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Austria by Road

Getting to and around Austria by car is simple as there are fast and well-maintained motorways through all surrounding countries.

Motorway in Tyrol
An excellent motorway, highway and federal road network connects Austria with all its neighbouring states. All main border check points (motorway and federal-road check points) are open day and night.

In general, Austrian traffic regulations and traffic signals are similar to those in force in other European countries. Attention! All expressways and highways in Austria are subject to toll

Regulations for motor vehicles

Headlights
Driving with your lights on is optional during daylight hours and compulsory at night. You will be stopped by the police and possibly fined if you do not comply with this.

Driving in Winter
All vehicles driving on snow-covered roads must have winter tires during the winter season (Nov - April) or risk a fine if pulled over. Alternatively, all-season tires (if marked for M&S: mud and snow) are also acceptable during the winter season. Snow chains are not compulsory but must be carried in areas under advisory. Snow chains on summer tires – as an alternative to winter tires - are only accepted if the entire road is heavily covered with snow and no damage to the road is caused by the snow chains. These winter provisions are strictly enforced and control points are common.

Driving on motorways requires a VIGNETTE (toll sticker)
A vignette can be purchased at most petrol stations and at border entry points. They should be displayed on the internal side of the car's windscreen and permits travel on all motorways within Austria. This is strictly enforced by motoway patrols and failure to comply will result in on the spot fines. (Most hire cars will come with a vignette supplied.)

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Customs documents for the vehicle are not needed for crossing the border. Valid driving licences issued by member states of the European Union are recognized in Austria. Travellers from non-member states with which an agreement does not exist need an international driving licence. Please contact the competent national authority or your local automobile club in order to determine whether the licence is recognized.

Excluding the fuel in the tank of the car, an additional 10 litres of fuel may be brought into the country in a reserve canister free of duty charge. Travellers with residence outside the European Union may use their vehicle free of duty charge and without any formalities for the duration of six months within a year in the EU region for non-commercial purposes. The automobile must, at the end of its usage, be taken back out again in an unaltered condition.


Speed limits

Maximum speed limits (if not otherwise indicated on road signs):

Automobiles and Motorcycles:
• in town: between the local road signs: 50 km/h
• on country roads: 100 km/h.
• on highways: 130 km/h.

Mobiles up to 3.500 kg:
• in town: 50 km/h
• on country roads: 100 km/h
• on highways: 130 km/h

Passenger cars with light trailers (up to 750 kg); towing vehicles of a maximum total weight of up to 3.5 tons:
• in town: 50 km/h
• on country roads and highways: 100 km/h

Passenger cars with trailers of over 750 kg (towing vehicles and trailers together up to a maximum total weight of 3.5 tons):
• in town: 50 km/h
• on country roads: 80 km/h
• on highways: 100 km/h

Buses:
• in town: 50 km/h
• on country roads: 80 km/h
• on highways: 100 km/h (however between 22:00 pm and 5:00 am only 90 km/h).


Children on board

Children under the age of 12, who are below a height of 150 cm, must be seated in appropriate child-safety seats. In passenger cars and station wagons (also in so-called ”mini-vans”) only one child per seat is permitted, who must be secured according to age and height.


Drinking and Driving

Permissable alcohol limit 0.5 promille! Exceeding this limit is punishable with a fine of € 218,02 to € 3.633,34 or even with the confiscation of the driving license.


Seatbelts

In Austria, wearing seatbelts is compulsory.


Telephoning in the car

While driving one may now only telephone using the hands-free speaking system. The hands-free system must be mounted in such a way that all elements can be operated with one hand and the driver is not affected in any way. Disregarding this law is punishable with a fine of € 21,80 to € 726,73.


Regulations for Motorcyclists

When driving two-wheeled vehicles the wearing of helmets is compulsory in Austria. While driving, the dimmed headlight must be turned on even during the day. Toll stickers are compulsory.


Petrol

In Austria, unleaded regular-grade 91 octane petrol as well as Euro-Super (unleaded 95-octane) petrol are available at all gas stations.
The sale of leaded petrol is forbidden in Austria; for cars without a catalytic converter an additive is available at gas stations.

Get visible!

All motorists must carry high visibility vests with them when travelling within Austria, and must wear the vest in the case of a vehicle break down, when stopping in the middle of country lanes, whenever a warning triangle is used and in case of poor visibility. On motorways and dual carriageways it must be worn whenever leaving the car, however not when stopping on allocated parking places.

It is essential that it is a reflective, fluorescent colour (yellow, orange or red) in conjunction with white reflective stripes. Logos and any writing should not dominate. The vests must comply with the European standard EN471, visible on a sewn-in label.

This rule was implemented with security in mind and benefits everyone on the road, who is unfortunate enough to experience a car breakdown. The vests can be obtained at most petrol stations, OEAMTC and ARBOE Service stations in Austria for as little as 3 EUR. A small price to pay for added security and visibility in case of a breakdown. The fee for not having one is 14 EUR and for not wearing it in case of a car break down, is an additional 14 EUR.


Traffic Accident, Breakdown

Traffic accidents involving injury to persons must immediately be reported to the police; accidents involving material damage must only be reported when mutual identity has not been established. The ÖAMTC and ARBÖ automobile clubs operate a 24-hour emergency breakdown service, which may be utilized by anyone (non-members must pay a fee).


Emergency numbers (without area code)

Euro-emergency number 112
Fire brigade: 122
Police: 133
Ambulance: 144
Doctor-on-call 141
Mountain rescue 140
ÖAMTC emergency breakdown service: 120
ARBÖ emergency breakdown service: 123


Traffic News

Traffic news on all of Austria as well as the main connecting roads to neighbouring states are broadcast every half hour on the radio station Ö3. For reports on precarious situations, e.g. ghost drivers – the radio program is interrupted and a through-connection is made to all Austrian radio broadcasters. Traffic news may be reported round the clock at the telephone number 0800 600 601 (free of charge for all Austria). Current traffic news can also be called up at the fee-based Traffic and Radar Hotline 0900 600 600.