When driving in Austria, remember that you need to drive on the right
side of the road, which is something you will need to get adjusted to quickly if you are coming from a country that drives on the left.
Speed Limits in Austria
Speed limits vary depending on where you are driving in Austria. The speed is measured in kilometers per hour (kph), which might be a bit confusing for someone who's not used to the metric system.
Speed limits in Austria are:
- Urban areas: 50 kmph (31 mph)
- Open roads: 100 kmph (62 mph)
- Motorways or Expressways: 130 kmph (80 mph)
In general, speed limits in Austria are strongly enforced, and radar traps are frequent, so it is very important to follow the above limits at any time.
Traffic in Austria is not that bad, and some will say it is actually quite mild. Roads are well maintained, whether you select a superhighway or a meandering byway. Driving in Austria during the winter months can be difficult because of the snow and ice.
The minimum age requirement for driving in Austria is 18 years.
Drinking and Driving
The amount of legally allowed alcohol in the blood is 0.5 mg/ml.
Over 0.8 mg/ml and you may incur suspension of your driving licence. The limit is 0.1 mg/ml if you have had your licence for two years or less. If you violate the law you may be charged with heavy fines and even suspension of your license.
Only 'hands free' mobile telephones can be used whilst driving.
Remember to carry important documentation with you at all times. Documents you should have with you:
- Owner's Permission - If the vehicle is not registered in your name, carry a letter from the registered owner giving you permission to drive.
- Certificate of Motor Insurance
- Vehicle Registration
- Driver's license - The information in your driving licence must be written in a Latin alphapet or accompanied by a translation by a reliable source or an international driving licence. If your license does not incorporate a photograph, ensure you carry your passport to validate the license.
- Photo ID - a valid form of Photo ID like your passport
- International Driving Permit (IDP) - If you are not from one of the EU countries, you must carry an International Driving Permit, which must be accompanied by a valid driver's license from your home country.
Right of way
Austria requires the use of either seatbelts or a safety seat for everyone in the car, both at the front and back.
Driving with Children
Children under 14 years of age and below the height of 1.5m are prohibited from travelling in the front seat, and must be seated at the rear with a seatbelt tightly fastened or in a safety seat (depending on the child's age).
The police have the authority to collect fines and press charges on the spot. If you decide to pay the fine on the spot, make sure you get a receipt from the official.
If for any reason, you are not willing to pay, you will be asked to pay a security deposit, in which case you have a specific time period (usually two weeks) to pay your fine.
You are also allowed to take the case to court
Additional Required Equipment
All cars in Austria must be equipped with the following equipment:
- Warning triangle
- A First-aid kit
- Reflective Safety Vest are compulsory in Austria, and is subject to heavy fines. They need to be stored within reach of the driver and must be worn day or night when exiting the vehicle on the hard shoulder or in the event of breakdown. You must carry enough vests for the number of passengers traveling in the car. Please check with your car rental company before entering Austria to ensure enough Reflective Safety Vests are located in the car.
- It is compulsory to carry chains in Austria during winter. In winter conditions the use of four winter tires or snow chains on at least two tires is now mandatory in Austria between 1 November and 15 April.
You must use the off street car parks in order to park your car. Do not park the car facing oncoming traffic, so always park your car on the right. You are not allowed to park within 10 feet of a fire hydrant. It is also not allowed to park on a white line near a bus stop. You might be faced with a severe penalty if you violate parking laws.
The horn is only allowed to be used outside built up areas. Horns may be used during times of danger or during low visibility.
Motorists in Austria must form an emergency corridor as soon as traffic ceases to progress and congestion is imminent on motorways or dual carriageways and highways, regardless of whether emergency vehicles are already in the vicinity or not. The space to be cleared is to the left of the outside lane, so drivers in the outside lane must drive as far to the left as possible while other drivers drive to the right.
It is important to have a motorway tax disc (Toll sticker) known as vignette on motorways and expressways. Cars rented in neighboring countries may or may not be equipped with the sticker. These stickers can be purchases at at all major border crossings into Austria and in petrol stations, post poffices or in OAMTC offices. These stickers must be afixed on the upper middle or left side of the windshield. You will be penalized (300€ and up!) for not displaying the vignette. The following fees apply for 2019:
- A 10-day sticker for cars and vehicles up to and incl. 3.5t is 9.20€
- A two-months sticker is 26.80€ for private cars and motorhomes up to 3.5 tons
- A one year sticker for private cars and motorhomes weighing up to 3.5 tons is 89.20€ and for motorcycles it is 35.50€
If you are travelling in a right-hand drive car, headlight converters are compulsory. It is no longer compulsory for cars to be driven with headlights switched on throughout the day all year round, but dipped headlights are advised during daylight in poor weather and must be used during the day at all times by motorcycles.