Driving Tips, Rules & Regulations in Russia

Basically, driving in Russia should be an experience no different from driving in other countries in Europe, but that will always change because of other factors. Many of the familiar traffic rules are left unobserved by local motorists and equally unenforced by authorities. To compare with other western countries, Russian drivers drive faster and more aggressively, which can be dangerous to other drivers on the road. This is most likely why the vehicle-related accident rates there are high.

Roads in Russia are also not as well maintained. Expect potholes on the highways and roads outside cities. While the roads in Moscow and other big Russian cities are okay, you’ll be dealing with heavy traffic instead. Take note that Moscow is one of the worst ten cities in the world in terms of traffic jams. You could be stuck in traffic for as much as 2. 5 hours, so you need to account for that when planning your travels.

Bring your GPS with you – it’s your best tool against getting lost, especially when you don’t know your way around the country. Most of the road signs in the country are in Russian, and this isn't helped by the fact that most police authorities speak only in Russian. You should also stock up when going through roads out of town, since petrol stations, restaurants, and motels are rare.

All foreigners need to secure a valid Russian driver’s license to go driving in Russia. But if you have an International Driving Permit, you can use that for up to six months. You need to be at least 18 years old to drive. Third party liability insurance is required by law.

Russians drive on the right side of the road, and with dipped headlights always on during the day. It is illegal to cross a double solid white line as well as turning right on a red light without a green arrow signal.

Always wear your seat belts and put passengers below 12 years old in the back seat. It is illegal to use a mobile phone while driving without a hands free device. On the roads, it’s also illegal to stop for hitchhikers. You could also be fined for as much as R. 2000 if you’re caught driving a dirty car – especially one with mud on the license plates.

When driving in Russia, always bring with you your passport and visa, migration card, insurance policy, and car registration papers and certificates. Needless to say, always bring your valid driving license with you.

The law also required you to carry in your car a first aid kit, fire extinguisher, a reflective jacket, and an emergency triangle device.

Violating the speed limits could also get you fined. Don’t go above 60 km/h in built-up areas and 90 km/h in other areas other than highways, which have a 100 km/h speed limit.

Lastly, there’s a zero-tolerance policy for drunk driving in Russia. Don’t drive when you've had even a little to drink, otherwise you could end up suspended for as much as two years.

Summary

The vehicle-related accident rates there are high that most European countries - Russian drive faster and more aggressively in general.
Roads in Russia are also not as well maintained outside of big cities.
Most of the road signs in the country are in Russian, so if you don't speak Russian, a GPS in your language is recommended.
Petrol stations, restaurants, and motels are rare on roads out of towns and cities.
You need a Russian driving licence or an International Driving Permit.
You need to be at least 18 years old to drive.
Third party liability insurance is required by law.
Russians drive on the right, with dipped headlights always on during the day.

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