DRIVING IN SWITZERLAND
The roads of Switzerland offer magnificent views of the Alps which is one of the world’s most spectacular mountain ranges. The alpine passes are an extraordinary drive albeit somewhat challenging. Extra caution must be paid on narrow and winding roads. If mountains are not your thing, you can check out the medieval villages, spectacularflower gardens or visit one of the many Swiss vineyards. Beware that during the summer and winter tourist season, traffic tends to be heavier.
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. A warning triangle is compulsory and must be kept within easy reach (not in the boot). Radar detectors are prohibited in Switzerland whether in use or not.
The limit for alcohol in the bloodstream is 0.05% and police may request any driver to undergo a breath test or drugs test. Swiss traffic regulations are strenuously enforced. Any serious breach of the regulations can result in heavy fines and/or imprisonment.
To travel on Swiss motorways, road users must purchase and display a vignette or face large on the spot fines. Vignettes can be purchased at most border crossings, petrol stations, Swiss post offices, by phone (on 00800 10020030) and online (at http://swisstravelsystem.com). The price of a vignette is currently CHF 40 (£20- June 07) 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 (GER/FR/IT only). A full (i.e. not provisional) valid UK, or other EU/EEA, driving licence is sufficient for driving in Switzerland and Liechtenstein.
Rules of the Road
The Swiss drive on the right hand side of the road. Overtaking is forbidden on roads with double white lines. Trams have the right of way. Whilst one must always pass stationery trams on the left side, moving trams should be overtaken on the right. Headlights must be on at all times but dipped during daylight hours. Mobile phone may only used with a hands-free system. Hazard lights may only be used to warn of danger. No horn beeping is allowed after dark. Seat belts are compulsory for all occupants and children under 12 are not allowed to sit in the front seat. The speed limits in Switzerland are as follows: City 31mph/49kph Open Roads 50mph/80kph Highways 75mph/120kph
Most petrol stations are open from 8am to 10pm.
Most cities have ‘blue zones’ that require you to display a parking disc on your dashboard. These discs can be obtained at motor clubs, gas stations and police stations. Parking on the sidewalks is illegal in Switzerland.
Rent a Car: Go Green!
As a general rule to rent a car, you must be at least 20 years old. As in many other countries the prescribed age may vary by car category. Drivers must have held their license for at least 1 year. Drivers under the age of 25 may be subject to a young driver surcharge.
For a green/ecofriendly car rental company visit: http://www.europcar.com/EBE/module/render/Green-Policy