Driving Tips, Rules & Regulations in Switzerland

Switzerland is the kind of country where you don’t really need a car to be able to get around. Thanks to its very efficient public transport. But for those who yearn to drive through glorious mountain paths and seeing beautiful vistas as they pass the well-maintained highways, driving in Switzerland would be like a dream come true. Being able to check out the Swiss mountains and meadows as you drive along can be an exciting experience in itself.

Whether you’re on the motorways or the mountain paths, the roads in Switzerland are always in good condition, making cross-country driving a very pleasant and memorable experience that sometimes, you just want to drive instead of taking the public transport.

At this point you’ll want to know about thevignette. As a country that prides itself in great road infrastructure, the 72,000 kilometers of well-maintained roads in the country is a testament to its government’s heavy investment on serving its motorists. The vignette is what you pay for to be able to use these roads, and comes in the form of a small sticker that you can purchase online or at gas stations and government offices. They cost around CHF 40 and is good for 14 months. While it’s true that they don’t usually check cars for vignettes, it will be better off that you get one anyway – the fine for being caught without the sticker on your vehicle is CHF 240.

If you’re driving in Switzerland during winter, you’ll want to check with your automobile rental which of the mountain passes are closed down for the season. You also need to make sure you've got snow tires, blankets, snow chains, a GPS system, and other necessary equipment to prevent you from getting lost when driving in the winter.

For those who want to drive their own cars from home to Switzerland, you’re going to need to register your car. If the vehicle is more than six months old, you won’t need to pay for any taxes for one year if you only plan to use it for personal use, which will most likely be the case. After one year, you have to register, for which you’ll need the following documents:

  • Car registration papers
  • European Union Certificate of Conformity (you can get this from your car manufacturer)
  • Insurance Papers
  • Customs Clearance
  • And other necessary documents

Switzerland imposes compulsory third-party liability insurance. In fact, it’s one of the above-listed requirements for registering your car. Although the law only required third-party liability coverage, it’s very recommended that you opt for partial or full comprehensive insurance, since you’ll be driving in a foreign country.

There aren't many peculiar traffic laws in Switzerland. Just note that 18 years old is the minimum age for driving in Switzerland, but you probably won’t be able to rent a car until you’re 21 years old. Drive on the right side of the road, and keep within the speed limits of 120 km/h on super highways, 80 km/h on other highways, and 50 km/h within cities and villages. And remember, don’t drink and drive.

Summary

The roads in Switzerland are always in good condition.
A 'Vignette' is required to be able to use these roads. It costs about CHF 40. If you rent a car it will be included.
Make sure you gave snow tires, blankets, snow chains, a GPS system, and other necessary equipment for winter months.
Switzerland imposes compulsory third-party liability insurance.
18 years old is the minimum age for driving in Switzerland.
You drive on the right side of the road.
The speed limits are 120 km/h on motorways, 80 km/h on main roads, and 50 km/h within cities and villages.

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