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Driving in Russia

General Info

Russia flag

Population: 143.4m

Area: 17,075,400 sq. Km

Currency: The Rouble (divided into 100 kopeks) - RUB


Top 10 popular attractions:  

  • Trans-Siberian Railway 
  • Mount Elbrus 
  • Valley of Geysers 
  • Kizhi Island 
  • St Sophia Cathedral, Novgorod 
  • Lake Baikal 
  • Suzdal 
  • Moscow Kremlin 
  • Hermitage Museum 
  • Saint Basil's Cathedral 

Essentials

Driving licence:

Visitors riding or driving in Russia must have reached the minimum ages laid down for residents of Russia, even if they are qualified to drive at a lower age in their country of residence.

A foreign driving licence does not entitle the holder to drive a car in Russia until the age of 18 years & a motorcycle until the age of 16.

An International Driving Permit (1949) is required to travel in Russia.

Important documents:

When driving in Russia the following documents should be carried: 

  • Full, valid driving licence* (with paper counterpart)
  • International Driving Permit
  • Proof of insurance/green card (third party or above)
  • Proof of ID (passport)
  • Proof of ownership (V5C certificate) 
  • Russian VISA/Transit 

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

  • Warning triangle: compulsory on board all motor vehicles.
  • Headlamp beam deflectors: depending on your car, you will either need deflector stickers or have to adjust the beam manually.
  • First aid kit & fire extinguisher: compulsory in all motor vehicles.
  • Spare bulbs
  • Motorcyclists: helmets are compulsory when riding on a scooter or a motorcycle.

Please note that it is forbidden to carry a passenger on a scooter, except for children up to the age of 7 travelling in a special seat.


Rules of the road & regulations

Rules of the road:

  • Overtaking & passing

    Drive on the right, overtake on the left.

    In large towns, it is prohibited to turn left other than at crossings with lights.

  • Priority

    Traffic coming from the right has priority at roundabouts, unless otherwise signposted.

    Priority must be given to convoys of vehicles and to emergency vehicles using flashing lights. Trams and buses also have right of way.

  • Warning of approach

    Use of the horn is forbidden in towns, except in cases of immediate danger.

Towing:

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

Seat belts: 

The wearing of seat belts is compulsory when fitted in the vehicle, for the driver and any passengers.

Travelling with children: 

It is prohibited to carry a child less than 12 years of age in the front seat of a car when there is no special child restraint.

It is also prohibited to carry a child less than 12 years of age on the rear seat of a motorcycle.

Speed limits: 

The following national speed limits apply:

  In Built-Up Areas Expressways Other Roads
Motorcycle & Vehicles
up to 3.5 t
60 km/h* 110 km/h 110 km/h
Vehicles with Trailers 60 km/h* 90 km/h 70 km/h

* 20 km/h in residential areas or as sign posted

Anti-radar equipment which interferes with specific radio frequencies to jam police signals is prohibited.

Penalties:

  • On-the-spot fines

    Fines must be paid through a bank. It is illegal to pay cash.

  • Confiscation of vehicles

    Vehicles may only be confiscated following a court decision. Vehicles may be temporarily confiscated or withdrawn from circulation, for example for forensic tests.

Parking:

  • Parking regulations

    Stopping and parking are allowed on the right-hand side of the road, with the vehicle facing in the direction of the traffic flow. Car parks and parking metres are available in towns.

    Stopping and parking are allowed on the left-hand side in urban areas & in one-way streets, if there are no tram lines in the middle of the street.

    Parking on the pavement may be allowed where this does not endanger pedestrians.

    Outside urban areas, lengthy parking, for example spending the night in the vehicle, is allowed only in the specially allocated parking places situated off the roads. Parking alongside national highways is not allowed.

    Stopping and parking are prohibited within 5m of a pedestrian crossing or an intersection, as well as in places where visibility is reduced (e.g. on a slope or a bend). Parking is also prohibited within 50m of a level crossing.

  • Enforcement of parking regulations

    Fines are issued for parking offences and the police can remove an illegally parked vehicle. Wheel clamps are used.

  • Disabled parking access

    There are parking places reserved for vehicles used by disabled persons. They are indicated by the letter P and the international symbol of the wheelchair.

Traffic lights:

  • Traffic lights

    The international 3-colour traffic light system is used.

Drink/drug driving:

  • Legal limit

    Since 6 August 2010, no amount of alcohol is tolerated in the blood of drivers. The legal limit is now 0%.

    Driving under the influence of drugs is also prohibited.

  • Alcohol

    Breathalysers are used by the police.

    In one of the Moscow districts, police can carry out tests on the saliva of drivers for the presence of narcotics. If the test is positive, the driver is then taken to a clinic for further tests. (After a trial period, it is planned to extend this form of drugs testing to the whole country.)

Availability of fuel:

Unleaded petrol, generally at 92 and 95 octane, is available in western Russia. LPG (propane-butane and methane) is available at a few stations and mostly used by Russian taxis and lorries.

Motorists are advised to fill up their tank whenever possible and to carry a spare can of fuel.

  • Price of fuel
    (April 2014)
Unleaded petrol (92 octane) 29.80 RUB per litre
Unleaded petrol (95 octane) 33.10 RUB per litre
Unleaded petrol (98 octane) 36.49 RUB per litre
Diesel 32.30 RUB per litre
LPG 15.50 RUB per litre
  • Means of payment

    In Moscow, credit cards are accepted; otherwise, payment must be made in cash.

Download  a copy of our Travelling in Russia guide.

Download  a copy of our full Driving Abroad report.


Useful guides and maps

Michelin Motoring Atlas: Europe

What RAC can do for you

RAC offers great-value, flexible RAC European breakdown cover tailored to meet your needs. We also offer comprehensive travel insurance, including cover for medical expenses, baggage, personal money and belongings. Whilst away, use our Route Planner for all your driving directions.

RAC can cover you against vehicle break down in Europe, with options available to suit your travelling requirements.

RAC European breakdown cover Basic and Comprehensive cover provides you with a wide range of benefits.


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 (August 2013).

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all travel to within 10km of the border with the Ukrainian Donetsk and Lugansk Oblasts.

The FCO advise against all but essential travel to within 10km of the border with the Ukrainian Kharkiv Oblast.

The FCO advise against all travel to Chechnya, Ingushetia and Dagestan and the districts of Budyonnovsky, Levokumsky, Neftekumsky, Stepnovsky and Kursky in Stavropol Krai.

The FCO advise against all but essential travel to North Ossetia, Karachai-Cherkessia and Kabardino-Balkaria (including the Elbrus area). See Local travel and Terrorism

Political rallies are scheduled to take place on 4 November (Day of National Unity) in Moscow and may occur in other cities. Check local media for the latest information, be vigilant and avoid all rallies.

There are on-going armed clashes, kidnappings, seizure of buildings and other violent incidents in the Donetsk, Lugansk and Kharkiv oblasts of Ukraine bordering Russia. The picture remains volatile and uncertain. However, it is clear that a number of border crossing points are insecure, and fighting is taking place across the border, with deaths reported in Russia. You should remain vigilant throughout regions of Russia bordering Ukraine, and avoid all demonstrations and public gatherings.

There is a high threat from terrorism. Attacks have occurred most frequently in Moscow and in the North Caucasus. You should remain vigilant in all public places. See Terrorism

Political rallies can occur in Moscow, St. Petersburg and other places across Russia. Check media for the latest information, be vigilant, and avoid any demonstrations. See Political situation

You should be aware of the risk of street crime. See Crime

Current figures are not always available. However, British nationals made around 127,000 visits to Russia in 2011. 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.

Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel.

FCO TRAVEL ADVICE - know before you go - fco.gov.uk/travel

Office: British Embassy Moscow
Street Address: 10 Smolenskaya Naberezhnaya
ZIP Code: 121099
City: Moscow
Country: Russia

Telephone: +7-95 9567200
Fax: +7-95 9567201

Email: moscow@britishembassy.ru


Office: British Consulate Ekaterinburg
Street Address: 15a Gogolya St.
Zip Code: 620075
City: Ekaterinburg
Country: Russia

Telephone: +7-343 379493, 3559201
Fax: +7-343 3592901

Email: britcon@sky.ru brit@sky.ru britvisa@sky.ru


Office: British Consulate Novorossiysk
Street Address: 3a Fabrichnaya Street
Zip Code: 353923
City: Novorossiysk
Country: Russia

Telephone: +7-8617 618100
Fax: +7-8617 618291

Email: ecr@laroute.net


Office: British Consulate Vladivostok
Street Address: 5 Svetlanskaya Street
City: Vladivostok
Country: Russia

Telephone: +7-4232 411312
Fax: +7-4232 410643

Email: tiger@ints.vtc.ru


Office: British Consulate St. Petersburg
Street Address: Pl. Proletarskoy Diktatury, 5
Zip Code: 191124
City: St. Petersburg
Country: Russia

Telephone: +7-812 3203200
Fax: +7-812 3203211

Email: bcgspb@peterlink.ru consular.stpetersburg@fco.gov.uk information.stpetersburg@fco.gov.uk


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