2020-11-19 13:53:10

Driving rules and their peculiarities in Greece

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A lot of different rumors and legends about driving in Greece are in the air for a long time, and the Greek drivers acquired a reputation as inveterate road slobs. Of course, rumors do not appear from nowhere. But, in fact, not everything is worth believing, and some car myths need to be refuted. If you decided to rent a car in Greece, you'll find a lot of useful info in our article.

Roads in Greece

Roads in Greece are of high quality and it is not dangerous to drive along them. However, when you plan routes, you need to consider some nuances:

  • All the drivers are usually polite on the road. But, as elsewhere, exceptions sometimes occur.
  • In small (and especially mountainous) towns, there are many one-way streets and just narrow roads with heavy traffic. If it is necessary to pass around, the drivers quickly agree about it on the spot.
  • In Greece, there are many long serpentines, so it is important to remember the rule: you can not drive down from the mountains just on the brakes. You need to apply engine braking.
  • On the highways, the recreation area is marked with the "P" sign as a car park.
  • In rural areas, direction signs are often set just right at the turns. And in the remote places they may be absent at all.

Keep in mind that the signs are small in size here, and they are not always clearly visible. Besides, many signs are defaced by vandals — they paint them over with paint or with advertising.

  • The road shoulder often plays the role of an additional lane for passing hurried drivers and just for slow driving.
  • Not all the gas stations work around the clock. Many of them close during the interval of 7-10 p.m.
  • Parking in cities is very dense and car parkings are mostly paid. It is regulated by color markings: yellow are for specialised vehicles’ places, blue ones mean paid parking, and white markings are used for free parking. In Athens, white markings mean paid parking, while blue ones are only for local residents.
  • In cities, you need to pay particular attention to the movements of motorcycles, mopeds and cyclists, which are often sharp and unpredictable.
  • To take out the things, it is affordable to double-park for a short time. But only in a wide area and if you do not create a hindrance.

Differences in traffic rules in Greece

In Greece, the general European traffic rules are applied. But you should consider that there are also some national features that are peculiar only to the Greeks.

  • Speed limits: in the city — 50 km/h, outside the city limits — 90 km/h, on highways — 130 km/h, on the motorway (sign “road for cars”) — 110 km/h.

The accuracy of speed-measuring radars is minimal (about 5% on average in Europe), and there is no permissible overspeeding. Therefore, you must not exceed the speed limit.

  • There are a lot of speed limit signs in Greece. But, from the point of view of local drivers, their number is offset by the non-necessity of their execution. 
  • However, you should not follow their example — fines for exceeding are quite not small.
  • The time of validity of the road sign, if it exists, is usually written on it.
  • Signs are not always repeated in English, but they are always intuitive.
  • Most road radars are marked with either a sign or markings. Therefore, it's hard to miss them.
  • On a roundabout, in most cases, the car entering the circle has the advantage, but not the one on it — it is the "give way to the right" rule. But before the circle, you always need to look at the priority signs — there are different traffic schemes.
  • In cities, you can find traffic lights with additional sections of yellow arrows for turning right when the red signal is turned on. But before turning, give the way to those who move through the green light.
  • Sometimes, ahead of traffic lights, 100 metres away, there are additional warning "traffic lights" with yellow signals that are flashing when red is about to light up on the main one.
  • Headlights (low beam) should be turned on only for their intended purpose: in the dark and in poor visibility.
  • Any anti-radars and radar detection devices are prohibited. The heaviest fine is for their use. And the driving license will be taken away even from a foreigner.
  • A child under at the age of 12 must ride in a special seat and must not sit in the front passenger seat.
  • In Greece, the stop sign often performs the function of "give way". There aren’t many priority signs. If there are no signs, the "give way to the right" rule works.
  • In countryside, local residents often do not use turn signals, and their maneuvers need to be foreseen. 
  • In Greece, they often flash their lights. Oncoming cars do this if there is an ambush or certain problems on the road; the cars that are coming from behind flash lights to ask to give them way. 

Almost all Greeks treat tourists well. That is why in any unclear situation, you can always ask local drivers for advice on what you should do.

Before you start moving through the green traffic light, make sure that other drivers have finally stopped running a red light.

Fines for breaking the driving rules in Greece

Fines in Greece are heavy and have recently been increasing. In many ways, the reason is the difficult economic situation in the country. Therefore, you must always be attentive everywhere.

Here are the most frequent fines that are given in Greece:

  • Exceeding the speed limit: for up to 20 km/h the fine is €40, from 20 km/h to 30 km/h it is €50, over 30 km/h — €175 and disqualifying from driving for 2 months is possible.
  • Parking violation — €80 or the license plate can be taken off for a worse violation.
  • Unfastened driver’s and passengers’ seat belts — €350.
  • Breaking the overtaking rules — €700.
  • Driving through a red light or prohibitory sign — €700.
  • For having not yielded to a pedestrian at the pedestrian crossing — €200.
  • Using a mobile phone while driving — €100.

this is how the fine looks like

Drinking and driving in Greece

The fines for drunk driving should be also mentioned. In Greece, such drivers are treated very strictly, despite the fact that the alcohol level of up to 0.5 ppm is allowed.

Fines for blood alcohol content:

  • from 0.5 to 0.8 ppm — €200;
  • from 0.8 to 1.1 ppm — €700;
  • more than 1.1 ppm — €1200 and disqualifying from driving; an arrest for 2 months is also possible.

How to pay a fine in Greece

The police only write a ticket and do not accept any payments on the spot. If you try to "fix the things up on the spot", you can easily be arrested.

The tickets can be paid at a bank department or at the post office. In order to do this, you just need to come there and give the manager the ticket and money.

You can also ask the traffic police officer — he will give instructions on where it is most convenient to pay the ticket.

Parking tickets are paid the same way.

Until 2018, there was a 50% discount on paying a fine during the first 10 days. But now it is canceled, and you will have to pay the fine in full.

Greek traffic police

Police officers in Greece treat tourists well, help in case of any difficulties and usually do not write tickets for trivial violations. 

In countryside, police officers are more loyal to drivers, and there are much more opportunities to "chat them up". In large cities, the guards are more serious, and they have more work to do.

But Greek policemen, like all southerners, always like to talk. Therefore, during a friendly conversation, you can try to "bargain" and reduce the amount of the fine. Young and beautiful girls are especially lucky in it.

Useful apps and phone numbers for special services: 

When traveling in Greece you should know these phones:

112 — general phone number of the rescue service

171 — tourist police and assistance for tourists

100 — police 

166 — ambulance

199 — fire service 

Useful apps for navigation

Waze

Social navigator, where traffic cameras are marked. Besides, users mark police patrols on the road in real time.

Google Maps

Surely, the largest and the most detailed map of Greece is in Google. Here you can find any object and get any direction.

MapsMe

A good detailed map that does not need Internet access. You only need to download maps of the areas where you are going to go in advance, and the route will be built without an Internet connection.

Conclusion 

As you can see, driving on Greek roads is not dangerous at all, when you follow the traffic rules of Greece, know the features of national driving and are careful. The Greeks are very hospitable and friendly people, and that is why Greece is one of the most visited countries in Europe.

So don’t be afraid to rent a car and explore Greece!

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