How to drive in Russia?

Basic rules of the roads and driving requirements.


Traffic drives on the right and passes on the left.
Do not cross the double white line in the center of the road under any circumstances; this can cost your license or certainly a hefty fine. If you need to make a left or U-turn, keep going until you find a broken white line on your side of the road.
At main intersections, look at the large white arrows above to see which way turns are allowed. If there is not a right or left arrow don’t assume you can make the turn. There are no right turns on a red light unless there is a green arrow.

Roads and Motorways

The road standards may differ from one place to another. St. Peterburg roads are mostly in good condition except for when you have to cross the railway for the trams. Those not used driving in bigger cities are probably better of not doing so in St. Petersburg, at least not during peak time (until 8 p.m.) as the traffic is very intense.


Drivers should be aware that Russia practices a zero tolerance policy with regard to alcohol consumption prior to driving. The maximum punishment is a two year suspension of a driver’s license. An intoxicated driver may also be detained until they are deemed to be sober.


The petrol and diesel is easily available in Russia and there are generally 4 types on sale: 95 ("devyanosto pyaty" - that's what you use for most foreign cars - unleaded), 92 ("devyanosto vtoroi"), 80 or 76 (for old Russian cars), and diesel fuel. There might sometimes be problems with the quality of the fuel, so it's better to use petrol stations that have some sort of brand name (BP, TNK, LukOIL are among the best ones).


Speed limits in Russia are 60 km/h in cities and densely populated areas, and in 90 km/h in other areas. On highways a speed of 110 km/h is allowed.


The minimum age to drive in Russia is 18.

Drivers Licence

An International Driving Licence or a national driving license with an authorized translation is mandatory.

Drivers documentation

Visitors traveling through Russia in their own cars must possess the following documents at all times: passport and visa, driving licence, an international driving licence, the registration document on your car (a document that proves you are the owner of the car with all the information about the owner and registration - called "techpassport" or auto-passport in Russian) and an insurance cover documents.
None of these documents should be translated in Russian (except for your visa, insurance, and International driving permit that will be in Russian, anyway). Your visa does not need to have the information about your car, but it's recommended, so when you apply for your visa support, submit your car details as well.


A third-party insurance valid in Russia is compulsory and can be purchased at petrol stations just before the border or if you want to save money and time at the local office or affilliate of a Russian insurance company.

Car requirements

Fire extingiusher and first-aid kit are mandatory.


The use of seatbelts is recommended.


Fire 01
Police 02
Medical 03

Sources: Driving in Russia / Way To Russia / Piter Guide / U.S. Department of State / Russia Travel / Wikipedia