Start > Theory & regulations > Motorway & dual carriageway

Motorway & dual carriageway

Motorway

  • Indicated with the sign Motorway.
  • Traffic going in different directions is always separated. In other words, there are no oncoming cars.
  • No intersecting traffic on the same level. (Traffic is diverted through bridges and similar solutions.)
  • Both exit and entry ramps belong to the motorway, which means that the same rules apply to them.
  • Always stay in the right lane, except when overtaking.

Motorway entry ramps

A typical motorway.

A typical motorway. The carriageways are separate and there is a proper exit ramp.

  • If there is an acceleration lane, neither those in the acceleration nor those on the motorway have priority. Mutual consideration and adaptation apply.
  • If there is no acceleration lane, those entering have an obligation to give way to traffic on the motorway.
  • Leave the entry ramp as soon as you can. Remember to check your blind spot.

On the motorway, it is forbidden to

  • Stop and park.
  • Turn around (you may not use the turning areas and central barrier openings, which are intended for rescue vehicles and road workers).
  • Reverse
  • Walk
  • Cycle
  • Hitchhike or pick up hitchhikers
  • Drive a moped
  • Use the hard shoulder other than in an emergency.
  • Tow
    • Exception: If your car stalls on the motorway you are permitted to tow it on the hard shoulder, but only until the next exit.
  • Drive a vehicle that is not designed to drive at a speed of at least 40 km/h.
    • Exception: It is forbidden to drive an EU moped on the motorway, even though they are allowed to go up to 45 km/h.
  • Drive a tractor or heavy equipment
    • Exception: You are permitted to drive a piece of class I heavy equipment if it is set up as a mobile crane.

Motorway exit

The following signage is used for motorway exits:

Direction sign
First comes at least one preparatory direction and exit sign. The shape of the arrow shows you that there is a stretch of road left before you need to turn. This sign specifies the distance to the exit.

Direction sign
Following the preparatory signs comes the actual direction and exit sign. The shape of the arrow shows you that the turn is coming up.

Direction sign
Right where the exit departs from the motorway, there is an exit plate.

Risks associated with the motorway

Motorways are generally safe to drive on. However, there are a few risks that you should pay particular attention to:

Dual carriageway (clearway, two-lane expressway)

  • Indicated with the sign Dual carriageway.
  • Same level of safety and same rules as on a motorway, except:
    • Traffic is not always separated into different carriageways. There is thus a possibility of oncoming traffic.
    • There are no acceleration lanes and exits may be shorter than on motorways.
    • It is not forbidden to use the hard shoulder.

As the safety requirements are not as strict on dual carriageways, they have more frequent accidents than the motorways.

2+1 road.

2+1 road that prevents head-on collisions.

However, many dual carriageways have been fitted with cable barriers, making them into so called 2+1 roads. These are very effective in preventing head-on collisions.

Velocitization

When you slow down after driving fast over a longer period of time, it will probably seem to you that you are driving slower than you actually are. This phenomenon is called velocitization and can result in you misjudging distances and your stopping distance.

The risk of velocitization increases with

  • Wide roads without any distractions.
  • Quiet and comfortable cars.
  • Driving fast for a long time.

Heavy lorries

  • Heavy lorries may drive at a maximum 90 km/h on motorways and dual carriageways. On other types of road, the maximum speed for heavy lorries is 80 km/h.

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Last updated 2018-02-28.