"Priority to the right - chaos from the left!" Driving Tip by GillianMcLaughlin

Driving, Brussels: 14 reviews and 6 photos

  La Petite Ceinture - inner ring road
by GillianMcLaughlin
 
 

To the casual observer, Brussels traffic seems to move in a chaotic fashion. There may indeed be some truth in that. When I first arrived I would stand mesmerised, watching cars negotiating crossroads- completely perplexed! In fact, once you understand what they are doing, it's actually all very logical - ineffective, but logical nevertheless.

The basic principle is that you should give way to traffic entering from a road on the right (priority to the right as it's known). This can be quite a hair-raising experience if you happen to be on a major boulevard and a car appears from a side road you hadn't noticed. However if you get into the habit of being prepared to stop at any given moment, you should be OK. BUT watch out - if you stop when you have priority, you give your priority away and other drivers have the right to proceed.

Now hold that principle and let's look at the roundabout protocol. It's exactly the same - which means that you give way to traffic coming on to the roundabout. The cumulative effect of this policy is gridlock - frequent gridlock!

All is not lost though. The city planners have realised that something needs to be done. They have begun to paint tiny triangles at junctions. There are all but invisible unless you meet them head on. In all instances it means that you must give way - whether you are arriving from the right or not.

At last inspection the new system seems to be working... after a fashion.

My best advice though, is to walk - or use the buses - or the metro - or the trams...

Ah yes... trams... therein lies another warning or danger tip!

Review Helpfulness: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Apr 6, 2004
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