Self-Drive Motoring holidays in Switzerland.


Tips on driving abroad in Switzerland. Motoring rules and regulations in Switzerland. Swiss motoring laws.

Self-Drive Motoring holidays in Switzerland and Liechtenstein. Tips on driving abroad in Switzerland. Motoring rules and regulations in Switzerland and Liechtenstein. Swiss motoring laws.

Autobahn (motorway) and tunnel Tolls
Distance Chart
International Driving Permit
Interactive Route Planner

Relative Carbon Emissions

Buy Road Maps of Switzerland

Buy a Swiss motorway vignette online

Make sure you Drive Alive! Drive on the right!

  • Be especially careful when setting off from service stations or restaurants on the left side of the road.
  • Take care when overtaking - allow more space between you and the car in front so you can see further down the road ahead.
  • Switzerland has stricter drink driving laws than the UK, only allowing 0.5 milligrams of alcohol per millilitre of blood (UK 0.8).
  • Seat belts front and rear are obligatory everywhere.
  • Speed limits, shown below, are implemented rigorously. Radar traps are frequent.
  • Remember - Speeding and other traffic offences are subject to on-the-spot fines.
  • When approaching a roundabout give way to traffic already on the roundabout, on your left, unless signed otherwise.
  • A full UK driving licence is required.
  • Beware "Priority to the right"!
  • Below are motoring regulations relating to Switzerland.
Speed limits Motorway Open Road Town Alcohol mg/ml
Switzerland 120 km/h 80 km/h 50 km/h 0.5

Autobahn tolls: In Switzerland you pay an annual motorway tax, even if you're only using the motorways for an hour or two. A vehicle sticker, or vignette, must be displayed on the windscreen by all vehicles. Of course, if you don't need to use a motorway you don't need to pay, although it's difficult to cross the country without doing so.
 

If you don't display a vignette you'll be liable to a fine of CHF100 plus the cost of the vignette.
You can buy the stickers in the UK from the Swiss Centre. You can also buy them in Switzerland from customs offices at the frontier or service stations, garages and post offices.

Buy a motorway vignette online. Click the link to go to the website for the Swiss Travel Centre then look for the link "Motorway Vignette". The cost in 2009 is 40 swiss francs, which can be paid by credit card and your card company will convert to sterling, but worth it as it saves time and hassle at the border. The Vignette is valid from January 1st in the year of purchase to January 31st of the following year, irrespective of when the vignette is purchased during the year. Caravans and trailers require a separate vignette.

Children in cars: children under 7 cannot travel in the front unless they use a proper child restraint. Children between 7 and 12 must use seat belts or child restraints which are appropriate to their size and age.

Documentation: always carry your driving licence, vehicle registration document (V5), and certificate of motor insurance. If your licence does not incorporate a photograph ensure you carry your passport to validate the licence. If the vehicle is not registered in your name, carry a letter from the registered owner giving you permission to drive.

Drinking and driving: Don't do it. Anything over 0.08 per cent and you could face anything up to imprisonment.

Fines: On the spot fines for infringing some traffic regulations. Ensure an official receipt is issued by the officer collecting the fine.

Fire extinguisher is advised, but not compulsory.

First-aid kit is advised, but not compulsory.

Fuel: All grades of unleaded petrol, diesel and some LPG are available as well as lead substitute additive. No leaded. It is allowed to carry petrol in a can. Credit and debit cards are widely accepted, although they probably won't work at automatic pumps. It's a good idea to let your card issuer know you will be travelling abroad. This ensures they don't suspend your card if they spot it being used in unfamiliar places, which they sometimes do as an anti-fraud measure.

GB Sticker is compulsory.

Headlamp converters are compulsory.

Lights: Headlights should be on and dipped during daylight hours, especially on major routes.

Minimum age for driving, provided you hold a full UK licence, is 18 for a car and motorcycle over 125cc, and 16 for a motorcycle under 125cc.

Motorcycle drivers and passengers must wear crash helmets.

Motor insurance: third-party insurance is compulsory. A green card is not required but your insurer should be advised of your travel plans

Priority to the right: parts of Switzerland have started to introduce the old French rule whereby in cities and towns traffic joining from the right has priority. Be very careful wherever a road comes in from the right - slow down and be prepared to stop.

Replacement bulb kit is advised, but not compulsory.

Seat belts are compulsory for front and rear seat occupants, if fitted.

Snow chains must be carried everywhere in Switzerland during winter, and if you do not carry and fit them when conditions demand the police can prevent you continuing your journey. Click for general information on winter tyres and snow chains.

Spectacles: if you wear spectacles for driving, you must carry a spare pair in the car.

Speed camera detectors are illegal in Switzerland and cannot be carried in the car. GPS/SatNav/Smartphone sytems which warn of and display the position of speed cameras must be disabled.

Visibility Vests are now compulsory in Austria, Belgium, France, Italy, Norway, Portugal and Spain (and likely to become compulsory throughout the EU). The rules vary from country to country concerning number of vests required and whether they should be carried in the car or boot. Common sense suggests that there should be a vest for every occupant, and that the vests should be carried in the car, and put on before getting out. Do this and you will not have a problem.

Warning triangle is compulsory.

Winter tyres are recommended but not compulsory. If you do not have winter tyres fitted and driving in winter conditions leads to you impeding other traffic you could be fined. Click for general information on winter tyres and snow chains.

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All information on this page is provided as a service to our clients. It is intended as a guide to the more important rules for the different countries to which we offer driving holidays. It is not meant to be a comprehensive document. We try and keep the information on this page up-to-date, but we cannot be held responsible in any way for any consequences arising from any inaccuracies. If you find a mistake or would like to send us some additional information, please email us. Your co-operation is appreciated.

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