Are there any special requirements for driving or hiring a car in Moldova?
Moldova is a beautiful Eastern European country that is still trying to shake off the deprivations and corruption of Soviet times.
There are few cars there and with a low population, the roads are quiet and pleasant to drive despite needing a lot of repairs!
Seat Belt Laws
Every occupant of a moving car in Moldova must wear a seat belt.
Drinking and Driving
The legal limit for alcohol in the blood whilst driving is 30mg per 100ml of blood. This is substantially less than that in the UK and means that even half a pint of beer can take you over the limit. Punishments are progressive depending on how far over the limit you are but above 80mg you are looking at a large fine, confiscation of your licence for up to five years and, depending on the circumstances, possibly a short jail term.
Must Have Documents
UK and EU licences are accepted. If you are a non-EU driver then you’ll need an international driving permit. The licences allow you to drive in Moldova for thirty days. You also need to carry your proof of vehicle ownership document and it’s helpful to be able to prove the level of insurance cover by way of the certificate or a green card.
The speed limits for Moldova are as follows:
Motorways: 110 km/h
Open roads: 80 km/h
In Town: 50 km/h
Minimum Driving Age
You have to be at least 18 to drive in Moldova. If you’re hiring a car then you’ll need to be 23 or 25 in some cases. Under 25 or with limited driving experience, you may have to pay an additional daily charge.
Safety Camera Warning Devices
Warning devices are not illegal in Moldova but given the condition of the roads in rural areas, we’d recommend sticking to the speed limit.
On the Spot Fines
If you are caught committing a traffic offence you will be given a ticket with details of the offence, the fine and where to pay it. In some parts you may be asked for the fine by the police officer. This is illegal and, if safe to do so, you should politely ask to be given a ticket for the offence or ask for a receipt.
Child Safety Rules
In Moldova, no children under the age of twelve can sit in the front of a vehicle. Those under seven must be secured in an age, height and weight appropriate seating system.
A minimum of third party insurance is compulsory in Moldova. Whilst you don’t have to carry the documentation with you, it’s a good idea to. Green cards are also valid in Moldova.
Rules of the Road
Standard European driving laws apply with one or two exceptions.
• You must carry a first aid kit, a fire extinguisher, a high visibility jacket and a flashing red light
• You must use headlamp deflectors if using a UK car.
• You must use dipped headlights from 01 November to 31 March
• Winter tyres are obligatory from 01 December to 01 March
• During the day you must drive using dipped headlights
Make sure that the vehicle being towed is securely attached and that you have good visibility. Lower speed limits apply out of town (70 km/h) and on motorways (90 km/h)
Fixed cameras aren’t very common in Moldova but you are likely to encounter mobile speed traps. Tickets from the few fixed cameras will be sent to the registered address of the vehicle whilst mobile units will give you a ticket.
Using Mobile Phones when driving
You must not use a mobile phone without a hands free kit in Moldova.
In many parts of Moldova, parking is easy to find and is unregulated. Just make sure you are not causing an obstruction. In the cities, especially the capital Chisinau, you’ll find it difficult to park near the centre and it’s best to park outside the centre and use public transport.
Paid parking is found in the centres of the main towns and cities and can be operated by the municipality or simply an enterprising local. There are few parking meters and on street ticket machines as most parking is in organised lots or garages.
Enforcement of parking is done by the police and if you park inconsiderately, you can be towed away. Reclaiming your vehicle will incur a fine, the towing charges and the fees from the car pound.
The EU disability badge is not recognised in Moldova but if you present it at a parking place and ask for assistance, you are likely to get some help finding a more convenient space.
Motor Way Signs
Motorway signs in Moldova have white writing on a blue background.
I have broken down - Mi-am rupt în jos
Where is the police station? - Unde este secția de poliție?
I have a flat tyre - Am o pană de cauciuc
I have been in an accident - Am fost într-un accident
Where is? - Unde este?
Where can I buy petrol? - Unde pot cumpăra benzină?
Moldovan traffic lights follow the sequencing laid down in the Vienna Convention and as such should be familiar to most drivers. You cannot turn on a red light unless there is a sign indicating so.
There are currently no toll roads in Moldova.
The emergency number in Moldova is 902 for the police and 903 for other emergency services.
What to do in an emergency
If you encounter problems with your hire car, use the telephone number given to you by the local agent. If you are driving your own car, contact the local partner of your home emergency organisation, remembering to take the details with you before you leave home.
If you are involved in an accident you must call the police and await their arrival. Whilst waiting, take photographs of the scene and, if possible, don’t move the vehicles until the police have arrived. Take details of any witnesses and ask the police for a copy of their report for your insurers.
As of August 2014, the average price of 95 octane unleaded petrol in Turkey is 74p a litre whilst diesel is 71p. Prices can vary between the main cities and rural areas.