Country-specific travel advice

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Driving in Hungary

Hungary
Population: 9.9m
Area: 93,000 sq. Km
Currency: Forint – HUF

Essentials

Driving licence:

National driving licences conforming to the model in Annex 9 of the 1949 Convention, in Annex 6 of the 1968 Convention or with the European Communities’ model are accepted. You must be 18 or over to drive a private vehicle.

Motorists must always carry their driving licence with them while driving.

Pink format or photocard UK licence accepted but International Driving Permit required if green licence held.

Important documents:

When driving in Hungary the following documents should be carried:

  • Full, valid driving licence*
  • Proof of insurance/green card (third party or above)
  • Proof of ID (passport)
  • Proof of ownership (V5C certificate)
  • International Driving Permit (See driving licence section)

While driving in Hungary you are required by law to carry the following items. Hefty on-the-spot fines can be issued for failing to carry specific items:

  • Headlamp beam deflectors: depending on your vehicle, you will either need deflector stickers or have to adjust the beam manually.
  • Lights: In daylight, outside built-up areas, passing lights must be used at all times, even when travelling on motorways.
  • Warning triangle: compulsory on board all motor vehicles.
  • Reflective jacket: a reflective jacket must be worn in the event of a breakdown or emergency on a motorway. It is also compulsory for motorcyclists.
  • First aid kit: compulsory on board private vehicle.
  • Motorcyclists: riders and all passengers of motorcycles must wear crash helmets.

Rules of the road and regulations

Rules of the road:

Overtaking and passing

On where tram rails are placed in the middle of a road, a moving tram or vehicle signalling its intention to turn left must be overtaken on the right.

On motorways and semi-motorways with two lanes in each direction, it is prohibited for lorries and combinations of vehicles over 7.5t, to overtake between the hours of 06:00 and 22:00. 

Only motorcycles and private cars may travel permanently in the left lane of roads with two or more lanes.

Priority

Rules follow the provisions of the Conventions on Road Traffic.

Warning of approach

The use of the horn is prohibited in built-up areas, except in case of danger. It is permitted outside built-up areas when necessary.

Towing:

It is advisable, although not compulsory, to draw up an inventory of the contents of a trailer or caravan.

The maximum dimensions are as follows:

Height:    3m for caravans and trailers towed by a car. 4m for other vehicles
Width:    2.55m
Length:    Rigid vehicle: 12m
Articulated vehicle: 16.50m

Seat belts: 

It is compulsory for the driver and all passengers to wear seat belts when travelling on public roads.

Travelling with children: 

Children measuring less than 1.50m must use a child restraint appropriate for their weight.

Children less than three years old are allowed to travel only in a child restraint system. They cannot be transported in the car otherwise. Children less than three years old are allowed to travel on the front seat if the child restraint system is rear-facing and there is no airbag or it is deactivated. A child aged three or more, measuring 1.35m or more, can travel on the rear seat of a car using a seat belt.

Snow chains:

Snow chains may only be used on snow-covered roads.  The use of snow chains or their presence in a car can be made compulsory on some roads when weather conditions require.  The maximum speed for vehicles fitted with chains is 50 km/h.

Speed limits:

Inside built-up areasMotorwaysSemi-motorwayRoad
Motorcycle50 km/h130 km/h110 km/h90 km/h
Car50 km/h130 km/h110 km/h90 km/h
Car with caravan or trailer50 km/h80 km/h70 km/h70 km/h

Penalties

On-the-spot fines

On-the-spot fines can be collected by the police in case of violation of traffic regulations.

Since 1st January 2011, there is stricter enforcement of four main regulations and fines of 15,000 to 300,000 HUF can be imposed on-the-spot for the following offences:

  • Failure to use a seat belt.
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol.
  • Speeding.
  • Failure to stop at a red traffic light.
Confiscation of vehicle

Vehicles registered abroad, can be retained by the police until the fine is paid. Foreign drivers will be informed of this in writing (available in Hungarian, English, German or Russian). The vehicles registration documents must be handed over to the Hungarian authorities, who will issue a receipt. If the driver fails to pay the fine and pick up the vehicle on time, the documents will be sent to the issuing authority in the driver's country of residence.

Parking

Parking regulations

Stopping is prohibited:

  • If indicated by road signs.
  • On the left-hand side of a two-way street.
  • At any place where the vehicle would obstruct other traffic or obscure a road sign or traffic lights.
  • Within 5m of an intersection.
  • On a pedestrian crossing, and 5m before such a crossing for a car, motorcycle or bicycle, or 15m before such a crossing for any other vehicle.
  • In a bus lane or at a bus stop.
  • On the pavement if the axle weight of the vehicle is over one tonne (a continuous white line on the pavement indicates that a vehicle under one tonne axle weight is allowed to stop on the pavement but forbidden to stop on the road).
  • Where zig-zag lines are painted on the carriageway (bus stops, etc.).
Enforcement of parking regulations

Wheel clamps are used in Budapest on vehicles which exceed the time allowed by parking tickets by at least 30mins.

The police may tow a vehicle away if:

  • It is parked in a place listed above.
  • It is parked in a marked loading area without permission.
  • It is parked in a space reserved for a handicapped person's vehicle.
  • It is parked in a cycle lane.

Traffic lights:

Traffic lights 

The international 3-colour traffic light system is used.

Drink/drug driving

Legal limit

In Hungary, it is absolutely forbidden to drive any type of motor vehicle after having consumed alcoholic drinks.

If the amount of alcohol in a motorists’ blood is less than 0.08%, he/she will be fined; if the amount is over 0.08%, he/she will be subject to legal proceedings. 

It is equally illegal for a person to drive who is under the influence of drugs.

Alcohol

The police can ask a driver to undergo a breath-test if there is a suspicion that the driver is under the influence of alcohol.

If the police suspects that a driver, a cyclist, a pedestrian or any other person is under the influence of drugs, they have the right to take that person to a medical centre for blood and urine tests.

Availability of fuel

Fuel is available throughout the country.

Most petrol stations are open from 06:00 until 20:00. Along motorways and in large towns petrol stations are open 24hrs a day.

Means of payment

Some petrol stations accept Eurocard, Visa Mastercard and Maestro, but cash is the most common means of payment. 

Useful guides and maps

Michelin Motoring Atlas: Europe

Source: All information in this document is sourced from the AIT (Alliance Internationale de Tourisme) & the FIA (Federation Internationale de l'Automobile) and, to the best of the RAC’s knowledge, is correct at the time of publication (May 2016).
Still current at:
25th Aug 2016
Updated at:
29th Jul 2016
Latest update:
Latest update: Summary – link to information and advice for British nationals travelling and living in Europe, following the result of the EU referendum

Information and advice for British nationals travelling and living in Europe, following the result of the EU referendum.

If you’re travelling to summer events in Hungary, including major music festivals, take sensible precautions against petty crime. See Safety and security

Delays may be possible at the Hungarian borders with Austria and Serbia due to police and border enforcement action as a result of significant numbers of people seeking to transit these countries. You should carry your passport when crossing any of Hungary’s borders.

There is a low threat from terrorism. See Terrorism

Around 400,000 British nationals visit Hungary each year.

Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel.

The Overseas Business Risk service offers information and advice for British companies operating overseas on how to manage political, economic, and business security-related risks.

British Embassy Budapest

Office: British Embassy Budapest
Street Address: Harmincad Utca 6
ZIP Code: 1051
City: Budapest
Country: Hungary

Telephone: (+36-1) 2662888
Fax: (+36-1) 4296360
Email: info@britemb.hu
Website: www.britishembassy.hu