Driving advice for every country in Europe

Find up-to-date driving laws and advice for any country in Europe before you visit, including any accessories you may need to purchase. Don't forget the RAC provides European breakdown cover while you're driving in Europe.

Driving in Latvia

Population: 1,973,700
Area: 64,589 Km sq
Currency: Euro

Top 10 popular attractions:  

  • Rundāle Palace and Museum
  • Aglona Basilica
  • Old Riga
  • Jurmala city
  • The Historical Centre of Kuldīga
  • Gauja National Park
  • Turaida Museum Reserve
  • Ventspils
  • Liepāja
  • Cēsis Old Town


Driving licence:

Visitors riding or driving in Latvia must have reached the minimum age required to drive/ride a vehicle of equivalent category even if they are qualified to drive at a lower age in their country of residence. You must be 18 or over to drive a private motor vehicle in Latvia.

All EU driving licences are recognised.

Important documents:

Vehicles from the UK may be imported into Latvia for up to 6 months in any period of 12 months. When driving in Latvia the following documents should be carried:

  • Full, valid driving licence*
  • Proof of Insurance (third party or above)
  • Proof of ID (passport)
  • Proof of ownership (V5C certificate)

While driving in Latvia you are required by law to carry the following items. Hefty on-the-spot fines can be issued for failing to carry specific items:

  • Headlamp beam deflectors (Depending on your car, you will either need deflector stickers or have to adjust the beam manually)
  • A first-aid kit & fire extinguisher is compulsory aboard all motor vehicles
  • Warning triangle (Any motor vehicle travelling in Latvia, regardless of country of registration, must carry 2 warning triangles)
  • All vehicles must have their lights on day and night
  • Reflective Jacket (for use when walking on the road at night or daytime)
  • Motorcyclists (Safety helmets are compulsory for drivers and passengers of mopeds and motorcycles)

Rules of the road & regulations:

Rules of the road:

  • Overtaking & passing

    The regulations conform with the 1968 Road Traffic Convention.

    Many roads have a hard shoulder which slower vehicles pull into to allow faster vehicles to pass.

  • Priority

    The regulations conform with the 1968 Road Traffic Convention.

Snow chains:

From 1st December to 1st March, winter tyres are compulsory for vehicles up to 3.5 tonnes and their trailers.

Spiked tyres are prohibited from 1 May to 1 October.  There is no special speed limit for cars with spiked tyres.

Seat belts:

It is compulsory to wear seat belts on all seats equipped with a belt.

Travelling with children:

Children under 150 cm in height must use a special seat or the lap strap of an adult seat belt.

Speed limits:

In built-up areas: 

50 km/h
(in residential areas: 20 km/h)

Outside built-up areas:

On normal roadsOn dual carriageways
Motorcycle90 km/h100 km/h*
Vehicles up to 7.5 tonnes90 km/h100 km/h*
Vehicles up to 7.5 tonnes with trailer80 km/h90 km/h
Vehicles over 7.5 tonnes80 km/h90 km/h

*A speed of 110 km/h is allowed where signs indicate


  • On-the-spot fines

    The police can issue a fine on-the-spot and demand immediate payment of fines.


  • Parking Regulations

    In towns motorists must take care not to park on tram lines.

    Parking at the side of the road against the traffic flow is permitted on roads with only one lane of traffic in each direction and without tram line in the middle.

    Theft of cars and visible valuable articles left in cars is common.  It is therefore advisable to use guarded car parks whenever possible.

  • Enforcement of parking regulations

     The police can collect fines on the spot.

  • Disabled parking access

    There are reserved parking spaces for the disabled which are sign posted.  These may also be used by foreign disabled motorists provided they are in possession of the blue badge.

Traffic lights:

  • Traffic lights

    The international three-colour system of traffic lights is used in Latvia.

Drink/drug driving:

  • Legal limit

    The legal limit for drivers is 0.05% alcohol in the blood.

  • Alcohol

    The police can stop a vehicle and ask the driver to take a test for alcohol or drugs.

    A driver must not refuse to be breathalysed; otherwise the penalties are very severe.

Roads & fuel

Availability of fuel

Fuel is quite easily obtainable both in and outside main towns.

The main petrol companies are Neste, Shell, Statoil and Texaco. There are a number of 24-hour petrol stations in Riga.

A special winter diesel fuel with a very high congealing point is available in winter.

Means of payment

Most service stations accept Visa and Mastercard.  Cash payment is accepted in local currency only.

Useful numbers:

112 - Here's a really important bit of knowledge; you can dial 112 from anywhere in Europe and an operator will connect you to an emergency service in the country you're visiting. Operators can answer your call in their native language, English, and French. 

Useful guides and maps

Michelin Motoring Atlas: Europe

Download  a copy of our full Driving Abroad report.

What RAC can do for you

RAC offers great-value, flexible RAC European breakdown cover tailored to meet your needs. We also offer comprehensive travel insurance, including cover for medical expenses, baggage, personal money and belongings. Whilst away, use our Route Planner (http://www.rac.co.uk/route-planner) for all your driving directions.

RAC can cover you against vehicle break down in Europe, with options available to suit your travelling requirements.

RAC European breakdown cover Basic and Comprehensive cover provides you with a wide range of benefits.

UK Government travel advice

See up-to-date travel advice


Source: All information in this document is sourced from the AIT (Alliance Internationale de Tourisme) & the FIA (Federation Internationale de l'Automobile) and, to the best of the RAC’s knowledge, is correct at the time of publication (May 2016.)
*Price for 1 day cover for up to 9 people travelling in a vehicle up to 1 year old in Zone 1.
RAC European Breakdown cover arranged and administered by RAC Financial Services Limited (Registered No 05171817) and provided by RAC Insurance Ltd (Registered No 2355834). Registered in England; Registered Offices: RAC House, Brockhurst Crescent, Walsall WS5 4AW. RAC Financial Services Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority in respect of insurance mediation activities. RAC Insurance Ltd is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.

British Embassy Riga

5, J.Alunana iela
LV 1010

Email britishembassy.riga@fco.gov.uk

Telephone 371 6777 4700

Fax: 371 6777 4707