Driving advice for every country in Europe

Find up-to-date driving laws and advice for any country in Europe before you visit, 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 Austria

Austria
Population: 8.2m
Area: 83,870 sq. km
Currency: 1 EUR (€) = 100 cents

Essentials

Driving licence

Visitors riding or driving in Austria must have reached the minimum age required to drive/ride a vehicle of equivalent category even if they are qualified to drive at a lower age in their country of residence. You must be 18 or over to drive a private vehicle in Austria.

The photocard UK licence is accepted. Otherwise an old-style paper UK licence is accepted only if accompanied by identity document carrying a photograph e.g. passport.

Going away? Remember to take RAC Travel Insurance with you.

Important documents

Vehicles from the UK may be imported into Austria for up to 6 months in any period of 12 months. When driving in Austria the following documents should be carried:

  • Full, valid driving licence*
  • Proof of Insurance (third party or above)
  • Proof of ID (Passport)
  • Proof of ownership (V5C certificate)

While driving in Austria 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 car, you will either need deflector stickers or have to adjust the beam manually)
  • Reflective jackets (to be used in the case of a breakdown or accident outside built-up areas, on expressways and on motorways)
  • Warning triangle (all vehicles with more than two wheels registered in Austria or abroad must be equipped with a warning triangle which conforms with EC Regulation 27)
  • First aid kit
  • Motorcyclists (safety helmets are compulsory for drivers and passengers of mopeds and motorcycles)
  • Dashboard cameras are prohibited

Rules of the road & regulations

Rules of the road

Overtaking & passing

Drive on the right, overtake on the left.

The intention to overtake or to change lanes must be shown by means of indicators.

Priority

Where the approach to an intersection is marked with the international "give way" or a "STOP" sign, every road user must yield right of way to vehicles on the priority road.

Where no such sign is erected, every road user must yield right of way at an intersection to all vehicles approaching from the right. Exceptions are:

  • Vehicles on rails which have priority even when they approach from the left
  • Emergency vehicles (police cars, fire engines, ambulances, etc.) which always have priority.
Warning of approach

The horn should be used only in case of danger. Its use is generally prohibited in Vienna and in the vicinity of hospitals.

Towing

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

No inventory of the contents is required unless the camper van, caravan or trailer contains unusual or valuable items of equipment.

Snow chains

The use of snow chains is permitted in Austria.  The maximum speed recommended is generally 50 km/h (dependent on the manufacturer's advice).

In the winter months, winter tyres are recommended but for cars with summer tyres the authorities can require cars to be fitted with snow chains on the driving wheels when road conditions are bad.

Motorists can hire or buy snow chains from OAMTC offices. Chains can also be hired at all major border crossings

Seat belts

Occupants of all seats equipped with a seat belt (including rear seats) must wear that belt.

Persons found not wearing the seat belt when stopped by an officer of the law can either be warned, or receive a fine on-the-spot of €35. If the fine is not paid immediately or in due course, it can be increased to €72 and even lead to 24 hours detention.

Travelling with children

Children under 14 years old and less than 1,50m in height travelling in vehicles registered in Austria or abroad must use special seat belts adapted to their size or special child restraints, both at the front and at the rear of the vehicle.

Vehicles without such protection (e.g. two seat sports cars or lorries) may not be used at all to transport children under 14 years of age.

Speed limits

There is a speed limit of 50 km/h in built-up areas for all types of motor vehicles, unless otherwise indicated by road signs.  A built-up area starts from the place name shown at the beginning of a town or village.

A number of towns (e.g. Graz) have a general speed limit of 30 km/h (except where a higher speed limit is indicated).

Mopeds must not exceed a speed of 45 km/h in or outside built-up areas.

Motorists are required to exercise great care when in the vicinity of children, disabled or old people; they must drive in such a way that they can stop without danger at any time.

Ouside built-up areas
MotorwaysOther roads
Motorcycles, Private cars and Goods vehicles up to 3,500 kg130 km/h100 km/h

The minimum speed limit on motorways and roads for motor vehicles indicated by a rectangular blue sign bearing a white car is 60km/h. Vehicles that are not capable of sustaining 60km/h are not allowed on motorways.

A car navigation system with maps indicating the location of fixed speed cameras is permitted, but equipment which actively searches for speed cameras or interferes with police equipment is prohibited.

Penalties

On-the-spot fines

The Austrian police are empowered to impose and collect fines of up to €90 on the spot from drivers who violate traffic regulations. The police officer collecting the fine is required to issue an official receipt. In the event of a higher fine, the police officer may ask the motorist to pay a deposit, the remainder of the fine must be paid within two weeks of the offence.

Parking

Parking regulations

No vehicle may be parked so as to cause an obstruction. Standing and parking regulations follow the provisions of the Convention on Road Traffic (Vienna, 1968).

In places where there is a “no parking” sign, vehicles are allowed to stand for up to 10 minutes or for loading.

Enforcement of parking regulations

Parked vehicles which obstruct the traffic may be towed away. This applies to vehicles registered in Austria and abroad. Wheel clamps are used on illegally parked coaches in Vienna.

Disabled parking access

In public parking areas, spaces reserved for disabled drivers are marked.

Traffic lights

A flashing green light indicates the approach of the end of the green phase; vehicles close to the traffic lights should proceed.  Those which are still some distance away should prepare to stop.

An orange light combined with the red light means that the green phase is imminent.

Drink/drug driving

Legal limit

The maximum level of alcohol in the blood is 0.49%.

Alcohol

If a person who drives or takes charge of a vehicle is suspected of being under the influence of alcohol he or she must undergo a breath test. If the test is positive, the suspect will be examined by a police physician.  A blood test is also taken if someone has been killed or seriously injured by a driver or a pedestrian suspected of having caused the accident when under the influence of alcohol.

The offence of driving under the influence of alcohol has serious legal consequences, with fines ranging from 300 to 5,900 EUR. Visitors may be forbidden from driving in Austria.

Roads & fuel

All motor vehicles must carry a "Mautvignette" (toll sticker) to use motorways and express roads.

Availability of fuel

Most petrol stations are open from 0800 to 2000 hours.  In large cities some are open 24 hours a day; service stations on the motorways are generally open 24 hours a day.

Means of payment

Credit cards are accepted by larger petrol stations.

Automatic petrol pumps

There are no automatic petrol pumps.

Useful numbers:

112 - Here's a really important bit of knowledge; you can dial 112 from anywhere in Europe and an operator will connect you to an emergency service in the country you're visiting. Operators can answer your call in their native language, English, and French. 

Useful guides and maps

Michelin: National Map Austria
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).
*Price for 1 day cover for up to 9 people travelling in a vehicle up to 1 year old in Zone 1.
RAC European Breakdown cover arranged and administered by RAC Financial Services Limited (Registered No 05171817) and provided by RAC Insurance Ltd (Registered No 2355834). Registered in England; Registered Offices: RAC House, Brockhurst Crescent, Walsall WS5 4AW. RAC Financial Services Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority in respect of insurance mediation activities. RAC Insurance Ltd is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.
Still current at:
25th Sep 2017
Updated at:
{advice:updated}
Latest update:
{advice:change}
{advice:summary}

British Embassy in Vienna

Office: British Embassy Vienna
Street Address: Jauresgasse 12
ZIP Code: 1030
City: Vienna

Telephone: (43-1) 716130
Fax: (43-1) 71613
Email: press@britishembassy.at visa-consular@britishembassy.at chancery@britishembassy.at
Website: http://www.britishembassy.at

British Consulate in Salzburg

Office: British Consulate Salzburg
Street Address: Alter Markt 4
ZIP Code: 5020
City: Salzburg

Telephone: (43-662) 848 133
Fax: (43-662) 845 563
Email: britishconsulate.salzburg@fco.gov.uk

British Consulate in Innsbruck

Office: British Consulate Innsbruck
Street Address: Kaiserj?gerstrabe 1/Top B9
ZIP Code: A-6020
City: Innsbruck

Telephone: (43-512) 588 320
Fax: (43-512) 579 973, 8
Email: britishconsulate@bgnet.at

British Consulate in Graz

Office: British Consulate Graz
Street Address: Schmiedgasse 12
ZIP Code: 8010
City: Graz

Telephone: (43-316) 826 105
Fax: (43-316) 821 616, 45
Email: office@bruehl.at

British Consulate in Lauterach/Bregenz

Office: British Consulate Lauterach/Bregenz
Street Address: Bundesstrasse 110
ZIP Code: A-6923
City: Lauterach/Bregenz

Telephone: (+43-5574) 78586
Fax: (+43-5574) 70928