bridges, in addition to the vignette. This applies to the following bridges:

  • DN56, E79 Calafat en Vedin, Bulgaria
  • DN5, E70, E85 Giurgiu en Rose, Bulgaria
  • A2, E81 Fetesti en Cernavoda
  • DN2a, E60 Giurgeni en Vadu Oii

Fuel options

Lead replacement petrol (95 & 98 octane), unleaded petrol, Diesel, and LPG are accessible. Carrying petrol in a can is allowed (ensure it’s empty when exiting Romania). Tax is due on fuel in the vehicle tank when leaving Romania. Numerous stations accept credit cards; verify usage in Romania with your card provider beforehand. Payments are generally in the local currency, Romanian Leu (RON).

Compulsory safety equipment

If your vehicle has more than two wheels, you have to have the following safety equipment in your car:

Use of Seatbelts

Wearing front and rear seatbelts in vehicles equipped with them is mandatory in Romania. Failure to wear one incurs an automatic fine. 

Children in cars

Children under 12 aren’t permitted to travel in the front passenger seat, and those up to age 3 must use an appropriate restraint based on their size. Any child shorter than 150cm and under 13 years old must utilize a restraint or booster seat as required by law.

Headlights

Outside built-up areas during the day, all vehicles must utilize dipped headlights, and it’s advisable for all vehicles to use them in situations of poor daytime visibility regardless of the location.

Dipped headlights, also known as low beams, are the standard headlights on vehicles that illuminate the road without causing glare to oncoming drivers. They provide adequate visibility without blinding other motorists.

Motorcycles

Daytime use of dipped headlights is mandatory. Riders and passengers on machines of 50cc and above must wear crash helmets as it’s compulsory.

Drink & Drive

Romania enforces stringent drink driving laws for road safety. It maintains a zero-tolerance policy, setting the blood alcohol limit at 0.00%. To comply, complete avoidance of alcohol is necessary not only when driving but also the day after consuming alcohol if you plan to operate a vehicle.

Parking

Parking in most town and city centers, especially near tourist attractions, usually requires payment. It’s advisable to have loose change as card payments might not be available.

Although not consistently enforced, the official rule is to park facing the direction of traffic, typically on the right side of the road.

Horn use restrictions

In built-up areas, using the horn is prohibited between 22:00 (10:00 PM) and 06:00 (6:00 AM).

Winter Tires

On Romania’s roads blanketed with snow, ice, or black ice, winter tires become mandatory. They should be installed on all wheels and bear the M+S or M&S marking. Winter tires are required to maintain a minimum tread depth of 1.6 mm on at least two-thirds of the tread width for safe and legal usage.  Studded tires are permitted on public roads covered with snow, ice, or black ice, but they must be officially approved or homologated for use in these conditions.

If Romania is part of an extended European road trip

Like Romania, there are more European countries where winter tires are mandatory subject to snowy or icy weather conditions. For example Austria, Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Luxembourg, Norway, and Slovakia.

In countries such as France, Italy, and Spain winter tires are mandatory only upon specific road sign requests along the road.

European countries where winter tires are legally mandatory include Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Sweden, and Slovenia.

Winter tires are not mandatory in Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal and the United Kingdom

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Emergency Calls

If you encounter an accident in Romania, dialing 112 is the quickest way to seek assistance. This number connects you to an English-speaking operator who will gather your information and dispatch the necessary emergency services.

A final thought or two about European Road Trips

Armed with these vital insights into navigating Romania’s roads, your journey promises to be not just picturesque but also safe and hassle-free. From road etiquette to parking norms, this guide equips you with the knowledge needed for a memorable and seamless driving experience through Romania’s diverse landscapes.

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