Advice for driving in Latvia
3 December 2023
Tips, Checklist & Legal Requirements
The minimum age at which a UK driving licence holder may drive a car or motorbike in Latvia is 18. All valid UK driving licences should be accepted in Latvia.
If you are stopped by the Police you can be charged an on the spot fine even for the slightest of speeding offences. The police can issue but not collect fines on the spot. The fines have to be paid or an appeal lodged within 30 days.
Wheel-clamping and towing are in operation for illegally parked vehicles.
Credit cards are accepted at most petrol stations, but check before you fill up the car as it may be embarrasing if you dont have the cash to hand.
- · Valid driving licence
- · Proof of identification (passport)
- · Insurance documents (third part or above)
- · Proof of ownership (registration certificate)
If you do not own the vehicle you are driving, you are advised to obtain written permission from the registered owner.
Latvia’s road incident rate is higher than that of the UK. In 2012 there were 177 road deaths in Latvia, this equates to 8.7 per 100,000 of population and compares to the UK average of 2.8 road deaths per 100,000 of population in 2012.
Latvia Driving Laws
It is compulsory for passengers in cars to wear seatbelts in the front and rear of vehicles. Children under 1.5m or 12 years of age must use an appropiate restraint.
Equipment required by drivers:
It is compulsory in Latvia to carry the following safety equipment within any vehicle with more than 2 wheels:
- · A Warning triangle
- · Fire extinguisher
- · First aid kit
- · Headlamp converters
It is recommended that drivers carry a spare parts kit which includes a fan belt, replacement bulbs and spark plugs.
Standard speed limits (km/h) unless otherwise stated by traffic signs:
Urban roads (31 mph).
Non-urban roads (56 mph).
Any instruments that interfere with Police operations including radar detector are banned.
The maximum permitted level of alcohol in the bloodstream for drivers with more than 2 years experience is 0.05 per cent. For drivers with less than 2 years experience the maximum permitted level of alcohol in the bloodstream is 0.02 per cent. Penalties are severe.
Motorcycles must use dipped headlights at all times and the wearing of crash helmets is compulsory for both driver and passenger.
Using a mobile phone while driving is not allowed but the use of 'hands free' equipment is allowed.
Use of dipped headlights is compulsory at all times. At night the use of full beam, in built up areas, is prohibited. Rear fog lights may only be used when visibility is less than 50 metres or in case of strong rain or intense snow.
Driving in Winter
Winter tyres are compulsory between 1st December and 1st of March.
General Driving Advice
Here is our checklist for driving in Latvia:
- Ensure you have proper documentation: valid driving licence, ID, driving insurance covering driving in Latvia, proof of ownership (registration certification).
- Take plenty of breaks when driving long distances.
- Ensure rear passengers are wearing seat belts and remember children under 1.5m or 12 years of age must use an appropiate restraint when sitting in the front.
- Ensure your car is equipped with the following safety equipment: A Warning triangle, Fire extinguisher, First aid kit and Headlamp converters.
- Check fuel compatibility as some fuels may not be compatible with your vehicle.
- Do not drink and drive.
- Observe local speed limits – as a general rule built up areas have limits of 50km/h (31 mph), outside built up areas are 90km/h (56mph). In car radar detectors are illegal.
- Dipped headlights are mandatory even in daytime conditions.
Driving to Latvia through another destination? You might like to read our guides to:
Need breakdown cover for Latvia? Eurobreakdown.com can provide you with comprehensive single trip breakdown cover or annual multi trip breakdown policies with a best price guarantee.
Reference: The statistics mentioned on this page were sourced from the Reported Road Casualties Great Britain:2012 Annual Report and, to the best of Eurobreakdown.com’s knowledge, are correct at the time of publication (June 2014).
For general European driving tips click here