Traffic and Road Conditions in Netherlands

Traffic Safety and Road Conditions

While in the Netherlands, you may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States.

In the Netherlands, travel in, around, and between cities is possible via a highly developed national public transportation system, an extensive system of bike paths, and by automobile and motorcycle on a modern highway system. Rail is often a convenient alternative to driving, particularly in the areas around Amsterdam, The Hague, and Rotterdam, where road congestion is frequent. Rail network information is available online. Intercity travel by road is relatively safe in comparison to some other European countries.

A valid driver’s license issued by a Department of Motor Vehicles in the United States is valid for use in the Netherlands for up to 180 days while in tourist or visitor status. You must use seat belts and child seats. Driving is on the right side of the road, as in the United States. Speed limits are strictly enforced via radar. Traffic cameras are pervasive throughout the Netherlands and tickets for traveling even 2-5 km/h over the limit are common. The maximum speed limit on highways is 120 km/h, with a highway speed limit of 100 km/h posted in most urban areas. Secondary roads and some urban-area highways have a speed limit of 80 km/h. The speed limit in towns and cities is 50 km/h, with 30 km/h zones in residential areas. The Dutch Government has reduced speed limits on certain roads near cities in an effort to reduce air pollution. You should be aware that speed limit signs are electronic, and therefore speed limits may be changed remotely by authorities depending on traffic conditions. Drivers must yield the right-of-way to drivers and bicyclists coming from the right at intersections or traffic circles unless otherwise posted. The maximum allowable blood-alcohol content in the Netherlands is 0.05%. Use of cellular telephones while driving without the use of a hands-free device is prohibited, and is punishable by severe fines.

Lanes in the center of many urban two-way streets are reserved for buses, trams, and taxis. In cities, pedestrians should be mindful of trams, which often cross or share bicycle and pedestrian paths. Serious – and sometimes fatal – accidents involving pedestrians or bicyclists colliding with trams occur each year. Motorists should be especially mindful that bicyclists have the right-of-way; motorists must yield to bicyclists. Pedestrians should not walk along bicycle paths, which are often adjacent to the sidewalk and usually designated by red pavement.

Bicyclists and pedestrians should be particularly cautious during the winter months, when paths, roads, and especially bridges can be icy and extremely slippery.

Taxi service in the Netherlands is safe but expensive. Trams and buses are both convenient and economical, but are often frequented by pickpockets.

Disclaimer

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