Discover the answer to all your questions concerning driving too slowly on the motorway, what to do if you fill up with the wrong fuel, etc.
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Can cyclists turn right at a red light, or not?
Cyclists have to obey the traffic light signals, they can’t just go through a red light. However, in 2012, two new traffic signs were added to the highway code, whereby cyclists can proceed or turn right at some intersections while cars are stopped at a red light. You may do so:
- only when you see at the traffic lights a small inverted triangle containing a yellow cycle and an arrow pointing ahead or to the right.
- at some intersections in Brussels and Ghent.
But pay attention, because cycling through a red light does not give you right of way. These signs are designed to stop cyclists from waiting needlessly at intersections when they could safely proceed or turn right.
Is it an offence to drive too slowly (on the motorway)?
We’ve all heard a lot about speeding, but you can also be fined for driving too slowly. And that is because driving too slowly is dangerous too. The highway code states that “no driver may hinder the normal progress of other drivers by driving abnormally slowly without a valid explanation, or by braking suddenly if not required to do so for reasons of safety”. The term ‘abnormally slowly’ is obviously open to interpretation. Only on her motorways does Belgium enforce a minimum speed of 70 km/h. However, it is practically impossible to be caught for driving too slowly (think of all the traffic queues). You would have to be caught in the act by a policeman. This happens about 650 times a year on the Belgian roads. The fine for driving too slowly is 55 euros.
Are there any special rules for transporting pets in the car?
Pets in the car are considered part and parcel of your load. This implies that they meet the requirements for car loading and that they must not hinder the driver in the course of driving. The Belgian highway code does not make it compulsory to keep pets in place in the car, but dogs and cats have minds of their own and you cannot always keep them under control. Given that an animal (like a passenger without a seatbelt) becomes a heavy projectile in an accident, it is recommendable that pets be kept in place in the car by means of:
- a harness
- a special belt
- a barrier in the boot
- a bench, a type of crate which fixes in the boot.
Take care when driving abroad, because in some European countries it is compulsory to keep animals in place.
What should you do if you fill up with the wrong fuel?
Drivers regularly make this mistake when filling up. It usually happens with diesels, because the pistol on the diesel pump is larger than the petrol. If you fill up with the wrong fuel,
- the most important thing is not to start the engine. Fuel could enter the engine as soon as you turn the key in the ignition.
- it is best to contact a tow service and have the car towed away. You will be able to have the fuel tank emptied and cleaned by a mechanic without any further problems.
- if petrol gets into a diesel engine it may be necessary to replace the whole of the fuel system. And that can quickly run up to a couple of thousand euros.