When am I not allowed to drive my truck on the main roads in Europe? In the summer months, road journeys multiply. This increase in traffic has meant that several countries in Europe have been imposing driving restrictions on certain vehicles, such as trucks. Thus, driving a heavy vehicle during July and August at certain times can be a problem if the established regulations are not consulted beforehand.
But which roads are restricted to truck traffic? What should professional drivers be aware of on their routes in Europe during the summer? In this post we summarise the driving restrictions for heavy goods vehicles in different European countries during the 2023 summer season.
Which roads can I drive my truck on in summer?
Before setting off on your summer truck route, it is essential to check whether there are any restrictions on the passage of heavy goods vehicles in the European countries through which you will be travelling. Many of them have been imposing different time and calendar restrictions on the circulation of trucks, with the aim of calming traffic in the months when there are more holiday journeys.
It should be noted that, in each country, there are also local bans on the movement of heavy goods vehicles, or even sometimes temporary or provisional bans due to road works, tunnels or environmental zones. Therefore, before starting a journey with a truck, it is advisable to get information and plan the route in order to also manage possible road restrictions. Information is usually readily available through the various channels of national agencies in each country.
Restrictions on the movement of heavy goods vehicles in Spain and Portugal
In Spain, it should be noted that there is a driving ban for vehicles carrying hazardous materials – even when empty and not clean – on Sundays and public holidays from 8am to midnight and on the eve of public holidays from 1pm to midnight (except Saturdays). There are also special traffic restrictions in and around Madrid and Barcelona on Sundays and public holidays.
In the Basque Country, the circulation of heavy goods vehicles with a GVW exceeding 7.5 tonnes is only authorised on Sundays and working days in the direction of France, on the A8 and N1 axes, starting from the French-Spanish border crossing at Biriatou.
In Catalonia, the circulation of heavy goods vehicles is prohibited on the AP7/E15 in the Spain-France direction, between Agullana and the col de Perthus, on public holidays in the French calendar of restrictions.
In Portugal, the ban on the circulation of heavy goods vehicles on public holidays falls, among other dates, on 15 August.
Restrictions on trucks in Germany, France and Italy
The circulation of heavy goods vehicles in Germany is limited by timetable on public holidays. Truck drivers are therefore not allowed to drive on main roads on Saturdays, from 7am to 10pm, and on Sundays, from midnight to 10pm. This ban is extended during July and August.
On the other hand, the French summer seasonal HGV restriction regulations allow trucks to pass through on Saturdays from 7 p.m. to midnight. However, not on Saturdays or Sundays in July and August from midnight to 10pm. The ban is also fixed on specific days: On Friday 14 July and Tuesday 15 August, no trucks can circulate in the country at the same times.
Also to be taken into account are the traffic restrictions for heavy goods vehicles on Italian roads, which during the two busiest months of the summer limit access to heavy goods vehicles on Saturdays from 9.00 am to 4.00 pm. In addition, in 2023, on 21 and 28 July and on 4 and 11 August, driving in Italy with a truck may be subject to a fine if it is carried out between 14h and 00h.
Restrictions on the movement of heavy goods vehicles in the Czech Republic and Poland
Summer traffic bans in the Czech Republic for trucks and combinations of vehicles over 7.5 tonnes are limited to Fridays from 17h to 21h, Saturdays from 7h to 13h and Sundays and public holidays from 13h to 22h. They include motorways, highways and first class roads and are in force from 1 July to 31 August.
Driving restrictions in Poland affect trucks over 12 tonnes from 30 June to 27 August on all roads. The limitation affects the eve of public holidays from 18h to 22h, Saturdays from 8h to 14h and Sundays and public holidays from 8h to 22h.