Guide to Driving In Hungary - Drive Safe in Hungary

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

Driving in Hungary

Driving is on the right with overtaking only on the left. Hungary has updated most of its roads since the country entered the European Union, therefore the roads are in good condition.

Hungary Driving


Driving Laws

Seat Belt Laws

It's obligatory by law for all occupants of a moving car to be wearing seatbelts in Hungary. You'll be fined if caught breaking the law.

Drinking and Driving

You are not allowed to have any alcohol if you intend to drive in Hungary. So, if you want a drink whilst you are out, appoint a nominated driver who won't drink, or take a taxi or public transport.

Must Have Documents

Both parts of your driving licence are necessary in Hungary. If you don't have a photocard version, you'll need to have an international driving licence. You will also need to have proof of insurance via your insurance certificate. It's also useful to have a green card to prove the level of cover. 

Whilst not legally required, it's a good idea to have your car registration documents and a copy of your passport. 

Speed Limits

50 kilometres per hour in built up areas.
90 kilometres per hour on open roads.
110 kilometres per hour on expressways
130 kilometres per hour on motorways.

You will find that speed limits can vary across the country. Multi-lane roads in built up areas can be as high as 80 km/h whilst some single lane open roads can be up to 110 km/h. In town, near schools, the limit can be as low as 30 km/h. Look out for signs that tell you the correct maximum speed for the location.

Minimum Driving Age

You have to be at least 18 to drive in Hungary. Car hire companies will require you to be older, usually a minimum of 21 but possibly up to 23. Check before booking. Young drivers may be subject to an excess for their age.

Safety Camera Warning Devices

It is illegal to use speed camera detection equipment in Hungary. Doing so will earn you a fine and confiscation of the equipment.

On the Spot Fines

On the spot fines are a common way of dealing with penalties for minor traffic law violations. You'll be charged according to a set tariff and will be given a receipt. If the receipt is not offered, you must ask for one. If you have committed a serious motoring offence you will be given a ticket and can expect a court appearance. 

Child Safety Rules

Under 135cms, children cannot sit in the front of a vehicle unless they are under three years old and in an appropriate car seat facing to the rear and with the airbag deactivated. Children under the age of 12 or the height restriction must use appropriate booster seats in the rear of the car and be belted in. 


You must have a minimum of third party insurance to drive in Hungary. All of our hire cars have comprehensive insurance so you will be compliant. If driving your own car you must carry the certificate with you and a green card from your insurer is also a good idea.

Rules of the Road

Standard EU regulations apply with the following exceptions:

In Hungary you must drive with dipped headlights at all times if you are outside of the urban areas. 
Give way to the right when vehicles are approaching an intersection. 
You must always give way to forms of public transportation such as buses and trams.
In winter you must use winter tyres. Studded tyres are prohibited.
Snow chains should be carried with you in winter in case they are needed. When you collect your hire car you'll be told what the current situation is.
A first aid kit, reflective jacket and warning triangle should be carried in all cars. 
Spare headlamp bulbs are also required by law.
Do not use your horn at any time unless it is an emergency.
Some rail crossings don't have barriers so exercise care when approaching them.
If you are entering Hungary with a vehicle that has clearly been damaged you must report it to the authorities at the time of entry as it will be investigated when you leave.

Towing Regulations

There are no specific requirements on towing another vehicle, trailer or caravan in Hungary. Just make sure the vehicle is securely attached and that you have good visibility to the rear.

Speed Cameras

Hungary operates a mix of fixed cameras and mobile speed traps. Being caught by a fixed camera will result in a ticket to the registered address of the vehicle if it's your own or to the car hire company who will forward on the speed ticket. If caught by a mobile unit, you will be given an on the spot fine.

Using Mobile Phones when driving

It is illegal to use a mobile phone without a hands free kit whilst driving in Hungary. An on the spot fine will apply if you break the law.


Parking regulations
In Hungary you must only park on the side of the road in the flow of traffic, therefore the right hand side. On one way streets you xcan park on both sides as long as cars can pass through. 
Paid parking
Parking is generally metered on the street although the country has tried to help tourists by making parking free near the sights. Parking meters give you a short length of stay and to park for longer you'll need to use a municipal or private garage parking. 
Enforcement of parking is done by the police and you'll either get a ticket, or if parked for too long, a clamp along with details on how to get your car released. 
Disabled parking
Acknowledgement of the terms of the European disability badge scheme isn't widespread in Hungary but it's worth taking it to show that you need extra assistance. It's best to use parking garages where the attendant will almost certainly help you gain an accessible space. 

Motor Way Signs

Motorway signs are blue with white writing.


Hello - Jo napot kivanok
Thank you - Koeszoenoem
Good bye – Szia
Petrol - Benzin
Diesel – Gazolaj Dizel
Diversion – Kervlo Ut
Toll – Vam
Police Station – Renderseg
Hospital - Korhaz
Exit - Eltavosaz
I have broken down -  Én bontásban
Where is the police station? - Hol van a rendőrség? 
I have a flat tyre - Nekem van egy defektet 
I have been in an accident - Én már egy baleset 
Where is? -  Hol van? 
Where can I buy petrol? -  Hol lehet vásárolni benzin?

Traffic Lights

Traffic lights in Hungary follow the rules of the Vienna Convention on road signals. There should be nothing confusing about them but drivers who are used to being able to turn on a red signal should know this is illegal in Hungary unless an arrow indicates otherwise.

Toll Roads

There are many toll roads in Hungary and to pay for their use you'll need to buy a vignette. They can be anything from a one day use vignette which is free, up to an annual pass. If you cross the border into Hungary, you'll be given a leaflet explaing the system and where to buy your vignette.

Hungary tax sticker

List of roads that require a vignette:
M1 (Budapest – Hegyeshalom),
M3 (Budapest -Gorbehaza – Nyiregyhaza)
M5 (Budapest – Kiskunfelegyhaza – Szeged - Roszke/border with Serbia)
M6 (M0- Erd - Dunaujvaros)
M7 (Budapest - Lake Balaton – Letenye, border with Croatia)
M30 (Emod - Miskolc)
M35 (Gorbehaza-Debrecen)


The best number to use is the European standard 112.

The United States Embassy in Hungary is located at Szabadság tér 12
H-1054 Budapest and they can be contacted on (36-1) 475-4400. Their website is

The British Embassy in Hungary is located at Harmincad Utca 6, Budapest 1051 and you can call (36) (1) 266 2888.  Their website is

What to do in an emergency

If your car suffers a mechanical problem whilst in Hungary, call the number given to you by the car hire agent if in a rental car. If driving your own car, use the number of the Hungarian partner of your motoring organisation.

If you are involved in an accident, call the emergency services in all cases where there is damage or injury. Take photographs of the scene whilst waiting and, where possible, don't move the vehicles. The police will issue a report which you'll need for insurance purposes.

Fuel Costs

As at May 2014, the price of 95 octane unleaded fuel in Hungary is £1.12 a litre. Diesel is a few pence dearer.


Some eight trains a day link Vienna with Budapest (3,5 hours) .Trains are pntleiful and point-to-point tickets are cheap (in the region of 20 euro from budapest to bratislava and 10 euro bratislava to vienna), you should not be worried by the prospect of having to buy more than one ticket to cover your trip (although you could theoretically buy one ticket budapest-vienna via bratislava which is valid 2 months, if you really want to do so). you should consider that bratislava to vienna is a very short trip and allows commuting back and forth in a day if you so wish.
3/10/2012 12:39:46 PM
native hungarian here, (who had been uk resident for more than a decade) , your translations are more or less ok, but these: I have broken down - Én bontásban I have been in an accident - Én már egy baleset gave me a chuckle :D. they are not even close. the hungarian that you gave for "I have broken down" means more like " I had been disassembled". What you meant is something like "lerobbantam". the hungarian you gave for I have been in an accident is more like "Im already an accident :D" What you meant is " balesetet szenvedtem" (szenvedtem means I suffered - in this sentence accident)
6/22/2016 9:40:40 PM

Leave your comments here

 Security code
Click here to enter an extra message...

Hiring a Car

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