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 Estonia

Estonia
Population: 1.3m
Area: 45,200 square kilometres
Currency: Euro (EUR) € = 100 cents

Coronavirus update

Please be aware that driving in Europe may be restricted at the moment.

Check the Foreign travel advice section of the GOV.UK website for up to date advice on all European countries.

Driving is a great way to experience the breath-taking lakes and majestic forestry in Estonia. Whatever time of year you decide to travel, you’ll be blown away by the stunning natural landscapes.  

But if you’re planning a road trip, it’s important to read up on traffic laws ahead of time as rules and essential requirements in Estonia are different from the UK. 

To make your journey to Estonia as safe and stress-free as possible, we’ve put together a guide to everything you need to know before you go, from required documents to rules of the road.

Driving a rented vehicle? Jump to the advice for driving a hire car in Estonia section.

Give yourself peace of mind with RAC European Breakdown Cover (Basic and Comprehensive), giving you a wide range of benefits to keep you safe should you breakdown in Estonia, even if you're only travelling as part of a one-off trip.

RAC also offers travel insurance. Cover will include medical expenses, baggage, personal money and belongings, among many other benefits.

European Breakdown Cover

Get covered when driving in Europe from just £7. Plus, get a full refund if Covid-19 restrictions prevent travel.†

Things to take when driving in Estonia

driving-in-estonia-advice

Documents for driving in Estonia

  • A valid, full UK driving licence (you must also be 18 or over)
  • You do not technically need a GB sticker to drive in Estonia. However, it is very likely that you will need one in other countries you pass through from the UK
  • Your motor insurance certificate
  • The V5 registration document for your own car or the hire car paperwork for a rental

Driving in Estonia packing checklist

Aside from the documents above, there are some legally-required items you must bring with you to drive in Estonia.

Unless your headlights can be adjusted, it's a legal requirement to carry headlamp converters (stickers for your headlights when driving on the right, so your lights don't dazzle motorists coming the other way).

A warning triangle is also compulsory to carry in vehicles in case of a breakdown.

It's also recommended to have:

  • Spare bulbs for your car's external lights
  • A fire extinguisher 
  • First aid kit (compulsory for a company car)
  • A reflective jacket
  • Spare bulbs for your car's external lights
  • A tow rope
  • Jump leads
  • Two wheel chocks (if you’re driving a truck, you’ll need blocks of wood or plastic to put under your vehicle’s wheels when parked to prevent it from rolling)

You can pick up all the car kit you need from RAC Shop.

Rules of the road in Estonia

  • Between 1 December and 1 March you must use winter tyres when driving in Estonia
  • Drive with headlights on during the day and at night
  • Make sure everyone in the car wears a seat belt at all times
  • Motorcyclists are required to wear a safety helmet at all times
  • In Estonia, you drive on the right and overtake on the left. Vehicles coming from the right have priority at junctions
  • It is illegal to overtake a tram that has stopped to let passengers off or on
  • Horns should never be used when the vehicle is stationary, except at time of immediate danger
  • Some rural roads may be unpaved
  • There are three main petrol station branches in Estonia: Lukoil, Statoil and Neste. Most service stations accept Visa and Mastercard
  • The police can issue on-the-spot fines and demand immediate payment even for minor traffic offences. The maximum for a cautioning fine is €190
  • Seat belts must be worn in all seats where a belt is available
  • Children under the age of 12 and not tall enough to use an adult seatbelt must be secured by an appropriate child restraint. Rear-facing child seats must not be used in seats fitted with an airbag
  • It is forbidden for children younger than 12 to ride as a passenger on a moped or motorcycle
  • The drink-drive limit for all drivers is 0.02%. Random breath tests can be carried out and drivers must always submit to a test at the request of the police, even if there are no grounds for suspicion

Estonian speed limit

There are no motorways in Estonia, but there are four main expressways with a speed limit of 90km/h – although this can be increased to 110km/h during warmer summer months.

Speed limits are generally based on the type of road. However, you should always check the signs for maximum speeds. In built-up areas, the maximum speed allowed is 50km/h and on normal roads and expressways it’s 90km/h, rising to 110/km/h.

Other things you should know when driving in Estonia

driving-tips-for-estonia

  • Motorists must pay a toll to enter the city of Tallinn. There are no other tolls in Estonia
  • Major towns and cities have designated parking areas with pay metres. Illegally parked cars will be clamped. Motorists must take care not to park on tram lines.
  • Large animals such as wild moose can wander on to major roads. There are signs to indicate roads where animals are likely to cause an issue 

In an emergency

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 or French.

Breaking down in Estonia

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.

European Breakdown Cover

Get covered when driving in Europe from just £7. Plus, get a full refund if Covid-19 restrictions prevent travel.†

Driving a hire car in Estonia

Not all of the information in the guide above will be relevant to those looking to rent a hire car in Estonia.

Though it might be a good idea to read through everything anyway, here are the most important things to know for drivers of rental vehicles:

Rental information

  • The minimum age to hire a car is 20, although drivers under the age of 22 may face a fee
  • You need a full, valid UK driving licence and usually a second proof of ID (passport)
  • Car rental companies ask that you have held your licence for a minimum term of 1 year
  • Some companies require you to use a credit card for deposit
  • You may not be able to drive outside of Estonia unless planned in advance - check with your hire company first
  • Make sure you get car hire excess insurance before your trip to protect yourself from unexpected costs. It's almost always cheaper to do this with a separate insurer and in advance

Hire car driving tips

  • Estonians drive on the right and overtake on the left - the opposite to the UK
  • Speed limits are generally based on the type of road. However, you should always check the signs for maximum speeds. In built-up areas, the maximum speed allowed is 50km/h and on normal roads and expressways it’s 90km/h, rising to 110/km/h.
  • Dial 112 in an emergency
  • It’s compulsory to wear seat belts in the front and rear seats
  • The blood alcohol content limit for drivers of private vehicles is 0.02%. That's lower than the whole of the UK

Car hire excess cover

Protect yourself from unexpected excess costs when hiring a car.

Driving in Estonia FAQs

  • Is it safe to drive in Estonia?

    Estonia is very safe for motorists - they have very strict laws concerning traffic safety including the use of headlights at all times. However, it is important to consider the time of year you are travelling and taking the necessary precautions. Estonia has very harsh winters so travelling between December and March could cause additional hazards for motorists.

    When driving at night, be sure to watch out for the presence of wild moose on the roads. Road signs are used to indicate where animals are frequently on the roads.

  • Can you drive in Estonia with a UK licence?

    Yes. If you are over the age of 18, you can drive in Estonia with a full and valid UK driving licence. You don’t need an International Driving Permit, although it could provide extra peace of mind if you have one.

  • Do I need a green card to drive in Estonia?

    Estonia is a member of the Green Card System, a Europe-wide scheme that allows countries to recognise foreign vehicle insurance policies of visiting motorists.

    UK motorists are no longer required to carry a green card to drive in Estonia, but you should check that this is the case for all the countries you plan to visit before setting off.

  • What side of the road do they drive on in Estonia?

    As in most European countries, motorists drive on the right-hand side of the road in Estonia.

  • Can I drive my car in Estonia?

    Yes, with the correct documentation you can safely drive your own car in Estonia. Make sure you have all the essential documents, including a valid UK licence, V5 document and sufficient insurance for your trip.

    As with any foreign country, it’s important to familiarise yourself with the laws around driving in Estonia as they differ from UK driving laws. You should also ensure you have all the required items you need for your journey (such as a warning triangle and a set of headlamp converters).

  • How do I drive to Estonia?

    The drive to the Baltic state of Estonia isn’t quick, but it’ll take you through some of the best scenery northern Europe has to offer – and all you have to do to start your journey is cross the English Channel, either by ferry or Eurotunnel.

    The easiest route once you are across the Channel is then to drive through Belgium, Germany, Poland, Lithuania and Latvia. A non-stop journey from Calais to Estonia would take you 25 hours.

    It is important to make sure you familiarise yourself with the driving laws in all the countries you are passing through on your journey to Estonia.

  • What age can you start driving in Estonia?

    Motorists must pay a toll to enter the city of Tallinn, though there are no other tolls in Estonia.

  • Do you need winter tyres to drive in Estonia?

    Between 1 December and 1 March it is compulsory to use winter tyres when driving in Estonia. This is the time of year when winter is harshest and roads are likely to be wet or covered with ice or snow. Winter tyres should have a minimum tread depth of 3mm.

  • When do my lights need to be switched on in Estonia?

    Headlights set to dipped beam must be used whatever time of day you’re driving and regardless of whether it’s sunny or not. This is to make sure you’re always visible to other drivers so you stay safe.

UK Government travel advice

See up-to-date travel advice


Information in this guide is subject to change

British Embassy Tallinn

Wismari 6
10136
Tallinn
Estonia

Telephone: (+372) 6674700
Fax: (+372) 6674755

Email: [email protected]

† Price for 1 day cover for up to 9 people travelling in a vehicle up to 1 year old in Zone 1. For more information visit rac.co.uk/breakdown-cover/european-breakdown-cover

† Price for 1 day cover for up to 9 people travelling in a vehicle up to 1 year old in Zone 1. For more information visit rac.co.uk/breakdown-cover/european-breakdown-cover