Therefore, whether as a driver or as a pedestrian: Beware!
The World Economic Forum ranks Romania 126 out of 134 states for road quality with limited freeways and infrequent passing lanes.
While major streets in urban areas and major inter-urban roads are generally in fair to good condition, many secondary roads are in poor repair, unpaved, badly lighted, narrow and lacking marked lanes.
In the mountains, roads are particularly dangerous when wet or covered with ice.
In the cities and on major highways, winter snow removal is intermittent.
If you envisage driving on wet or icy roads, make sure your car has snow tires or "winter tires" with deep treads providing adequate traction.
Also test your brakes and learn how to get maximum efficiency (a balancing act between tyres and brakes) before you're faced with an emergency. In addition, make sure your demister and windscreen wipers are functional.
According to the European Union Road Federation, Romania has the highest per vehicle rate of traffic fatalities of any country in the EU. Motorists are well advised to drive carefully and defensively. Even if your driving skills are faultless, don't assume other drivers share your competence.
In rural areas, pedestrians, cyclists, horse-drawn carts, livestock and wild animals share many roads with motor vehicles. These are difficult to see especially at night.
Don't speed and if at all possible, avoid driving at night.
In many built-up areas parked vehicles often block pavements forcing pedestrians to walk in the street. When driving, be prepared to slow down when pedestrians are forced onto the road.
When walking, always look both ways before attempting to cross the road and don't trust the crossings. These are often poorly marked and even where there are traffic lights, drivers often ignore them.
Despite these many dangers or perhaps because of them, Romanian traffic laws are very strict. Traffic police can confiscate any form of driver's licence or permit for 1-3 months. They can also retain a driver's licence by for driving under the influence of alcohol or for causing an accident resulting in injury or death. Fines may be requested at the time of any traffic infraction, including failure to yield to pedestrians at a crossing.
There is zero tolerance for driving under the influence of alcohol. Police routinely administer breathalyser tests to all drivers involved in an accident. Irrespective of whether or not you have been drinking, refusal to take a breathalyser test results in criminal penalties.
Intending drivers must obtain an international driving permit or a Romanian driver's license.
Children under 12 years of age may not be transported in the front seat and all occupants must wear a seat belt.
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