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 Russia

Russia
Population: 143.4m
Area: 17,075,400 sp. Km
Currency: The Rouble (divided into 100 kopeks) – RUB

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*.
  • 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 and 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 and regulations

Rules of the road:

Overtaking and 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 areasExpresswaysOther roads
Motorcycle and vehicles up to 3.5 t60 km/h*110 km/h110 km/h
Vehicle with trailers60 km/h*90 km/h70 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 and 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.

Means of payment

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

Useful guides and maps

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:
23rd May 2017
Updated at:
26th Mar 2017
Latest update:
Latest update: Summary - Sunday March 26th. There are several large demonstrations in cities across Russia including Moscow and St. Petersburg, with reports of arrests and clashes between police and protesters. You should avoid all demonstrations and public gatherings, as even peaceful protests can escalate quickly.

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

The UK doesn’t recognise Crimea as being part of Russia. See the Ukraine travel advice page for details.

Sunday March 26th. There are several large demonstrations in cities across Russia including Moscow and St. Petersburg, with reports of arrests and clashes between police and protesters. You should avoid all demonstrations and public gatherings, as even peaceful protests can escalate quickly.

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. 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 the North Caucasus, but also in Moscow. In 2015, a Russian airliner returning from Sharm el-Sheikh crashed in North Sinai (Egypt). The Russian authorities have stated it was brought down by an explosive device placed on board the aircraft.

In 2015, Daesh (formerly referred to as ISIL) announced the establishment of an affiliate in the North Caucasus. Many rebel leaders announced they had switched their allegiance to Daesh.

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

According to the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, British nationals made around 150,000 visits to Russia in 2015. Most visits are trouble-free.

If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission.

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.

British Embassy Moscow

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

British Consulate Ekaterinburg

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

British Consulate Novorossiysk

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

British Consulate Vladivostok

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

British Consulate St. Petersburg

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