Country-specific travel advice

Select the country you will be travelling in to see motoring information and advice, including any accessories you may need to purchase. Don't forget the RAC provides European breakdown cover while you're driving in Europe.

Driving in Switzerland

Switzerland
Population: 8m
Area: 41, 285 sq km
Currency: Swiss Franc

If you're driving in Switzerland, your checklist requirements are:

  • A valid UK driving licence.
  • A GB sticker on the back of your car - even if your car has 'Euro-plates' (number-plates that show a circle of 12 stars on a blue background).
  • Your motor insurance certificate.
  • A warning triangle inside the car in case you break down.
  • Headlamp converters (stickers you put on your headlights when you're driving on the right, so your lights don't dazzle motorists coming the other way).
  • A motorway sticker if you're driving on the motorway - you can buy this at the border and at most petrol stations.
  • Snow chains in poor weather - road signs will let you know when you need to put them on the car.
  • If you usually wear glasses or contact lenses, you must carry a spare pair with you in the car.

You must also:

  • Be 18 or over.
  • Wear your seatbelt at all times (this applies to everyone in the car).
  • Wear a crash helmet if you're riding a motorcycle.

It's a good idea to have:

  • Spare bulbs for your car's external lights.
  • A first aid kit.
  • A fire extinguisher.
  • A Camping Card International to give you additional proof of identity, third party liability insurance, plus discounts at a wide range of campsites and tourist attractions. Find out more here.
  • A Green Card - it's a useful back-up to your motor insurance documents and shows you've got the minimum legal level of cover. If you'd like to find out more, contact your insurance company.
  • Winter tyres, if you're driving between November and March.

Other things you should know:

  • Petrol and diesel are readily available, along with a lead replacement additive. 
  • You can only get LPG at eight petrol stations across the country.
  • The speed limit is 50kph in built-up areas, 80kph on open roads and 120kph on motorways.
  • If you're caught committing a driving offence, you'll be given an on-the-spot fine.
  • The drink driving limit is 50mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood (less than the UK limit of 80mg per 100ml).
  • You must use dipped headlights when driving through tunnels - and it's recommended you use them the rest of the time too.
  • It's illegal to use any radar detection equipment, whilst driving through Switzerland.
  • If you have a GPS navigation system that shows you where any fixed speed cameras are, you must deactivate this function.
  • Children under age 7 can't sit in the front.
  • Hitch-hiking isn't allowed on motorways and other major roads.
  • Pedestrians generally have right of way.
  • When overtaking, you must indicate before moving back into the right-hand lane.
  • During the day, you must sound your horn before going round a sharp bend with limited visibility. At night, flash your headlights instead.

Useful guides and maps

Michelin - National Map Switzerland
Michelin Motoring Atlas: Europe

 

Sources Foreign & Commonwealth Office, www.nationaldrivesafe.co.ukwww.drive-alive.co.uk.
Disclaimer: RAC are not responsible for the content of external websites. The information provided is correct as of May 2016 to the best of our knowledge and should be referred to for information purposes only - it should not be relied upon as formal advice. Please always check the current requirements of the country you are visiting before you leave.
Still current at:
1st Oct 2016
Updated at:
28th Jul 2016
Latest update:
Latest update: Summary – removal of information about police operation in the area of Geneva airport

There is a risk of flooding, landslides and avalanches in some parts of the country. Before travelling, check the local weather forecast for latest information, including any possible dangerous weather conditions.

If you plan skiing or hiking, check weather conditions and follow local advice before going. Take care and observe all written notices and warnings. See Outdoor sports activities.

There has been an increase in reports of theft especially in larger cities, at Geneva airport and on trains to/from Geneva.

There is a low threat from terrorism. See Terrorism

British nationals made 709,925 visits to Switzerland in 2015. Most visits are trouble-free.

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.

You should apply for a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before you travel. If you already have an EHIC, make sure it hasn’t expired. Some medical costs aren’t covered by the EHIC so you should also take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance and make sure it covers winter/mountain activities. See Health

The official website of Switzerland tourism provides useful information for travellers in a wheelchair or with impaired mobility.