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.
English roads are full of double yellow lines. They signify areas that you cannot wait or park your car on. These lines are a very frequent sight and can sometimes make finding a parking space a difficult task.
Here in Romania, double yellow lines don’t exist. Occasionally you see a standing sign to state that you can’t park in a particular place – but there are no painted signs on the floor. Parking seems to be quite a relaxed issue – but as a non driver, I could have a misinformed view of it. However, on first impressions parking rules seem much more relaxed when compared with the UK. People tend to park in all kinds of places, and anywhere they can (which here, is everywhere!).