Whether you’re a resident, cross-border worker or just passing through, if you drive a vehicle you must comply with the Luxembourg Highway Code. This also applies to where you can and can’t park! Being informed before you get behind the wheel means giving a thought to your safety, as well as that of your passengers and fellow drivers. myLIFE has put together a short article on the subject.
First, sit your driving test
Let’s start at the beginning. Learning to be a safe driver takes time. As soon as you reach the minimum driving age (18 years old), head straight to the closest certified driving school! You can start the application process for your preferred driving school from age 17, however if you’re a minor it must be signed by your legal guardian.
Obtaining your driving licence is a two-step process: first, you must sit at least 12 hours of theoretical training on the Highway Code, followed by at least 16 hours of driving lessons, even if you opt for accompanied driving with an authorised person fulfilling the eligibility requirements. The duration of this practical learning phase will be adjusted based on your aptitude and whether or not you already hold a driver’s licence in another category. And cars aren’t the only thing out there – there are also two-wheelers and larger vehicles (vans, trucks, etc.). The minimum driving age and conditions for obtaining these various licences vary depending on the category in question.
It should be noted that if you hold a foreign driver’s licence, you are authorised to drive in Luxembourg. However, if you wish to acquire a Luxembourg driving licence, you must provide the relevant authorities with a certificate of residence and undergo a medical examination.
The driver’s licence department is managed by the National Society of Automotive Traffic (SNCA).
The Highway Code applies not only to motorists and motorcyclists, but to cyclists and pedestrians as well!
The Highway Code
The Highway Code is a valid statutory document and may be subject to future amendments. It applies not only to motorists and motorcyclists, but to cyclists and pedestrians as well!
Here’s a quick summary of the applicable Highway Code at the time of writing. If you wish to examine the Highway Code in detail or find out which sections have been amended, go to the TRANSPORT portal published by the Ministry of Mobility and Public Works.
Generally speaking, the Luxembourg Highway Code does not contain any special particularities. Cars drive on the right-hand side of the road, and there are no unlimited speed sections. Your driver’s licence, on the other hand, is limited to 12 points, so you should be careful. Dura lex sed lex – the law is the law!
A reflective vest (you may have heard of the famous gilet jaunes…) must be carried AND worn in the event that your vehicle breaks down or you are forced to make an emergency stop on the side of the road. All other personal use is independent of the Highway Code.
All passengers are required to wear seatbelts. Children under 1.50 metres must be strapped into in a certified child safety seat up until 18 years of age, unless their weight exceeds 36 kg. All offences in this regard shall result in a loss of two points, the same penalty that applies to motorcyclists who fail to wear a helmet.
The Highway Code also states that it is strictly prohibited to use a mobile phone while driving without a hands-free device, under penalty of losing two points on your driving licence.
Use of a mobile phone while driving, or failing to wear a seatbelt (also applies to passengers) or helmet shall also incur a €145 fine.
Exceeding the speed limit by more than 50% of the maximum allowed speed shall result in the loss of four points on your licence.
No need to rush!
Depending on the route you’re taking, the following speeds are permitted:
- 130 km/h on motorways (110 km/h in case of rain, snow, fog, etc.);
- 90 km/h outside urban areas;
- 50 km/h in towns;
- 30 km/h or less in some residential or shared areas.
For trucks, buses and coaches, the speed limit is 90 km/h on motorways, and 75 km/h outside urban areas.
If you speed by more than 15 km/h in urban areas, over 20 km/h in the open countryside, and over 25 km/h on motorways, you’ll lose two points. Exceeding the speed limit by more than 50% of the maximum allowed speed shall result in the loss of four points on your licence.
If you speed, the loss of points is accompanied by a fine for the recorded offence. You can find more information on this subject on the police website.
Drink or drive: one or the other
For motorists, the authorised blood alcohol level is set at 0.5%. This represents around two standard drinks (250 ml for beer, 125 ml for wine and 30 ml for spirits). For new drivers (those having held their driving licence for less than two years), this level is 0.2%.
If you drive while intoxicated with a blood alcohol level of 0.5% or more, you may lose two points from your licence. This penalty also applies even if you’re not the driver, but have entrusted your vehicle to a person who is drunk. Four points will be removed if your blood alcohol level is 0.8% or more.
What’s with all this traffic?
Driving is still a very popular way to get around in Luxembourg, and the south of the country is often completely congested during rush hour. Bear this in mind when you travel.
Use your GPS or free apps like LuxTraffic or Waze, which can suggest alternative, faster or less congested routes. They also let you know if there are any works or accidents along your route. Don’t forget to take a look at www.cita.lu, either. This site offers a wealth of information on traffic conditions and works in real time.
Free car parks known as “P+Rs” (park-and-ride) are popping up all over the country to encourage motorists to use public transport.
No room for chance
Are you heading out run a few errands in town? Parking isn’t always easy in the capital; it’s always better to be informed and prepared so you can avoid a fine. In addition to paid, covered car parks, parking in Luxembourg is organised according to a colour code indicating the time of day when parking fees apply, the hourly rate and the authorised duration.
- White: free parking, limited to 30 minutes, from Monday to Saturday, 8am to 6pm;
- Orange: €2/h for no more than 2 hours, from Monday to Saturday, 8am to 6pm;
- Yellow: €1/h, from 3–5 hours maximum on roads, between 5–10 hours in car parks, Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm; *
- Green: €2/h, from 1–3 hours, then €1.50 from 4–5 hours, Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm; *
- Purple: €0.50/h for no more than 10 hours, from Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm.
* except for residents who hold a sticker allowing them to park for free in their residential area. The clock card (carte-horloge) also allows them to park for a maximum of two hours throughout Luxembourg City.
Free car parks known as “P+Rs” (park-and-ride) are popping up all over the country to encourage motorists to use public transport. There are five of them around Luxembourg City and are accessible by bus, enabling travellers to continue their journey to the centre or train station, for example.
Be careful: you run the risk of a fine if you don’t pay for your parking space.
In Luxembourg (like anywhere else), be careful when you get behind the wheel (or handlebar). Your safety, that of your passengers and your fellow road users, depends on it. Although Luxembourg is an open-minded country in many respects, its government doesn’t compromise on road safety, and drivers who do not comply with the laws are severely penalised.