Advice for driving in Romania
27 September 2023
Tips, Checklist & Legal Requirements
The World Economic Forum ranked Romania 126 out of 134 states for road quality. Currently Romania has a total of only 543 kilometers of motorways. While major streets in larger cities and major inter-city roads are generally in fair to good condition, many secondary roads are in poor repair, unpaved, badly light, narrow, and lacking road markings. A main contributor to this issue is that the infrastructure has failed to keep pace with the dramatic increase in motor vehicles since 1990.
If you are looking to drive in Romania then you you must be at least 18 years old and have a valid UK driving licence, insurance and vehicle documents.
Please note, a dirty vehicle is against the law in Romania.
What do I need to drive in Romania?
- · 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.
Driving practices in Romania can be aggressive and other drivers and pedestrians are often inattentive. Combined with generally poor road conditions, the result is a significant traffic mortality rate. According to the EU stats, Romania has the second highest per vehicle rate of traffic fatalities of any country in the EU with 9.6 deaths per 100,000 of population in 2012. It is essential for drivers to be alert to potential issues and to be be prepared to be defensive when driving.
Romania Driving Laws
When entering Romania your vehicle is classed as a temporarily imported vehicle and a road tax is levied on all motor vehicles. Road tax badges known as "rovinieta" are purchaseable from border crossing points. Drivers of vehicles registered abroad who are not in possession of a valid green card must take out short term insurance at the frontier, so make sure your car insurance policy covers Romania and includes a "Green Card". Foreign drivers failing to purchase a "rovinieta" during their stay may incur a fine between €3000 to €4000 when leaving the country. Proof of insurance and the cars registration document is required when purchasing the "rovinieta".
If a temporarily imported vehicle is damaged before it arrives in Romania, the owner must ask for a report on the damage so that he can export the vehicle without problems. This can be done with either a Customs Officer or a Policeman. If any damage occurs inside Romania, then a report must be obtained at the scene of the accident. Damaged vehicles may only be taken out of the country on production of this evidence.
It is compulsory in Romania for front and rear seat occupants to wear seat belts, if fitted. It is the driver’s responsibility to ensure all passengers under 18 are appropriately restrained. Children under the age of 12 are not permitted to travel on the front seats of vehicles.
Romanian Police can impose fines and collect them on the spot, but a receipt must be obtained. A vehicle which is illegally parked may be clamped and removed. If you are fined, the amount is halved if the fine is paid within 48 hours.
It is compulsory in Romania to carry the following safety equipment within any vehicle with more than 2 wheels:
- · A Warning triangle
- · Reflective Jacket
- · Fire extinguisher
- · Headlamp converters
- · Snow chains (Winter time)
- · Spare bulb kit is recommended
Standard speed limits (km/h) unless otherwise stated by traffic signs:
Urban roads (31 mph).
Non-urban roads (62 - 56 mph).
Motorways / expressways (80 mph).
Urban roads (31 mph).
Non-urban roads (56 - 50 mph).
Motorways / expressways (74 mph).
Drinking and Driving
The Romanians take there drinking and driving laws very seriously and drinking and driving is strictly forbidden. Offenders can face having their driving licence suspended for a maximum of 90 days or a prison sentence.
Motorcycles driving in Romania are required to raise their profile to other road users and the use of dipped headlights during the day is compulsory. The wearing of crash helmets is also compulsory for both driver and passenger of any two-wheel motorised vehicle.
Fuel in Romania is similar to the UK and leaded, unleaded petrol, diesel and LPG are all available. Petrol stations will allow you to top up a jerry can but note that you cannot leave the country with them full.
It is forbidden to drive at night if you have faulty lighting and additional headlamps are also prohibited.
Dipped headlights must be used by all vehicles outside built up areas during the day and is recommended for all in poor daytime visibility in any location.
General Driving Advice
So to recap here is our checklist for driving in Romania:
- Ensure you have proper documentation: valid driving licence, ID, driving insurance covering driving in Romania, proof of ownership (registration certification).
- Take plenty of breaks when driving long distances.
- Ensure all passengers are wearing seat belts and remember children 12 and under are not allowed to travel in the front seat.
- Ensure your car is equipped with the following safety equipment: A warning triangle, reflective jacket, fire extinguisher, headlamp converters and snow chains if driving in the mountains in Winter time.
- 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 50 km/h (31 mph), outside built up areas are 90 km/h (56mph) and 110 km/h (68 mph) for dual carriageways.
- The use of the horn is prohibited between 2200hrs & 0600hrs in built up areas.
The team at European Breakdown Cover hope that this information has been useful and wish you "în condiţii de siguranţă călătorie" on your next trip to Romania.
Driving through Romania to another destination? You might like to read our guides to:
Need breakdown cover for Romania? 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