Headlights during the day: The European regulations chaos

Written by on October 21, 2017 in Europe - Comments Off on Headlights during the day: The European regulations chaos

Most Bulgarians do not adhere to traffic rules. They overtake on service lanes, they exceed the speed limits substantially and try to push everyone else out of the way, they park on sidewalks, forcing parents with strollers to walk on the street, they block trams by driving on their tracks and they are talking into their cell phones while driving, all the time.

There is one single traffic rule Bulgarians do adhere to: It’s the headlights rule. In their country, headlights have to be switched on 24 hours a day, and 365 days per year. Bulgaria has understood that headlights are not only supposed to help the driver see what is in front of him or her, but that they were also invented to make sure pedestrians and other drivers see that vehicle coming.

It would be great if all European countries had this rule. But they don’t. Not all of them. In this regard, Europe is a regulation chaos. Things are different in every tiny country there is on the “old continent”. It is the same with the toll road systems.

In Austria, France and Germany, turning on headlights during the day is a recommendation only. There is no rule which would force drivers to do so. They will be fined if they do not use their lights in foggy or rainy conditions, or during dusk.

Also there are countries which oblige drivers to switch on their lights during the day in certain seasons only. The youngest EU member Croatia is such a country. Here, the lights need to be switched on 24 hours a day from the last Sunday in October to the last Sunday in March.

In Italy and Hungary, lights have to be used on country roads, highways and motorways only, during the day, but not in cities or towns.

The next category of countries does require lights all the time, day and night, all year long. Those are Bulgaria, Macedonia, Montenegro, Poland, Switzerland, Slovenia, Estonia, Norway and Czechia. The fines for driving without lights might differ.

Automobile associations recommend checking all traffic rules online before starting any international journey by car.

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About the Author

Imanuel Marcus is Associate Editor of The Sofia Globe. He is German and lives in Sofia. Contact: imanuelmarcus (at) gmail.com