The wearing of front and rear seatbelts is compulsory when fitted.
Children under 7 cannot travel in the front unless they use a proper child restraint. Children between 7 and 12 must use seat belts or child restraints which are appropriate to their size and age.
Drink Driving Limits
50 mg/100ml (UK 80mg/100ml)
Minimum Driving Age
The minimum driving age using a full UK licence is 18
Urban kph (mph)
Open Road kph (mph)
Motorway kph (mph)
Roadside automatic radar-triggered cameras help enforce these limits.
Dipped headlights are compulsory at all times.
Fuel stations along major roads are usually open from 6:00 a.m. to 10pm or midnight. Those along Basel North, Pratteln North/South, and Coldrério East/West (N2), however, stay open 24 hours. Along other roads, fuel stations are open from 6, 7 or 8 am to 6 or 8 pm. Outside of open hours fuel is commonly available from automatic pumps that accept 10 and 20 SwF notes or credit cards. And some stations which do not always stay open 24 hours do stay open 24 hours during the summer. Many stations do not accept major charge cards like Visa, MasterCard or American Express. Normal unleaded petrol has an octane rating of 95; unleaded super has an octane rating of 98. Unleaded petrol is called bleifrei, essence sans plomb, or benzina sensa piomba, depending on whether you're in a German-, French-, or Italian-speaking part of Switzerland, respectively. Likewise, diesel is called diesel, diesel, or gasolio; and LPG is called autogas, Gaz de pétrole liquéfié (GPL), or gas liquido (GPL).
In Switzerland you pay an annual motorway tax, even if you're only using the motorways for an hour or two. A vehicle sticker (vignette) must be displayed on the windscreen by all vehicles. Of course, if you don't need to use a motorway you don't need to pay, although it's difficult to cross the country without doing so. If you don't display a vignette you'll be liable to a fine plus the cost of the vignette. You can buy a vignette in the UK from the Swiss Centre. Call them on freephone 00800 100 20030 for information. You can also buy them in Switzerland from customs offices at the border or service stations, garages and post offices. Pre paying for your vignettes saves time at border crossings. The Swiss Motorway vignettes are valid for multiple re-entries into Switzerland. The vignette is valid between 1st December of the previous year and 31st January of the following year (printed on the vignette). If taking a trailer or a caravan, you will need to purchase an extra vignette.
You can purchase a motorway vignette by clicking the link below:
Do not park where you see a sign that reads Stationierungsverbot or Interdiction de Stationner. Parking on the pavement is illegal except where signs indicate otherwise. Many towns have Blue Zones that restrict parking during the period 8am to 7pm on weekdays. Obtain discs free of charge from ACS or TCS motoring club offices. In Basel, Berne, and Geneva you can get discs at fuel stations, restaurants, kiosks, police stations, and garages. In Laussanne a Red Zone system is also in effect; discs good for both zones (one side for each zone) can be obtained from the TCS offices or the tourist information offices. Wheel clamps are in use. Braunwald, Murren, Rigi, Wengen and Zermatt cannot be reached by private motor vehicle; park at the local railway station and go on by public transport.
On street parking is colour coded, as in much of the rest of Europe. Spaces delineated with white lines – the White Zone – are free, unless there’s a sign reserving them for a particular company (as in nur für Kunden, “only for customers”) or a particular licence-plate number. You can park in the Blue Zone if you have a special parking disc (available for free from tourist offices, car rental agencies, police stations and banks). Spin the wheel round to show your time of arrival and leave it on your dashboard: this gives you 90 minutes free parking if you arrive between 8am and 11.30am or between 1.30pm and 6pm; if you arrive between 11.30am and 1.30pm, you are safe until 2.30pm. Between 6pm and 9am next day is free. As long as you keep returning to your car to spin the wheel, you’re entitled to stay in the same space all day. Red Zone spaces are free for up to 15 hours. There are also Pay-and-Display car parks and on street meters; again, feeding them throughout the day isn’t forbidden.
Police are empowered to issue and collect on-the-spot fines for some traffic infringements. Ensure an official receipt is issued by the officer collecting the fine.
We can find no information relating to the use of mobile phones specifically in Switzerland. To be safe do not use a hand-held phone, keep use to a minimum and use a hands free system when you do.
Police – 117
Fire – 118
Ambulance – 144
1414 / 1415 – Rescue by helicopter
140 – Emergency road service
Other Useful Information
All road users should follow instructions given by local police and officials on the main alpine transit routes, at bottlenecks and areas of heavy traffic congestion. Swiss traffic regulations are strenuously enforced. Any serious breach of the regulations can result in heavy fines and/or imprisonment.
Alpine winters often make driving more difficult. You should equip your car with winter tyres and snow-chains, and check road conditions prior to departure. The Swiss motoring organisation, TCS, has up-to-date information on its website: http://www.tcs.ch
A valid UK, or other EU/EEA, driving licence is sufficient for driving in Switzerland and Liechtenstein. There is no need for an International Driving Permit.
Buses pulling out have priority.
When passing, do not cross a double white line. When completing a passing manoeuvre, you must signal with your vehicle's right indicator before you re-enter the right lane.
Moving trams must be passed on the right if there's enough room; otherwise they may be passed on the left. A stationary tram should be passed on the left, unless it's stopped at a passenger island, in which case it may be passed on the right.
Motorcyclists are not allowed to pass long columns of vehicles or to weave in and out of traffic.
At junctions, yellow diamonds painted on the road show who has priority; if in doubt, always give way to trams, buses and traffic coming from your right. On gradients, vehicles heading uphill have priority over those coming down, and some narrow mountain lanes have controlled times for ascent and descent. If you hear an outrageously loud triple-tone klaxon sounding on country lanes or twisting mountain roads, it means that a postbus is approaching; it always has priority, up or down, so get out of the way.
In the winter, signs indicate where snow chains are necessary (it’s a good idea to practise fitting and removing them beforehand).
Useful Words and Phrases
Four lane highway
Note 1: UK registered vehicles displaying Euro-plates (circle of 12 stars above the national identifier on blue background) no longer need a GB sticker when driving in European Union countries. Countries outside the EU still require national identification.
Note 2: Regardless of local requirements it is always a wise precaution to carry a spare set of vehicle bulbs and adjust headlamp beams for driving on the right. A spare bulb kit will not prevent a fine if you are travelling with faulty lights, but it may avoid the cost and inconvenience of a garage call out. On some cars it is inadvisable or impossible for anyone other than a qualified technician to change a headlamp bulb or lamp unit e.g. high intensity discharge (HID) headlamps and carrying spare bulbs is not an option. However, it is recommended that spare bulbs are carried for any lights which may be easily and/or safely replaced by the owner/driver. Do not forget to ensure that you also carry any tools that might be required to change the various bulbs.
Disclaimer EUroadlegal has made every effort to ensure that the information contained on this page is accurate and up-to-date. In most instances the information has been collated from either an official document from the country concerned or from two or more reliable sources. EUroadlegal cannot be held responsible for any actions resulting from the adherence to or ignoring of the information contained on this page. If you would like to contribute by adding, removing or modifying the data on this page based on your own experience, please us.