How to drive in Austria?

Planning a road trip to Austria? Prepare yourself for a memorable adventure amidst stunning landscapes and picturesque cities. However, before hitting the road, it's crucial to familiarize yourself with the rules and regulations of driving in this beautiful alpine country. In this article, we'll provide you with all the necessary information on road conditions, fines, fuel, speed limits, driving license requirements, and useful emergency numbers to ensure a smooth and enjoyable journey. Remember to apply to obtain an International Driver's License and enjoy the best of Austria!

Road Information

Austria boasts a well-maintained road network, including highways (Autobahns) and secondary roads. The roads are generally in excellent condition, but be aware of occasional mountainous terrain and narrow streets in some areas.

Speed Limits

In Austria, the speed limits are as follows:

  • Urban areas: 50 km/h (31 mph)

  • Rural roads: 100 km/h (62 mph)

  • Autobahns: 130 km/h (80 mph) Note that lower speed limits might be imposed in certain areas, indicated by signboards.

Traffic Rules and Fines

Austrian traffic rules are similar to those in other European countries. Some important regulations to remember include using seat belts at all times, carrying a valid driver's license and vehicle registration, and respecting traffic signs and signals. Violations may result in on-the-spot fines, so it's essential to adhere to the rules.

  • Fuel: Petrol stations are readily available throughout Austria, even in remote areas. The most common fuel types are unleaded gasoline (Benzin) and diesel (Diesel). Payment can be made with cash or credit cards at most stations.

  • Toll Roads: Austria has a vignette system, where you need to purchase a toll sticker (vignette) to use the highways. These stickers can be bought at petrol stations, border crossings, or online. Remember to affix the vignette to your windshield before entering the highway.

Austria landscape city

Driving License Requirements

If you hold a valid driver's license issued by an EU or EEA country, it is generally recognized in Austria. Non-EU/EEA license holders should obtain an International Driving Permit (IDP) before traveling to Austria.

  • Winter Driving: When driving in Austria during winter, snow tires are mandatory from November 1st to April 15th. Additionally, you may need snow chains in certain mountainous regions, so be prepared.

  • Parking: Parking regulations vary across Austrian cities. Look for designated parking areas or garages, paying attention to parking signs and meters. Avoid parking in restricted zones to prevent fines or towing.

Emergency Numbers

In case of an emergency, save these essential numbers on your phone:

  • General emergency: 112

  • Police: 133

  • Ambulance: 144

  • Fire: 122

  • Roadside Assistance: If you encounter a breakdown or require roadside assistance, the ÖAMTC (Austrian Automobile, Motorcycle, and Touring Club) offers 24/7 emergency service. Their hotline number is 120.

  • Winter Road Conditions: During snowy conditions, stay updated on road conditions by visiting the Austrian Automobile Club's website or listening to local radio stations for weather and traffic reports.

  • Alcohol Limits: Austria has strict regulations regarding alcohol consumption while driving. The legal blood alcohol concentration limit is 0.05%. However, it's always advisable to designate a sober driver or use alternative transportation if you've consumed alcohol.

  • Child Safety: Children under the age of 14 and shorter than 1.50 meters (4.9 feet) must be seated in an appropriate child restraint system.

  • Wildlife Hazards: In rural areas, particularly in alpine regions, watch out for wildlife crossing the roads, especially during dusk and dawn. Stay alert and reduce your speed to avoid collisions.

  • Cultural Considerations: Austrian drivers are generally courteous and follow traffic rules. Return the favor by adhering to the local driving etiquette, signaling before changing lanes, and respecting other road users.

Driving in Austria can be a delightful experience, offering breathtaking views and convenient travel opportunities. By familiarizing yourself with road information, adhering to speed limits and traffic rules, and carrying essential documents, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable road trip through this enchanting country. Remember to stay vigilant, plan your route in advance, and make lifelong memories on the Austrian roads. With the International Driving License, you can drive in Austria using all of these recommendations without a worry.