Speed Limit Road Sign - in Kilometers Driving in Europe
(Things you should know.)

Look out for falling off the edge into the water

If you plan on driving in Europe you should know something about the road signs that are used. The following examples show you the signs I believe are most important. It always helps if you can read the language a little. I am reminded of the American couple driving in Germany. They drove into a town and found a legal parking spot on the street, they wrote down the name of the street and explored the town. Later, when they were ready to leave they found the street and walked up and down without finding their car. When they spotted a policeman they were happy that he could speak English and they told him that they thought the car had been stolen. The policeman asked to see the name of the street they had written down and they showed him the paper with the word "Einbahnstrasse" written down. Einbahnstrasse is the German word for "One Way". I have amused several European friends with this story. I change it for Italians to "Senso Unico" which means one way in Italian.

If you are driving in Spain you may run into the "turn right to turn left" rule. On many roads you are not allowed to make a left turn, instead there is a sort of exit ramp off to the right just before the point where you would turn left. You take this right turn off the road for a few meters and then it curves back left towards the road you were just on with a Stop. You stop and look for an opening from both directions and then cross the traffic.

On multi-lane roads (2 or more lanes in both directions) you never pass on the right. You may note that the left lane is moving quite fast and this is where you pass and not where you drive except when you are passing. If you pass someone on the left and stay in the lane too long you will quickly see someone "riding your bumper" and flashing their lights.

In some areas traffic from the right has the Right of Way. This is especially true in France so you should be careful.

Try and pick up a Parking Disk at a tobacco shop or newsagent. This is a small piece of cardboard with a rotating disk with a sort of clock. You set the clock on the disk to the current time and place it on your dashboard to indicate the time you left the vehicle. You use this disk in parking areas where parking is limited to a certain amount of time. Pay and Display parking areas are also very common. Here you find a parking spot and then look on a nearby wall or pole for a Pay and Display machine. You buy a ticket at these machines for the time you want to park and place the ticket in your windshield.

A Parking garage in Malaga, Spain, had a neat feature. The garage was multi-storied and underground. Before the time stamped ticket was issued, your license plate was recorded to deter theft. When we started to drive around looking for a parking space we noticed that there was a small green light over vacant spaces and a small red light over the occupied spaces. Made it easy to look down a parking row and see if there were any spaces available.

Here are some signs you will see where the meaning should be obvious.

Yield SignTwo way street signOne way street signTraffic Circle AheadDanger aheadLook out so you don't fall off the edge into the water.

The signs below may not be quite so obvious....

No Parking, stopping okay, but stay in vehicleNo Parking or StoppingNo Passing ZoneEnd of No Passing Zone - Okay to passDo Not EnterParking Place - Car Park
No vehicles AllowedMinimum SpeedEnd of Speed LimitYou have priority over traffic coming from the right.End of priority, look out for traffic from the right that might have priority.This way to Center of Town.
On-Coming traffic has right of way.You have priority over on-coming trafficSpeed Limit in Kilometers per hourEnd of speed restrictionYou must have a disc card to park and use it.Pay Parking - Pay and Display
Road Narrows SignPedestrians Only SignLook out for traffic backed up aheadCars will be towed sign.