Driving in Bucharest

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

1. Understanding the Driving Culture

Driving in Bucharest can be a challenging experience for expats. The traffic is often heavy, and local drivers can be aggressive and unpredictable. It’s not uncommon to see drivers ignoring traffic rules, such as running red lights or not giving way to pedestrians. Therefore, it’s important to be alert and cautious at all times.

2. Choosing the Right Car

Given the traffic conditions and the state of some roads, a compact, sturdy car is recommended. Smaller cars are easier to maneuver in heavy traffic and to park in tight spaces. Also, cars with higher ground clearance can handle potholes and uneven roads better.

3. Parking in Bucharest

Finding a parking spot in Bucharest can be difficult, especially in the city center. Most parking spaces are paid, and the cost can add up quickly. It’s advisable to use public transportation or taxis when going to the city center. If you need to drive, consider using a parking app to find available spots.

4. Driving with an International License

Foreigners can drive in Romania with an international driving permit (IDP) for up to 90 days. After that, you will need to obtain a Romanian driver’s license. Note that the IDP must be accompanied by your valid national driving license.

5. Obtaining a Romanian Driver’s License

To get a Romanian driver’s license, you will need to pass a medical examination, a theoretical test, and a practical driving test. The tests are usually conducted in Romanian, so you might need a translator if you don’t speak the language. Also, you will need to provide documents such as your residence permit and your national driver’s license.

6. Road Conditions

While major roads and highways in Romania are generally in good condition, some secondary roads can be poorly maintained. Be prepared for potholes and uneven surfaces, especially in rural areas. Also, be aware that road signs might not always be clear or consistent.

7. Winter Driving

Winters in Romania can be harsh, with heavy snowfall and icy roads. If you plan to drive during winter, make sure your car is equipped with winter tires. Also, carry a shovel, a blanket, and other emergency supplies in case you get stuck in the snow.

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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