1. Traffic Conditions
Driving in Brussels can be quite challenging due to heavy traffic, especially during peak hours. The city is known for its congestion, so patience is key. Also, be aware that the city has a lot of one-way streets which can be confusing for newcomers.
2. Car Type
As Brussels is a compact city with narrow streets, a smaller car is recommended. This will also make parking easier. However, if you plan to travel outside the city frequently, a larger car might be more comfortable.
Finding parking in Brussels can be difficult, especially in the city center. Most parking spaces are metered and can be quite expensive. There are also parking garages available, but these can also be pricey. It’s advisable to consider public transportation or cycling for daily commuting.
4. Driving License
Foreigners can drive in Belgium with an international driving license for up to six months. After this period, you will need to obtain a Belgian driving license. To do this, you may need to pass a theory and practical driving test, depending on your country of origin. It’s recommended to check with the local authorities for the exact requirements.
5. Road Rules
Belgium drives on the right-hand side of the road. Seat belts are mandatory for all passengers, and the use of mobile phones while driving is prohibited unless you have a hands-free system. Also, be aware that Belgium has strict drink-driving laws, with severe penalties for offenders.
6. Public Transportation
Given the traffic and parking challenges, many expats in Brussels choose to use public transportation, which is extensive and reliable. The city has a comprehensive network of trams, buses, and metro lines. Cycling is also a popular option, with many dedicated bike lanes throughout the city.
7. Car Insurance
Car insurance is mandatory in Belgium. There are three main types: third-party liability (which is the minimum required by law), partial coverage, and full coverage. It’s advisable to compare different insurance companies to find the best deal.