Business / Reading time: ~ 4 Min.

Truck Driving Bans in Europe in the Summer Holidays 2023

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From Skagerrak to the Peloponnese: Every summer, many roads in Europe are congested as the continent’s population sets off on vacation in a variety of directions. To avoid traffic jams and obstructions, some European countries impose driving bans during the summer months. We have compiled a list of where and when – and which rules apply throughout the year.

Truck Driving Ban: School Holidays, Public Holidays, Weekends

Road freight is a double-edged sword: on the one hand, nobody wants to miss out on a sufficient supply of vital goods – and this supply can only be guaranteed with road transport. On the other hand, for many people, truck traffic at rush hour is an annoying obstacle – all the more so if you want to get to your vacation destination quickly. To ease the tense situation during the busy vacation months, some European countries have special driving bans that only apply during vacation periods.

An Overview of Truck Driving Bans in 2023

Independent of specific vacation regulations, many countries have year-round restrictions on driving on public holidays or weekends. In several countries, however, there are no restrictions at all. It is easy to get confused.

European Countries without a General Truck Driving Ban

There is no general driving ban in the following countries:

  • Albania
  • Belgium
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • Great Britain
  • Ireland
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Malta
  • Macedonia
  • Moldova
  • Montenegro
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Portugal
  • Sweden
  • Serbia
  • Spain
  • Cyprus

Even if there are no general truck driving bans, this does not necessarily mean that you can drive without restrictions everywhere and at all times. In Spain, for example, there is no nationwide ban on truck driving, but there are different rules in individual provinces.

Regional authorities may also impose a ban at any time if an increased volume of traffic is expected. In Portugal, there is a ban on the transport of dangerous goods on Sundays and public holidays, and in the United Kingdom, although there are no nationwide bans, there are specific restrictions on some routes in the London area.

Individual Regulations in Countries with General Driving Bans

CountryPermissible total weightWhen?Special characteristics
Bulgariafrom 12 ton public holidays from 0 am to midnight, on the day before public holidays from 2 pm to 8 pmno driving ban on weekends and Sundays
Germanyfrom 7,5 tSundays and public holidays from 0 am to 10 pmadditional driving bans during the vacations (see below)
Francefrom 7,5 tSundays and public holidays from 0 am to 10 pm; the day before multi-day public holidays from 10 pm to midnightadditional driving bans during the vacations (see below)
Greecefrom 1,5 tSundays and public holidays from 3 pm to 11 pm (summer half-year), from 3 p.m. to 10 pm (winter half-year); on Fridays from 3 pm to 9 pmonly on certain routes respectively
Italyfrom 7,5 tSundays and public holidays from 7 am to 10 pm (June to September), from 7 am to 10 pm (October to May)additional driving bans during the vacations (see below)
Croatiafrom 7,5 tSundays and public holidays from 2 pm to 11 pm, on days before a public holiday from 3 pm to 11 pmadditional driving bans during the vacations (see below)
Liechtensteinfrom 7,5 t (semi-trailer trucks from 5 t)Sundays and public holidays 0 am to midnight 
Luxembourgfrom 7,5 tfrom 9.30 pm on Saturdays/days before public holidays until 9.45 pm on public holidays/Sundays (direction France); from 11.30 pm on Saturdays/days before public holidays until 9.45 pm on public holidays/Sundays (direction Germany)direction-dependent regulation
Austriafrom 7,5 t (semi-trailer trucks from 3,5 t)Sundays and public holidays from 0 am to 10 pm; at night from 10 pm to 5 amban on night driving
Polandfrom 7,5 t     from 12 tSundays and public holidays from 0 am to 10 pm, days before public holidays from 6 pm to 10 pm; at night from 10 pm to 5 am additionally Saturdays 3 pm to midnightadditional driving bans during the vacations (see below); ban on night driving
Romaniafrom 3,5 t from 7,5 tSundays and public holidays from 6 am to 10 pm additionally on Saturdays from 6 am to 10 pmonly on certain routes respectively
Suissefrom 3,5 tSundays and public holidays from 6 am to midnight; at night from 10 pm to 5 amban on night driving
Slovakiafrom 7,5 t (semi-trailer trucks from 3,5 t)Sundays and holidays from 0 am to 10 pmadditional driving bans during the vacations (see below)
Sloveniafrom 7,5 t (or from a total length of 14 m)Sundays and public holidays from 8 am to 9 pmadditional driving bans during the vacations (see below)
Czech Republicfrom 7,5 t (semi-trailer trucks from 3,5 t)Sundays and public holidays from 1 pm to 10 pmadditional driving bans during the vacations (see below)
Hungaryfrom 7,5 tSundays and public holidays 0 am to 10 pm, the day before public holidays 10 pm to midnightadditional driving bans during the vacations (see below)

European Countries with Additional Truck Driving Ban during Vacations

Many of these national regulations remain valid throughout the year without any changes or adjustments, regardless of any holiday periods. However, some countries impose supplementary driving bans during the vacations for trucks weighing 7.5 t or more. These usually apply on Saturdays and in addition to other national regulations such as Sunday and public holiday driving bans:

  • Germany: in July and August on Saturdays from 7 am to 8 pm on selected routes
  • France: from mid-July to the end of August on Saturdays from 7 am to 7 pm
  • Italy: in July and August on Saturdays at different times depending on the region
  • Croatia: from June to September on Saturdays from 4 am to 2 pm and on Sundays and public holidays from 12 pm to 11 pm
  • Poland: from the end of June to the end of August on Fridays from 6 pm to 10 pm and on Saturdays from 6 pm to 10 pm
  • Slovakia: from July to the end of August on Saturdays from 7 am to 7 pm
  • Slovenia: from the end of June to the beginning of September on Saturdays from 8 am to 1 pm
  • Czech Republic: from July to August on Fridays from 7 am to 9 pm and on Saturdays from 7 am to 1 pm
  • Hungary: from July to August on Saturdays from 3 pm to midnight

Where to Find Up-to-date Information

The respective information on the individual countries is provided online by the responsible national road traffic authorities. Germany is the main European transit country. An overview of the public holidays in Germany on which driving bans are in place and which sections of autobahns and federal highways are specifically affected by driving bans for the vacations is provided by the German Federal Logistics and Mobility Office. It should be noted that there are federal state-specific holidays in Germany on which regional driving bans or even certain transit regulations may apply.

Conclusion

Well Informed is the Best Way of Driving

It is easy to lose track of all these details – and the individual regional regulations in Italy, Greece, and Spain have not even been considered. So if you want to travel abroad with your two to five axles without worrying, you should find out exactly what you need to know beforehand, because some countries levy hefty fines.

You Want to Learn More about this Topic?

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