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 Romania

Romania
Population: 21.4m
Area: 238,391 square kilometres
Currency: Leu (100 bani) – RON

Coronavirus update

Please be aware that driving in Europe may be restricted at the moment.

Check the Foreign travel advice section of the GOV.UK website for up to date advice on all European countries.

From thick Transylvanian forests dotted with the medieval villages and castles that inspired Bram Stoker’s Dracula, to Bucharest – the brutish and bustling capital – Romania is a land of a thousand adventures. 

But if you’re planning a road trip to Romania, it’s essential you’re fully prepared ahead of time as driving there has many differences to the UK. 

To make your trip to the Continent as safe and effortless as possible, we’ve put together a guide to everything you need to know before you go, from required documents to rules of the road.  

Driving a rented vehicle? Jump to the advice for driving a hire car in Romania section.

RAC European Breakdown Cover (Basic and Comprehensive) provides a wide range of benefits should you breakdown in Romania to ensure you stay safe. 

To supplement this, RAC also offers travel insurance. Cover will include medical expenses, baggage, personal money and belongings, among many other benefits.

European Breakdown Cover

Get covered from just £7 this winter. Plus, get a full refund if Covid-19 restrictions prevent travel.†

Advice for driving in Romania

advice-for-driving-in-romania

In an emergency

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 or French. 

Driving licence laws in Romania

Visitors must be aged 18 or over and hold a full, valid driving licence to legally drive in Romania. Riders of motorcycles up to 125cc must be aged 18 or over, while moped (not exceeding 50cc) riders must be aged 16 or over.  

Driving licences issued in EU and EEA countries are accepted. International driving permits are recognised, but not required.

Things to take when driving in Romania

Documents for driving in Romania

Vehicles from the UK can be temporarily imported into Romania for up to 90 days without formality. In order to stay on the right side of the law, the following documents should always be carried:

  • Full, valid UK driving licence
  • Proof of ID (passport)
  • Motor insurance certificate
  • V5 registration document

Do I need a GB sticker for driving in Romania?

Yes, you will need a GB sticker on your car to drive in Romania unless it’s equipped with EU number plates, which show the country code in a circle of stars on a blue background. 

Driving in Romania packing checklist

In addition to required documents, motorists are also required by law to carry the following items when driving to avoid fines:

  • Reflective jackets (mandatory to carry in your vehicle and wear if walking on the road or hard shoulder in the event of emergency or breakdown)
  • Warning triangle (compulsory in every vehicle with more than two wheels) 
  • Headlamp beam deflectors (depending on your car, you will either need deflector stickers or have to adjust the beam manually)
  • Fire extinguisher (compulsory in all vehicles)
  • First aid kit (compulsory in all vehicles)
  • Crash helmets are compulsory for riders of mopeds and motorcycles, as well as trikes and quads without closed bodywork. Mopeds and motorcycles on the road must have their lights on at all times
  • Green Card (although not a legal requirement, it could be useful to back up your insurance documents and show you've got the minimum legal level of cover. To find out more, contact your insurance company)

Specialist Breakdown Cover for Caravans and Motorhomes

RAC Arrival offers best in market UK and European cover for caravans, motorhomes and trailers.

Rules of the road in Romania

Overtaking and passing

In Romania, motorists drive on the right and overtake on the left. 

With the exception of trams, which are overtaken on the right, all vehicles must be overtaken on the left. Trams can be overtaken on the left in a one-way street, or if there is not enough room to overtake on the right.

On approaching a tram alighting point where there is no pedestrian island, the driver of a vehicle must stop at least 5 metres from the platform of the last carriage. They must not proceed until the doors of the tram have been closed.

Who has priority?

In built-up areas and at roundabouts, priority must be given to vehicles coming from the right. At roundabouts, vehicles already in roundabout traffic have priority over vehicles entering the roundabout, unless otherwise indicated.

Priority must always be given to ambulances, fire engines, trams and marching columns.

Outside built-up areas, priority must be given to vehicles on priority roads. These are usually marked. On narrow mountain roads, priority must be given to vehicles driving uphill.

Warning of approach

Horns are prohibited in towns between 2200 and 0600. Between these times, lights must be used as a warning of approach. 

Towing in Romania

Camper vans and cars with caravans are not allowed to exceed 12 metres in length, 4 metres in height and 2.55 metres in width. 

Seat belt law in Romania

It’s compulsory to wear seat belts in the front and rear seats of cars equipped with belts.

Failing to wear a seat belt is categorised as a class I fine (see below for more information).

Traffic lights

The international three-colour traffic light system is used in Romania.

Speed limits in Romania

Romania uses the metric system for all road signs, meaning speed limits and other road signs including distance are indicated using kilometres and metres. These are the general speed limits for private cars:

In built-up areas50km/h (unless otherwise stated on local signs)
Outside built-up areas90km/h – 100km/h (unless otherwise stated on local signs)
Motorways 130km/h

Special speed restrictions apply to certain classes of vehicle, including mopeds, motorhomes and vehicles with trailers, as well as newly-qualified drivers, so check before travel.

Speeding fines in Romania

Speeding fines in Romania are categorised as class III and class IV offences and depend on the speed at which offenders are caught, and the road on which they’re driving. 

Travelling with children in Romania

Children under the age of 12 years are not allowed to travel in the front passenger seat. A child up to 3 years old must use an appropriate child restraint for their size. 

A child under 12 years of age and shorter than 150 cm must use either an appropriate child restraint or a booster seat.

Bike helmet law

Bike helmets are not compulsory in Romania. 

Driving a camper van and towing a caravan in Romania

Camper vans and cars with caravans are not allowed to exceed 12 metres in length, 4 metres in height and 2.55 metres in width.

Loads mustn’t exceed 10 tonnes at a single axle.

Please note: The Department for Transport advises that A-frames are not legal for use by UK campers and caravanners abroad. In practice, this could mean towing your car while it’s fixed to a trailer.*

Penalties and fines in Romania

driving-tips-romania

On-the-spot fines

Police can impose on-the-spot fines to drivers of foreign-registered cars and collect half of the maximum fine there and then. A receipt must be given. 

In some cases, a fine may be reduced by 50% if paid within 48 hours, although this may not apply for certain more serious offences. 

Minimum and maximum fines

Fines in Romania are categorised into five different classes:

  • Class I – 2 to 3 points
  • Class II – 4 to 5 points
  • Class III – 6 to 8 points
  • Class IV – 9 to 20 points
  • Class V – 20 to 100 points

Each point represents 10% of the gross minimum wage as set by the Romanian government. In 2017, for example, one point was equal to 145 RON (around £27). 

Some motoring offences are considered criminal offences and can also lead to licence revocation, vehicle confiscation and a possible prison sentence.

The Cross-Border Enforcement Directive

An EU cross-border directive came into effect in the UK in May 2017. This is aimed at tracking down people who commit traffic offences in cars that are registered in an EU member state different to where the offence was committed.

If you commit a driving offence in Romania or any other EU country, the crime will effectively follow you back home to the UK where you can still be prosecuted.

Parking in Romania

Regulations

Drivers must park their vehicles on the right-hand side of the road in the direction of traffic and as near as possible to the edge of the road or pavement. 

Lines on the road may indicate any parking restrictions.

Paid parking

Bucharest is split into several zones for the purposes of paid parking and motorists can expect to pay up to 10 RON to park.

Enforcement of parking regulations

Illegally-parked vehicles are likely to be clamped or removed, with a fine imposed in both cases.

Disabled parking access

EU-issued disabled permits should be recognised in Romania.

Drink-driving law in Romania

Legal limit

The limit for drivers of private vehicles is 0.00%.

Drink-driving test

The police are able stop motorists and carry out a random alcohol test.

Tolls in Romania

Romania uses an electronic road tax system to collect tolls. The tax is payable at border crossing points, post offices and other institutions throughout the country. The tax is paid and your vehicle’s information is stored on a central government database. The amount you pay depends on the length of tax you require, ranging from around €3 for 7 days to €28 for 12 months. 

Availability of fuel

Alongside petrol and diesel, only LPG is available in Romanian fuel stations. There are no automatic petrol pumps in Romania, and you should look to use cash wherever possible. 

Driving a hire car in Romania

Not all of the information in the guide above will be relevant to those looking to rent a hire car in Romania. Though it might be a good idea to read through everything anyway, here are the most important things to know for drivers of rental vehicles:

Rental information

  • The minimum age to hire a car is 24, although this may vary depending on the vehicle type
  • You need a full, valid UK driving licence and usually a second proof of ID (passport)
  • Car rental companies ask that you have held your licence for a minimum term of 2 years
  • Some companies may require you to use a credit card for deposit
  • You may not be able to drive outside of Romania unless planned in advance - check with your hire company first
  • Make sure you get car hire excess insurance before your trip to protect yourself from unexpected costs. It's almost always cheaper to do this with a separate insurer and in advance

Hire car driving tips

  • Romanians drive on the right - the opposite to the UK
  • The national speed limit on motorways in Romania is 130km/h (80 mph). On a main road outside a built-up area it's 90 km/h to 100 km/h. For built-up areas it’s 50km/h.
  • Dial 112 in an emergency
  • If seat belts are fitted to your car, they must be worn by both drivers and passengers.
  • The blood alcohol content limit for drivers of private vehicles is 0.00%. 

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Driving in Romania FAQs

  • Can I drive my car in Romania?

    Yes. You must have a valid UK licence and V5 document, along with sufficient insurance and breakdown cover for your trip. You should also familiarise yourself with the laws around driving in Romania before you set off to keep yourself and other road users safe.

  • Can I drive my car in Bucharest?

    Yes, you can, but be aware that the city can become very congested in peak times and certain restrictions are in place as to where and when you can park, so do your homework beforehand.

  • How do I drive to Romania?

    Getting to Romania by car from the UK is an interesting journey that’ll take you through the heart of Europe. Firstly, you’ll need to take your car across the Channel to Calais on either a ferry from Dover or the Eurotunnel from Folkestone.

    Once you’re in Calais, drive down through France, Belgium, Germany, Austria and Hungary before crossing the border into Romania. The journey from Calais to Cluj-Napoca in Transylvania takes around 21.5 hours non-stop.

  • What side of the road do they drive on in Romania?

    Unlike in the UK, motorists drive on the right-hand side of the road in Romania and overtake on the left – which can take some adjustment if you’re used to driving on the left.

  • Can you drive in Romania with a UK licence?

    Yes, you can legally drive in Romania with your UK-issued driving licence without the need to apply for an International Driving Permit.

  • Do I need extra insurance to drive in Romania?

    Romania and the UK are both part of the Green Card System, a Europe-wide scheme allowing all countries to recognise foreign vehicle insurance policies of visiting motorists, so it’s quite possible your existing insurance will cover you.

    However, before setting off on your trip, you should contact your insurance provider to make sure no additional cover is required, as you won’t be able to buy short-term cover at the border entry points.

  • Is driving in Romania dangerous?

    Romania has a reputation as one of the least safe EU countries to drive in, with a higher road fatality rate than other European countries. If you stick to the main highways and motorways you should be fine, but be aware that some roads aren’t well illuminated or signposted, and throughout the country road quality can vary significantly.

  • Do I need a GB sticker to drive in Romania?

    You will need to display a GB sticker on the rear of your car unless it has EU number plates with the country code in a circle of stars on a blue background.

  • Do I need headlamp converters in Romania?

    Yes. Depending on your car, you should use deflector stickers or adjust the beam manually. This is so you don’t dazzle oncoming traffic when driving on the right side of the road at night.

  • What is the national speed limit in Romania?

    The national speed limit on Romanian motorways is 130km/h (80 mph). If you’re driving on a main road outside a built-up area, the limit varies between 90km/h and 100km/h. For built-up areas it’s 50km/h.

  • Do I need snow chains in Romania?

    Vehicles must be fitted with winter tyres if weather conditions so require. These tyres must be fitted on all wheels when roads are covered in snow or ice.

  • How much are toll roads in Romania?

    The amount you pay per toll will depend on the length of the road and the area you’re driving in.

    Visit https://www.viamichelin.com to calculate the cost of your journey.

  • How do you pay for toll roads in Romania?

    Romania uses an electronic road tax system to collect tolls. The tax is payable at border crossing points, post offices and other institutions throughout the country. The tax is paid and your vehicle’s information is stored on a central government database. The amount you pay depends on the length of tax you require, ranging from around €3 for 7 days to €28 for 12 months.

  • Does Romania use mph or km/h?

    Romania uses the metric system for all road signs, so speed limits and other signs including distance are shown in kilometres and metres.


Source: 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 (November 2020).
 
*https://www.campingandcaravanningclub.co.uk/helpandadvice/travelplanning/eurotraveladvice/europeancampingguide/page5

British Embassy Bucharest

Office: British Embassy Bucharest
Street Address: 24 Strada Jules Michelet
ZIP Code: 70154
City: Bucharest
Country: Romania

Telephone: +40-21 2017200
Fax: +40-21 2017299, 2017317

† Price for 1 day cover for up to 9 people travelling in a vehicle up to 1 year old in Zone 1. For more information visit rac.co.uk/breakdown-cover/european-breakdown-cover

† Comparison based on RAC Arrival against standard level of cover from other major providers as of 06.02.20

† Price for 1 day cover for up to 9 people travelling in a vehicle up to 1 year old in Zone 1. For more information visit rac.co.uk/breakdown-cover/european-breakdown-cover