Guide to Driving In Croatia - Drive Safe in Croatia

driving in Croatia

Are there any special requirements for driving or hiring a car in Croatia?

Cars drive on the right with overtaking on the left. The state of the roads is good with many new roads being added. They include the new Zagreb-Split motorway with connections to Zadar and Sibenik, and the motorway between Istria and Italy. Also consider that you may want to take the time to use scenic routes such as the Jadranska Magistrala Adriatic coastal road. Although these routes are very pretty if you are driving through elevated areas you should be aware that falling rocks can be a hazard. For more information about motorways in Croatia visit

Croatia roads

Avoid rush hours in the cities of Zagreb and Split, as between 7– 8am and 3– 4pm traffic can get quite congested. Do not drive on tram lines and only use your horn in cases of immediate and extreme danger. 

Car hire in Croatia might be a little bit more expensive than the rest of Europe due to higher insurance costs but on the whole it is well served with collection points at all the major cities and airports. If you want to go to Croatia from a neighbouring country then check with our staff whether it is possible to do so.

Avoid driving off-road in the countryside where possible as there can be a threat of landmines left over from the war with Serbia.

Do not stop to help people at the side of the road as incidences of crime in these situations have been reported.

Driving Laws

Seat Belt Laws

All passengers and the driver must wear seatbelts whilst the car is moving in Croatia. An on the spot fine applies if you break the law.

Drinking and Driving

You are not allowed to drink any alcohol and then get behind the wheel of a car in Croatia. The country has a zero tolerance of drink driving brought about by years of alcohol related road deaths.

Must Have Documents

 You will need to have your driving licence, both the photo and the paper parts and have your car insurance certificate. It also helps if you have a copy of your passport with you when driving. The RAC also recommend you have a green card as extra proof of your insurance.

Speed Limits

50 kilometres per hour in built up areas
90 kilometres per hour on open roads
110 km/h on dual carriageways (freeways)
130 kilometres per hour on motorways

Caravans and cars towing a trailer must not go faster than 80 kph.

Police can collect on-the-spot fines for speeding.

Minimum Driving Age

You have to be 18 to drive in Croatia but car hire companies will insist you are at least 21 and even then may have to pay a young drivers' excess.

Safety Camera Warning Devices

Safety camera warning devices are not illegal in Croatia but speed limits are there for a reason. Given Croatia's terrible road death numbers you'd be advised to stick to them.

On the Spot Fines

On the spot fines are used by Croatian police for all minor traffic offences including speeding. If you don't have the cash on you, you'll be taken to a bank. If you still have no cash to pay with, the car will be impounded until you can pay. 

Child Safety Rules

Children under 150cm cannot travel in the front of the car. If travelling in the rear, they must have appropriate restraints or seats.


A minimum of third party insurance is compulsory in Croatia. You're recommended to have a green card to prove it as well. 

Rules of the Road

Standard European driving laws apply with one or two exceptions.
If driving your own car you'll need to make sure it has EU plates or attach a GB sticker. 
You cannot drink any alcohol and then drive. 
You must use dipped headlights at all times when driving in Croatia.
Cars coming onto a roundabout have the right of way. If you're on the roundabout, you must stop for them.
You must not drive in the lanes provided for trams.
You must not use your horn except in an emergency.
When on a steep hill, drivers coming up the hill have priority.
You must have a reflective jacket inside the car and within easy reach.

Towing Regulations

There are no specific laws for towing in Croatia; simply use common sense and make sure other drivers know what you are doing.

Speed Cameras

Speed cameras are often encountered in Croatia and many have no warning. Be aware that if you are caught by a hand held camera you'll receive an on the spot fine.

Using Mobile Phones when driving

You cannot use a mobile phone without a hands free kit in Croatia, doing so and getting caught will incur an on the spot fine.


Parking regulations
Most safe parking in Croatia is paid parking. There are not many covered parking lots in the country but the open ones are generally safe. 
Paid parking
Parking is quite simple in Croatia. You can park where there are white lines and a big 'P' sign on the kerb. You'll have to pay for parking and can receive SMS messages when your parking is about to expire. Yellow dots mean parking for disabled only. Parking elsewhere will possibly get your car towed away, even if there are no signs saying not to park.
Enforcement of parking is often done by the police or 'The Spider', a tow truck that just lifts your car off the street and onto the tow truck. There are no parking tickets in Croatia, just the tow. 
Disabled parking
Croatia follows EU guidelines on parking for holders of an EU Disabled Parking Permit. Disabled parking spots are marked with a yellow dot. Check the regulations before leaving your car there as there can be local variations.

Motor Way Signs

Motorway signs have the letter A followed by two digits. They have a green background with a picture of motorway in white. State roads have the letter D and country roads have the letter Z followed by four digits.

Croatia Motorway Signs


Osiguranje – Insurance

Ulaz Zabranjen – No Entry

Bezolovni benzin - Unleaded super fuel 91/95

Brzacesta – Expressways

Autocesta – Highways

Državna cesta - State roads

županijska cesta - country roads

Cesta namijenjena isključivo za promet motornih vozila - Roads dedicated for motor vehicles
I have broken down - Ja sam oborio 
Where is the police station? - Gdje je policijska stanica?
I have a flat tyre - Imam guma 
I have been in an accident - Ja sam bio u nesreći 
Where is? - Gdje je?
Where can I buy petrol? - Gdje mogu kupiti benzin?

Traffic Lights

Traffic lights follow international standards of operation in Croatia but be aware that many Croatians completely ignore red and so cause many accidents. Even if your light is green, proceed with caution.

Toll Roads

There are tolls on various motorways, bridges and tunnels including route E59 and the E70 out of Zagreb. There is also a toll on the E71 between Zagreb to Split.

Croatia Toll Road

The open toll system, where you pay immediately on entering, is used on bridges and tunnels and on shorter motorway sections. The closed toll system, where you get a toll card on entering and pay on exiting, operates on larger motorways. The motorways have a speed limit of 130 km/h but many drive faster. The motorways may be a more expensive way to travel but Croatia is deceptively big and using them can cut hours off a journey.

See our guide to toll roads in Croatia here.


The emergency services are on 112. Emergency road help with advice in English is on 987. Traffic information in English is available at 98.5FM during the tourist season. Otherwise road traffic info is provided 24 hours a day by Hrvatski Auto-Klub on 041 415 800.

The British embassy is in Ivana Lučića 4, 10000 Zagreb and can be contacted on 385-1-600-9100. Their website is

The US embassy is at 2 Thomas Jefferson Street, 10010 Zagreb and they can be contacted on 385-1-661-2200. Their website is

What to do in an emergency

In an emergency, you must display a warning triangle 100m from the vehicle and have your hazard warning lights on. You need to be wearing your reflective jacket outside the car. You need call the emergency services on 1987 only if there is serious damage or an injury then you should  wait with the vehicle until they arrive.  It's not unknown for locals to engineer an accident then make out it's your fault and demand money. In such circumstances, phone the police. 

Fuel Costs

As of December 2013, the price of 95 octane unleaded petrol in Croatia is £1.16 whilst diesel is £1.17.


Carolyn Wallace
Great information. Are you able to pay for toll roads with a credit card?
8/21/2016 4:28:00 PM
There is some wrong information here. The warning triangle must be displayed at least a 100 meters or farther from the vehicle, together with all four turn signals turned on. Emergency road help is now at number 1987. Also, children no longer have to be twelve to sit on the front seat; they need to be at least 150 centimeters tall.
2/6/2018 8:30:09 AM

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Hiring a Car

With our Drive Smart guide you're fully prepared to hire a car in Croatia and stay safe on unfamiliar roads.