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Transport > Europe > Car travel > Driving in Estonia, Latvia & Lithuania

Driving in Estonia, Latvia
& Lithuania

Persons in the front seat must wear seatbelts; and if the car has rear seatbelts, rearseat passengers as well should be fastened in these as. The legal blood alcohol limit is 0 mg, 0.4 mg in Lithuania. Speed limits are as follows: 56 kph (37 mph) in built-up areas (50 kph in Estonia), 90 kph (56 mph) outside built-up areas, 112 kph (68 mph) on divided highways; vehicles over 3.5 metric tons (3500 kg) are limited to 70 kph (44 mph). In summer there are speed limits of up to 110 kph (68 mph) on selected highways. Fines are levied for relatively minor excesses of these limits.


In Estonia all motorists must use headlights all the time; and except in the case of immediate and extreme danger, it is illegal to use your horn in towns and villages. In Latvia and Lithuania motorcyclists must use headlights at all times; and in Lithuania all drivers must use headlights at all times from 1 November to 1 March.


In towns the roads are full of potholes. Main roads outside towns are in good condition, but secondary roads are surfaced with gravel or sand. Driving at night is dangerous: locals often use sidelights only, slow-moving vehicles abound, and goods fallen from vehicles often clutter the roads.


Police in Lithuania are empowered to collect fines on the spot. In Estonia and Latvia you pay fines at a bank.


Due to a high incidence of vehicle theft and pilfering, guarded parking facilities should be used.


You must pay for parking in the centre of Tallinn and other main towns. Be careful not to park on tram lines. Due to high incidence of vehicle theft and pilfering, guarded parking facilities should be used. Tallin harbors some zones requiring parking tickets, and wheel clamps are used. In Lithuania, parking is prohibited within 15 metres of bus stops and within 5 metres of intersections; wheel clamps are not used, but illegally parked vehicles may be towed.


A new chain of Neste Oy stations service the M-12 Via Baltica motorway. These eleven stations are located every 150 km, open 24 hours, and accept Visa and Diners Club. Shell and Statoil stations are growing in number as well. Almost every station is now open 24 hours. Neste and UnoX stations are fully automatic, accepting cash and major credit cards; Statoil and Shell stations have shops in the stations. You might encounter tankers selling fuel alongside the main highways. Unleaded fuel is signified by a green pump and/or an "E" in the pricesign. Since central European diesel fuel congeals in winter, a special winter blend with a high congealing point is offered by Neste or Kesoil stations.



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