Guide to Driving In Sweden - Drive Safe in Sweden
Are there any special requirements for driving or hiring a car in Sweden?
It is possible to drive the whole length of Sweden in a car. If you are arriving there from the United Kingdom you'll drive to Sweden through Europe via Denmark. If you are making the spectacular road trip you'll probably use the majestic Øresund Fixed Link bridge which joins Copenhagen in Denmark to Malmö in Sweden.
Speed limits are very strictly observed in Sweden with a maximum 30 km/h limit for residential areas. Electronic signs will inform you of any changes to the normal speed limits. As in the UK, speed limit signs have a red circle with a black number. You should be aware that animals can run out into the road in Sweden commonly large animlas like elk and moose.
Driving is on the right in Sweden and you should give way to the left at any sort of intersection. Overtaking is on the left only. Vehicles must drive with dipped headlights at all times, even in bright summer sunshine. Winter tyres must have a minimum tread depth of 3 millimeters while summer tyres must have a minimum of 1.6 millimeters tread depth. You must use winter tyres, usually from November to April although all weather tyres can also be used all year round. Heavy vehicles of more than three and a half tonnes must have snow chains if snowy weather is to be expected. Driving a car which has insufficient grip for the road surface is illegal.
Seat Belt Laws
It's against the law for the driver or passengers to be in a moving car without wearing seat belts.
Drinking and Driving
In Sweden there are severe penalties for driving under the influence of alcohol and they have a very low alcohol limit. The legal limit is only 20mg per 100ml of blood. Any form of alcoholic drink is likely to take yo over this limit and for that reason we recommend that you don't have any alcohol if you are going to drive. The penalties include six months in prison for over 20mg and two years if you're over 100mg.
Must Have Documents
You need a number of documents including both parts of your licence, proof of ownership and proof of insurance. It's also a good idea to carry a copy of your passport for ID purposes and the car's MOT certificate.
Speed limits in Sweden are as follows:
Urban areas - 50 km
Dual Carriageway - 90 km
Motorways - 110 km
Minimum Driving Age
The minimum driving age is 18 in Sweden but it's higher for a hire car. Depending on the company you may be expected to be 21 or up to 25. You may still have to pay a young driver excess so ask us when you book to find the best deal for you.
Safety Camera Warning Devices
The use of safety camera detection equipment in Sweden is illegal. Get caught and you'll have the equipment confiscated as well as receiving an on the spot fine.
On the Spot Fines
In Sweden, all minor traffic violations are dealt with by an on the spot fine. You'll be given a receipt for your payment. For more serious offences such as drink driving or dangerous driving, you'll receive a summons for a court appearance. If you don't have enough cash to pay the on the spot fine you'll be escorted to a cash machine and if you still can't pay, you may find your vehicle is impounded until you do.
Child Safety Rules
The rules for child safety in Sweden are quite simple in that all children under seven must have appropriate child seats and restraints. Tell us your requirements when you book and we'll ensure that your hire car is compliant and that your children will be safely secured in the vehicle.
As with all European countries you must have a minimum of third party insurance and be able to prove it, either with an insurance certificate or a green card.
Rules of the Road
Standard European driving regulations apply in Sweden with a few additions and exceptions:
You must use dipped headlights at all times - even in summer sunshine.
Trams have right of way over cars.
You must give way to the right unless signs tell you otherwise.
In built up areas you mustn't use your horn unless to warn of danger, outside of towns you should use the horn and flashing headlights to indicate you're overtaking.
You must carry a warning triangle and use it in emergencies.
You should also carry a reflective jacket for each of the car occupants and wear them outside of the car in an emergency.
There are no special regulations for towing a car in Sweden. Simply make sure that other drivers know your intentions, use hazard warning lights and make sure that the tow bar or tow rope is adequate for the purpose and secure.
There are many fixed speed cameras in Sweden. If you get caught by one you'll receive a ticket in the post to your home address or if you're using a rental car, the company will forward it on to you. There are regular mobile speed traps and if caught at one of those you'll receive an on the spot fine.
Using Mobile Phones when driving
The use of a mobile phone without a hands free kit whilst driving is illegal in Swden and an on the spot fine will apply.
Swedish cities are a nightmare for parking with restrictions on the length of stay and high charges.
Most roadside parking is paid for at ticket machines and you must display your ticket. There are often short periods for parking meaning that it's often inconvenient or expensive. To save the inconvenience, use a parking garage which is more expensive but you can stay longer. Parking is generally free on a Sunday in the cities.
No parking areas are signified by a blue sign with a red ring and red diagonal line across it. Parking there or outstaying your ticket duration can be monitored by the police or wardens in some cities. You'll get a ticket attached to your car or, if causing an obstruction, you may be towed away.
The European blue badge scheme isn't officially recognised in Sweden but it sometimes helps to show it if you're trying to get a more easily accessible spot. It won't allow you to park for free though! We recommend that you check local regulations before making assumptions.
Motor Way Signs
The motorway signs have a white picture of a motorway and white writing with a green background.
Accident – Olycka
Police - Polis
Yes - Ja
No - nej
Gas stations accepting cash - Sedel automat
Please - Tack
Thank you very much - Tack så mycket
You're welcome - Ingen orsak
I have broken down - Jag har brutit ner
Where is the police station? - Var är polisen?
I have a flat tyre - Jag har en punktering
I have been in an accident - Jag har varit i en olycka
Where is? - Var är?
Where can I buy petrol? - Var kan jag köpa bensin?
Traffic lights follow the Vienna Convention on road signs and signals and as such the operation of Swedish traffic lights should be clear to all.
There are no toll roads in Sweden but you will pay a charge to cross the Oresund Bridge.
There is also a congestion charge for going into the centre of Stockholm of 20 Krona.
The emergency services number is 112, and the police can be contacted for non urgent enquiries on 11414.
The United States Embassy in Sweden is at Dag Hammarskjölds Väg 31, SE-115 89 Stockholm. You can phone on (46) 8 783 5300. Their website is http://stockholm.usembassy.gov/
The United Kingdom Embassy in Sweden is at Skarpögatan 6-8, Box 27819, 115 93 Stockholm. You can phone on (46) 8 671 3000. Their website is http://ukinsweden.fco.gov.uk/en/
What to do in an emergency
If you have a problem with your vehicle, contact the emergency number given by the hire car agency when you collected it or, if in your own vehicle, use the telephone number for the Swedish partner to your breakdown company at home.
If involved in an accident, minor damage can be sorted out without the police attending. If there is major damage or injuries, put on a reflective jacket and place a warning triangle on the approach to the incident, call the police and, whilst waiting for them, take photographs of the scene, take witness names and addresses and where possible, avoid moving the vehicles
The average fuel costs are £1.32 for unleaded petrol, 95 octane and £1.27 for diesel in Sweden as of May 2014.
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