Observing vehicles and the driving behaviour of car owners in Romania is quite fascinating. Many European countries tend to have chaotic drivers, and here is no different. With the addition of trams, the roads here in Oradea can sometimes be quite intimidating. Trams don’t necessarily have a separate ‘lane’ – more often than not, cars can be seen driving in front of, behind and generally meandering between trams.
Road rage seems a little more prevalent here than in England – but it tends to come about for trivial reasons. On more than one occasion I have witnessed police being called to ‘incidents’ involving angry drivers in a dispute over a parking space outside of small roadside supermarkets. It is somewhat amusing to witness – if only to learn some Romanian profanity (which is also very different and sometimes almost nonsensical!)
Some general facts:
- As in England…the use of mobile phones in cars is prohibited – but contrary to England, many people here do not adhere to this rule.
- In Romania it is compulsory to use your headlights during the day on major roads and outside of built up areas.
- Driving tests are conducted by the police! You also have to perform all manoeuvres during the test.
- For the first year after passing, you must display a sign in the back window of your car that shows a black exclamation mark against a yellow background.
Car registration numbers are created using a slightly different system – the first two letters are the initials of the county where the car originated from. For example all cars originating from Bihor county, start with BH. I found it so strange when I suddenly noticed almost every car in Oradea beginning with BH.
It is not uncommon to see this after a wedding has taken place. The new husband and wife walk along the streets of the town or city, followed by their families and friends. Music and drums follow the procession to announce to the public that a wedding has taken place.