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Driving Laws in Greece

Driving laws often vary in different countries and as you are aware of, it is vital to know the most important and basic laws on driving in the country. In Greece, the laws differ from those in other European countries and therefore should be noticed.

Firstly, and most obvious is that you need a driving license to drive a vehicle anywhere. In Greece the minimum age to obtain a driving license is 17. Rental firms will not lease cars under 21's, but the minimum driving age in Greece is 17. If planning to drive in Greece, make sure you either acquire a Greek license or one from your home country and ensure that it is valid in Greece.

Children under 10 are not legally allowed to sit in the front seat of the car, even as a passenger. Children under 10 years old must be seated in the back of the car. Any child between 3 and 11 years who is less

than 1.35cm in height should be seated in a childs seat by law. Babies and small children under 3 years old should also be sat in an appropriate childs seat. A child can legally be sat in an adults seat with an adults seat belt when he or she is either 12 years or over or if they are taller than 1.35cm. It is also law for seatbelts to worn at all times whilst in the vehicle.

The traffic police are legally allowed to remove and confiscate the number plates of those vehicles that are parked illegally. The consequences for parking illegally are very strict in Greece, so it is extremely important to park in a legal car parking space. The law may differ for cars and vehicles that are not registered on Greece, but it is safer to still park in a legal place, to avoid the harsh consequences.

Whilst travelling in a vehicle in Greece, certain equipment should be kept in the vehicle at all times. This is: a first-aid kit, warning triangle and a fire extuingisher. It is also compulsory to have any driving documents and your driving license in the vehicle when travelling. In the case of being stopped by the police on an inspection, it is compulsory to have these documents and equipment in the vehicle.

Every on-road vehicle should be insured in Greece, so whether it is a motorbike, car or van the vehicle must have insurance. There are many reputable insurance companies in Greece and can be found easily.

To avoid paying fines and speeding tickets, it is worth observing the road signs that tell you the speed limit. The speed limits vary depending on whether the road is in a rural or bisy area or on a motorway. Speed limits also differ depending on the vehicle you are driving. For cars the average speed limits are 80 mph or 130 km/h on a motorway, 55-70mph or 90-120km/h in a rural or quieter area and 31mph or 50 km/h in busy areas. For motorcycles the limit is 55 mph or 90 km/h on a motorway, 43 mph or 70 km/h in a quieter area and 24 mph or 40 km/h in busier areas.

When filling up, you will notice that diesel and unleaded petrol are most popularly used. Many petrol stations accept credit cards, but if you are planning to bring your card from your home country, it is best to inform your card user or bank that you will be using it in Greece, to avoid any complications or problems. Some fuel stations don't accept foreign or any cards and may ask you to pay in cash. Unleaded petrol and diesel are widely available all over Greece, but there is no leaded petrol however Greece have their own alterantive called 'super2002'. It is illegal to use LPG in a private vehicle and can only be used in some company vehicles, but mainly taxi's. It is also illegal to carry a can of fuel of any kind in your car. Punishments can be hard for those who disobey the laws.

There is almost a no tolerance law for drinking and driving in Greece. For new drivers, the level of alcohol in the bloodstream must not exceed 0.02%, this applied to all drivers that have owned a license for two years or less. Other, more experienced drivers who have held a license for more than two years, must not exceed the amount of 0.05% of alcohol in the bloodstream or else it will be classed as a criminal offence and therefore punishments will be served. These laws apply for those driving any kind of vehicle and quite often punishmets are harder for those whose jobs involve driving.

It is law for motorcycles to have dimmed headlights during the day time. There is also a law that cars should have dimmed headlights in bad weather, where it is difficult to see. Motorcyclists should also wear head protection such as a crash helmet, which is compulsory.

If sanctioned with a fine, you must pay the fine to the correct address, which is usually the public treasury office. On the spot fines should not be payed there and then, but should be payed to the public treasury office within 10 days of being issued the fine. The Greek police can issue fines for many differecnt offence such as drinking and driving, illegal parking, unneccesary use of the car horn, speeding and other offences.