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Driving in Switzerland

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

  • A valid UK driving licence - both the photo and paper parts
  • 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

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. Use our Route Finder to help with route map information whilst you're away.

Sources Foreign & Commonwealth Office,,

Disclaimer: RAC are not responsible for the content of external websites. The information provided is correct as of August 2009 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.

1 10% of all customers buying Car Insurance Plus with us from 1st June 2014 to 30th November 2014 paid less than £154. Based on comprehensive Car Insurance Plus, purchased direct, excluding any additional products and upgrades, with payment on an annual basis. Your premium will depend on your circumstances and the level of cover you choose.

Heavy rainfall has led to flooding in some parts of the country. Authorities have warned of the continued risk of landslides near river banks. Before travelling, please check the local weather forecast for latest information, including any possible dangerous weather conditions or flooding.

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 danger of avalanches at certain times of the year. Take care and observe all written notices and warnings. See Outdoor sports activities

There is a low threat from terrorism. See Terrorism

698,375 British nationals visited Switzerland in 2013. 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. Make sure your insurance covers winter/mountain activities.

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

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