Here are particular driving tips for Bulgaria shared by many company drivers who have thousands of kilometers driven in Bulgaria over the last ten years. We selected only those ten tips that will enable you to start traveling the road safely. It isn’t easy to steer a parked car, so get moving!
Bulgaria is a crossroad
Bulgaria is a crossroad for many commercial truck drivers that move goods between Asia and Europe. Expect heavy trucks on the highways, and acknowledge that drivers may be tired.
You don’t need to worry about Bulgarian drivers. The stereotype of the crazy southern European driver cutting corners, speeding all the time, and making funny gestures to other drivers comes mainly from the movies. Many Hollywood movies painted a picture of Southern Europeans being careless, behaving like someone with good medical insurance driving a car he doesn’t care about. This is a bit exaggerated.
Most of the drivers in Bulgaria are not bad at all, but driving habits are probably different from those you’re used to in your home country. For instance, Bulgarian drivers tend to be less patient, and if you don’t hit the gas the moment the light turns yellow to green, they may flash you, or you can get honked at. You will get a similar reaction if you wait too long for pedestrians to cross, and if you stop at the moment, the green light turns yellow. Not all drivers use turn signals.
Young drivers should have a proper “Y” sign (to indicate a Learner or young driver status) attached and visible on their car. But as they say – the first decade of driving is the most hazardous, and the sign may not be there. City transport and large-truck drivers are the most experienced professional drivers, and they will not cause any problems.
And finally, many Bulgarians are proud of their cars, and cars in the South are often a status symbol. Every driver in Bulgaria wishes to be the driver of his car and not just a driver of another vehicle.
Driving Tips For Driving On The Highway
Some Bulgarian drivers tend to ignore marked lanes. They may change lanes quickly and without using a turn signal. Generally, drivers in Bulgaria are aware of the surroundings and the situation and move into a lane to allow you to overtake them if you flash them or signal them. But not always. It does not mean they don’t see you if they don’t move. Instead, they don’t like you to overtake them. It is generally against the rules, and it is not recommended to flash your headlights or sound your horn to make contact with another driver.
You can expect drivers from around Europe with different driving habits on the highways and expressways. You expect some of them to be very tired. For instance, many Turkish people commute from Western Europe to Turkey and back during the summer holidays (expect them in July and August between Sofia, Plovdiv, and Stara Zagora). Drive cautiously, as they may be moving slower than expected without leaving the left lane, and they can be nervous. You can easily recognize the German (DE), Belgium (BE), and Dutch (NL) plates. Still, not every foreign car from these countries has a tired Turkish driver behind the wheel.
Speeding on the highway used to be popular in the past. These days there are many speed traps and mobile cameras, and bile speed checks and heavy speeding are rare. If a high-speed driver flashes you with headlights and follows you far too closely, you must move out of their way, which we recommend you do, and continue driving safely.
Driving In Rural Areas
Traveling in Bulgaria by car is the best way to get around the countryside, especially if you want to visit remote places and national parks. It is beautiful, and it is highly recommended. You should know a few things about driving in rural areas, though. In some rural areas, roads can be bumpy and in bad condition. Note that Google and other map and navigation services may show a road as the main road, but road conditions may be poor. Sometimes, animals might cross the road at unmarked locations. In rural areas, it is possible to have agricultural machines moving too slowly on the road and without warning signs for oversized vehicles.
We recommend planning the countryside road trip for the bright and sunny part of the day, giving you more visibility on the road and what is coming ahead.
Road Infrastructure and Road Conditions in Bulgaria