Part A: the public road

Lesson 1: The public road and the carriageway

This first lesson is freely accessible to everyone.

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The difference between a public road, a public area and a non-public area

The public road

A public road: a street, a bridge, a tunnel, a path, a dirt track, a square, a motorway (...) is a public place where we are allowed to come without any problems, with all, or with some vehicles.

Pedestrians, people with pack or draught animals or herding livestock and cattle are also allowed on the public road. We don't have to explain to anyone why we want to ride there.

A public area

A public area, such as a parking of a restaurant or a petrol station, is a public place where we only go to when we really need to be there for something.

A Non-public area

It is a private property such as a practice ground of a driving school or a factory parking. We are only allowed to drive there, when we have a special permit or a licence.

Where are the traffic regulations (wegcode) binding

The traffic regulations only bind on the public road. For traffic violations committed on the public road, you get a fine.

But you cannot do what you want on a public area or a non-public area. For certain violations you commit regarding alcohol abuse, accident with casualties or driving without driving licence (...) you can be fined or be prosecuted.

Private road (private weg)

Roads with a sign 'Private property' are not public roads.

The traffic regulations don't apply here (except when the owner gives permission to be used by everyone).

Tram drivers

Tram drivers do not have to follow the traffic regulations, except:

  • the orders of an authorized person;
  • the traffic lights.

The different parts of the public road

Some people think that the public road is only the hardened surface where the cars ride. But that is incorrect.

Also the cycle lane, the soft or hard verge, the raised verge, the central reservation and the pavement (or footpath) are part of the public road.

The boundaries of a public road are a canal or a private property.


The carriageway

What is the carriageway?

The carriageway is the hardened surface of the public road designed for the use of vehicular traffic, where the vehicles such as a car, a bus, a moped and an agricultural vehicle are allowed to drive.

Cyclists and moped class A riders may use the carriageway when there is no cycle lane.

A public road may have two or more carriageways separated by a grass verge, a raised verge or guard rails: e.g. motorways.

A continuous white line on the edge of the carriageway

Sometimes there is a white line painted on the edge of the carriageway.

This line marks the edge of the carriageway and has no other meaning.

Where you have to drive

Drivers should drive as far as possible on the right of the carriageway.

You are not allowed to drive in the middle or to the left of the carriageway. This is a traffic offence.

A public road may have two or more carriageways separated from each other.

When the public road comprises two or more carriageways, which are clearly separated from each other, in particular by a solid ground, a non-vehicles accessible space, a difference in level, drivers should not follow the carriageway which is left in relation to their driving direction. (except is an agent or traffic sign says you must).

Normal maximum speed on a carriageway

The maximum speed limit on a regular carriageway is:

  • In the Flanders: 70 kph.
  • In Walliona: 90 kph.
  • In Brussels region: 70 kph.

Some important issues concerning driving and the driving licence

When are you not allowed to drive on the public road with a temporary driving licence

How to hold the steering wheel while driving

Correct

Wrong

Wrong

While driving, you have to hold both hands on the steering wheel clockwise 'ten to two' or 'a quarter to three'.

Keep your arms slightly bent. This way you can make the necessary small movements at the steering wheel to the left or to the right, without removing your hands from the steering wheel.

Medically unfit to drive

When a doctor claims that you aren't healthy physically and/or mentally, you have to bring your driving licence to the local authorities within four working days after you heard it.

You can get your driving licence back when you get a certificate from the doctor that says you can drive again.


Traffic signs concerning this lesson

SignTypeExplanation
Danger signDangerous bend to the right.
Danger signDangerous bend to the left.
Danger signTwo or more bends, the first to the left.
Danger signTwo or more bends, the first to the right.
Danger signSteep hill downwards.
Danger signSteep hill upwards.
Danger signFalling rocks.
Danger signLoose chippings.
Danger signRoad narrows on both sides.
Danger signRoad narrows on the left.
Danger signRoad narrows on the right.
Danger signUneven road.
Danger signSpeed hump(s).
Danger signOpening or swing bridge ahead.
Danger signWay out on a quay or a riverbank.
Danger signSlippery road.

Danger signSlippery road from ice or snow.
Danger signRoad works.
Indication signNo through road for all road users.
Indication signNo through road except for cyclists and pedestrians.
Indication signRoad number

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