Roads and Driving

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highway bulgaria

Things are improving in Bulgaria. Malko po malko, that is little by little the Bulgarian road system is improving with more and more highways opened. The Sofia-Burgas highway is ready since summer 2013. Be warned to have your car filled-up with petrol before you pass Plovdiv on your way to Burgas or before you leave Burgas on the way to Sofia. Our last test showed no stations on the highway between these cities. Only solution is to head into the country side.

The Pernik-Dupnitsa highway also opened in summer 2013. Now we anxiously wait for the opening of the Dupnitsa-Kulata stretch expected in 2015.

On country roads, secondary roads and even in towns and cities stay aware for holes they rarely are marked with more than a branch if they already are.

The road signs are the same to those in the other European countries combinations of Cyrillic and Latin become more and more common. Petrol (benzin) in Bulgaria is slightly cheaper than in Western Europe. The most reliable tanking places (benzinostantsiya) are the 24-hour stations of Shell, OMV and BP.

If you intend to travel by car around Bulgaria keep in mind the vignette system, for the national road network, except for the roads within populated areas. You can buy a vignette from all border-crossing points, all post offices and most gas stations. The prices of vignettes are in EUR and USD at the border crossings. They are different depending on the type of the vehicle and the time period, day, month, year.

Important requirements

Driving licenses valid in Bulgaria:
1. Those issued by the states that have signed the Vienna Convention
2. Certified translation of the driving license.
3. International driving license.

The minimum age for driving is 18 years. Traffic drives on the right. Speed limits are 120 kph on motorways, 90 kph (56 mph) on country roads and 50 kph (31 mph) in urban areas. You must use safety seat belts no matter where you sit in the car both inside and outside populated areas.

Talking on a cellular telephone while driving is not allowed (neither is drinking or eating officially), unless you use a hands-free device. Drinking and driving is strictly forbidden.

Traffic police and fines

The police often stop the motorists to check their documents: registration and ownership documents of the vehicle or a certified letter of attorney by the owner; international motor insurance /Green Card/ and passport. Do not get out of the car and wait for the police officer to approach, remain calm and polite.

Note: If you are got of breaking traffic rules you are not obliged to pay a fine on spot. The police can only impose a sanction by drawing up a statement. The due amount you have to pay at the customs when leaving the country. For all accidents we advice to directly let know the traffic police /KAT/ and have a report written. The process is lengthy but necessary for possible insurance disputes.

Also in Bulgaria you can dial the European emergency number 112.

The video below is shot from surveillance camera’s. Don’t become a victim like these people.

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