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Tips for Expats Driving in Debrecen

Driving in a new country can be daunting. These tips offer insight into what to expect when driving in Debrecen.

1. Understanding the Driving Culture

Driving in Debrecen is generally safe and straightforward. The roads are well-maintained and the traffic rules are strictly enforced. However, Hungarian drivers are known for their aggressive driving style, so it’s important to stay alert and cautious at all times. Also, be aware that the speed limit in urban areas is usually 50 km/h, while on highways it’s 130 km/h.

2. Choosing the Right Car

Most expats in Debrecen prefer compact cars for their fuel efficiency and ease of parking. However, if you plan to travel outside the city frequently, a larger car or SUV might be more suitable. Keep in mind that manual transmission cars are more common in Hungary, so if you’re used to driving an automatic, make sure to specify this when renting or buying a car.

3. Parking in Debrecen

Finding a parking spot in Debrecen can be challenging, especially in the city center during peak hours. Most parking spaces are metered, and the cost varies depending on the location and time of day. However, there are also several parking garages and lots where you can park for a flat rate.

4. Driving with an International License

Foreigners can drive in Hungary with an international driving permit (IDP) for up to one year. After that, you will need to obtain a Hungarian driver’s license. Note that your IDP must be accompanied by your valid home country driver’s license.

5. Obtaining a Hungarian Driver’s License

To get a Hungarian driver’s license, you will need to pass a medical examination, a theory test, and a practical driving test. The tests are usually conducted in Hungarian, but English-language tests are also available. You will also need to provide proof of residency in Hungary. It’s recommended to take a few driving lessons to familiarize yourself with the local driving rules and conditions.

6. General Tips for Driving in Debrecen

Always carry your driver’s license, IDP, passport, and vehicle registration documents when driving. Make sure to wear your seatbelt at all times and ensure that all passengers are also buckled up. Avoid using your mobile phone while driving unless you have a hands-free system. Finally, remember that the legal blood alcohol limit in Hungary is zero, so don’t drink and drive.

Joshua WoodJoshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

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