Driving in Switzerland

by Scenic Car Tours, UK


Mountains cover 70% of the country’s area, and Switzerland has some of the world’s most beautiful mountain roads with steep mountain passes and frequent hairpin bends. It has an excellent road safety record and many of it rules are the same or similar to other parts of Europe. A favourite destination for seven owners it’s driving rules are similar to other parts of Europe however there are some differences to be aware of and Scenic Tours take through these ready for adventures in 2021.


Firstly, to use Switzerland’s motorways, you’ll need to buy an annual toll sticker (‘Vignette’), valid from 1 December of the previous year, until 31 January the year following that shown. An additional ‘Vignette’ is required if you are trailering your seven behind the family tintop. Vignettes can be bought in Switzerland from customs offices, petrol stations, regional road authorities, TCS offices, the Swiss National Tourist Office and on line at or on-line HERE


Swiss motorway signs have a green background, and main roads blue, which can be confusing, as this is the opposite of France!


If traffic backs-up on dual carriageway roads, you must create a free lane between the lines of vehicles, for emergency services to use. Vehicles on tow are limited to 40km/ h and must leave the motorway at the next exit.


The Swiss are keen to protect the environment, and it’s obligatory to switch off your engine at traffic lights or when stopped. Motorsport is mostly banned, and the Swiss speed limits of Speed limits (km/h): Towns/ villages 50; Main roads: 80 / 100; Motorways: 120 are policed carefully with stringent measures for offenders. If you are involved in a minor accident and decide not to call the police, it’s compulsory to complete a European Accident Statement Form. In built-up areas, yellow crosses at the edge of the road indicate that parking is prohibited. Parking discs – available from kiosks and petrol stations – are widely used in designated blue parking zones. The distinctive yellow postal buses – part of Switzerland’s extensive public transport system – have priority on roads.


General rules. Drink-drive limit (g/ l blood): 0.5 / 0.1 for new drivers (first three years) The police can ask any driver to undergo a breath test. They can also test drivers for drugs. A blood test may be required after an accident if there is definite suspicion that the driver or any person implicated in the accident is under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The penalty is either a fine or a prison sentence, and, for a Swiss driver, the withdrawal of the driving licence for a period of at least two months. A foreign driver will be forbidden to drive in Switzerland for the same length of time. At the Swiss border the Customs authorities may test the physical fitness of the driver and report drivers under the influence of alcohol or drugs to the police.


Mandatory rules Minimum driving age is 18. You must carry a Driving Licence or IDP; Insurance certificate (Green Card is recommended and DRL is required for all cars registered after 1/1/1970; Handheld mobile phones are prohibited with Hands-free tolerated, but not recommended; Radar detectors are prohibited as are GPS speed camera alerts; If you usually wear glasses or contact lenses, you must carry a spare pair with you in the car; Your car must have it’s passing-lights or daytime running lights, switched on during the day; A warning triangle is compulsory and must be kept within easy reach (not in the boot); Hitch-hiking isn't allowed on motorways and other major roads; When overtaking, you must indicate before moving back into the right-hand lane; During the day, you must sound your horn before going round a sharp bend with limited visibility. At night, flash your headlights instead. When turning left at junctions, you must turn in front of the car turning left in the opposite lane.

Fuel: Unleaded petrol at 95 and 98 octane is available throughout Switzerland. Additives are available at petrol stations for vehicles using leaded petrol.

On normal roads petrol stations are usually open from 0600 or 0700 hours until 2000 hours; smaller stations are open from 0700 or 0800 hours until 1800 hours. Outside these hours petrol is available from automatic pumps. On motorways, some service stations are open 24 hours a day; others are open from 0600 to 2200 or 2300 hours; outside these hours, petrol is available from automatic pumps.


Although not mandatory it’s a good idea to have: Spare bulbs for your car's external lights; A first aid kit; A fire extinguisher; A Camping Card International to give you additional proof of identity, third party liability insurance, plus discounts at a wide range of campsites and tourist attractions. Finally, take special care when pedestrians are crossing the road: they will expect you to stop! People on pedestrian crossings have right of way.




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