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Driving in Sweden

General Info

Sweden flag

Population: 9.5m

Area: 449,964 sq. Km

Currency: Swedish Krona (plural “Kronor”) or Crown (100 öre)

Top 10 popular attractions:  

  • Stockholm
  • The Stockholm Archipelago
  • Gothenburg
  • Malmö
  • Ice Hotel
  • Kosterhavet
  • Marstrand
  • “Wallander’s Ystad”
  • Skåne
  • Visby/Gotland

Essentials

Driving licence:

Any driving licence issued in any European country is valid in Sweden, as long as it is valid in the issuing country.

A foreign driving licence does not entitle the holder to drive a car in Sweden until the age of 18yrs old.

A visitor less than 16yrs of age may ride a motorcycle in Sweden if his national driving licence allows him to do so.

International Driving Permits (1949, 1968) are recognised. 

Important documents:

When driving in Sweden the following documents should be carried:

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

While driving in Sweden 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 deflector: Depending on your car, you will either need deflector stickers or have to adjust the beam manually
  • Lights: It is compulsory for all motor vehicles to use dipped headlights during daytime, all year round and on all roads
  • Warning Triangle: It is compulsory for foreign registered vehicles to carry warning triangles if so required in the country of registration
  • Motorcyclists: A safety helmet must be worn by the driver and passenger of a motorcycle or moped. This also applies to passengers in side-cars

 

Rules of the road & regulations

Rules of the road:

  • Overtaking & passing

    Drive on the right, overtake and pass on the left.

    The rules conform with Article 11 of the Convention on Road Traffic (Vienna 1968).

    Trams may be overtaken on the right if the position of the rails so permits. Where there is no refuge at a tram stop, a driver of a vehicle behind the tram must stop to allow passengers to board and alight from the tram. There are currently only three cities with trams: Stockholm, Göteborg and Norrköping.

    Overtaking on the right is also permitted in the following cases:
    • When driving on a road with two or more lanes in the same direction and where the maximum permitted speed is 70 km/h or below
    • When the driver of the vehicle being overtaken has clearly signalled his intention to turn to the left
  • Priority

    Vehicles driving on roads designated and signposted as primary roads always have the priority.

    On all other roads, vehicles must give way to the right. This rule is sometimes ignored, especially by vehicles driving on roads regarded as major roads, which may cause dangerous situations.

    Priority is given to vehicles which are already on the roundabout i.e. vehicles coming from the left.  
  • Warning of approach

    The use of the horn is permitted only when an audible warning is required to prevent an accident; it should otherwise be avoided.

Towing:

Caravans, camper vans and luggage trailers may be imported temporarily without formality. 

The maximum dimensions for caravans are:

Height: No limit
Width: 2.60 metres
Overall length of towing vehicle & trailer: 24 metres

It is possible to leave a caravan trailer in Sweden for up to 1 year, provided the importer leaves Sweden within 3 months of their arrival.

Seat belts: 

If the vehicle is equipped with seat belts, it is compulsory to use them. This applies to both front and rear seats of the vehicle.

It is not allowed to transport more passengers than what is stated in the vehicle's registration document.

Travelling with children: 

Children shorter than 135cm must be seated in a child restraint or a child seat. If the child is taller than 135cm the driver must ensure that the child uses a normal seat belt.

Children shorter than 140 cm are allowed in the front seat only if the passenger-seat airbag is turned off.  

Winter driving:

From 1 December to 31 March all vehicles (also trailers and vehicles > 3,5 t total weight) must use winter tyres marked M+S (with or without spikes) when there are winter road conditions - that is, the road is covered with ice or snow, or the road is wet and the temperature is around or below 0ºC. This applies also to vehicles registered abroad.

It is permitted to fit and use snow chains on any kind of vehicle in Sweden if the weather or road conditions so require.

It is compulsory for drivers to have some antifreeze in the vehicle windscreen fluid and a shovel to clear the snow.  It is recommended to have also a tow rope, some jump leads and a reflective jacket.

Speed limits: 

There are speed limits on all roads. They are no longer based on the category of road, but on the quality and safety of the actual road itself. Speed limits may consequently vary along the same road. Road signs on both sides indicate when the speed limit will change. Reminding road signs will appear at frequent intervals.

Motorcycle, private car, campervan (< 3.5t)
Built-up areas: 30, 40, 50, 60 or 70km/h
Outside built-up areas, including expressways: 70, 80, 90 or 100km/h
(if in doubt, or if no speed limits are indicated, drivers are advised to keep to 70km/h until a speed limit sign turns up)
Motorways: 90, 100, 110 or 120km/h

Private car & caravan
Any vehicle towing trailer/s with effective brakes

When one trailer is towed, speed must never exceed 80km/h.
When two trailers are towed, speed must never exceed 40km/h

Equipment which searches for mobile speed cameras or interferes with police equipment is prohibited.

Automated speed cameras are used on many roads. Only the driver can be held responsible for speed violations. If a speed violation is registered by a speed camera, the owner of the car is not legally enforced to state who was driving.

Penalties:

  • On-the-spot fines

    The police are authorised to impose and collect on-the-spot fines for minor traffic offences. Fines are generally paid at a bank, normally within 2-3 weeks. Non-residents may be asked to pay cash to the policeman (if so, a receipt will be issued. Credit cards are not accepted). 
     
  • Confiscation of vehicle

    Vehicles can be confiscated in certain serious cases, e.g. if they are stolen or have been subject to fraud or other criminal activity.

Parking:

  • Parking regulations

    Parking regulations follow Article 23 of the 1968 Convention on Road Traffic. Where the Convention sign C.18 (a circular sign with a blue background) indicates that parking is prohibited, stopping is allowed, e.g. to load or unload goods. A circular sign with a red St. Andrew's cross on a blue background surrounded by a red border (signal C.19 of the 1968 Convention on Road Signs and Signals) prohibits stopping and parking.  

    Parking and stopping are allowed in the direction of the traffic flow only. On one-way roads both sides may be used.
  • Enforcement of parking regulations

    Parking fines range from 400 to 1000 SEK. Police and local authority attendants are responsible for enforcing regulations on streets and public roads. A payment request is attached to the windscreen. The owner of the vehicle is responsible for ensuring that the fine is paid within the stipulated time. A motorist wishing to contest the fine must contact the local police authority immediately.
  • Disabled parking access 

    Special parking permits issued to disabled motorists in a foreign country are recognised in Sweden on condition that the permit carries the international symbol of a person in a wheelchair.

    Holders of a valid permit may park anywhere in Sweden but must not park their vehicles in such a way that obstructs traffic or may cause danger.

Traffic lights:

  • Traffic lights

    The international 3-colour traffic light system is used.

Drink/drug driving:

  • Legal limit

    The maximum level of alcohol in the blood permitted for the driver of a motor vehicle is 0.02%.

    If the level of alcohol in the blood exceeds 0.02% a fine will be imposed. With a level between 0.02 & 0.1%, a driver risks a heavy fine and a prison sentence up to 6 months. In all cases, foreign driving licences will be stamped with ‘Not valid in Sweden’ for a period depending on the severity of the case.

    A level of alcohol exceeding 0.1% is considered as severe drunk-driving and a jail sentence of up to 2 years may be expected.
  • Test

    Random tests are carried out and drivers must always submit to a test at the request of the police, even if there are no grounds for suspicion.

    The most common method of testing is by means of breathalyser. If the breathalyser test indicates levels of alcohol exceeding 0.02%, additional blood and/or urine tests will be performed at the nearest police station.

Availability of fuel:

  • Price of fuel
    (April 2014)
Unleaded petrol "Blyfri" (95 octane) 14.83 SEK per litre
Unleaded petrol "Blyfri" (98 octane) 15.33 SEK per litre
Diesel 14.57 SEK per litre
  • Means of payment

    All petrol stations accept international credit cards.

Download  a copy of our Travelling in Sweden guide.

Download  a copy of our full Driving Abroad report.


Useful guides and maps

Michelin - National Map Scandinavia and Finland
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.


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).

Over 591,000 British nationals visited Sweden in 2012. Most visits are trouble-free. If you need to contact the emergency services in Sweden call 112.

There is a general threat from terrorism. See Terrorism

Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel.

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

Office: British Embassy Stockholm
Street Address: Jakobs Torg 1
Postal Address : PO Box 16119
ZIP Code: 10323
City: Stockholm
Country: Sweden

Telephone: (+46-8) 4067500
Fax: (+46-8) 7917220

Email: stoamb@um.dk


Office: British Consulate Timra
Street Address: SCA Graphic, Ostrand Pulp Mill
ZIP Code: 86181
City: Timra
State : Sundsvall
Country: Sweden

Telephone: (+46-60) 164000
Fax: (+46-60) 574990


Office: British Consulate Gothenburg
Street Address: Sodra Hamngatan 23
ZIP Code: S 41114
City: Gothenburg
Country: Sweden

Telephone: (+46-31) 3393300
Fax: (+46-31) 3393302


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