Driving a Vehicle in Austria
1) The Austrian Road System:
During summer time, driving conditions on Austrian roads and highways are excellent. All the main roads are paved and kept in good shape. In winter, however (from December to March) drivers must expect snow on all Austrian roads, particularly on mountain roads at higher altitudes. Thus, winter tires are absolutely essential when driving in the winter in Austria. When driving in precipitous terrain, snow chains must be used.
2) Driver's license:
An international drivers permit (IDP) is required for Austria. It can be purchased through the AAA club and is valid for one year. When driving abroad, carry both your IDP and your state driver's license with you at all times. An IDP serves as an officially and internationally recognized translation of your license.
3) Traffic regulations:
Traffic regulations are similar to those of other European countries. The speed limit is 100 km/h [62 mph] on freeways (Bundesstraße) and 130 km/h [81 mph] on highways (Autobahn). In residential and urban areas, the speed limit is usually set at 50 km/h [31 mph], unless posted otherwise.
4) Toll roads:
Since January 1, 1997 it has been compulsory for all motor vehicles to carry a toll sticker, the so-called Vignette, on Austria's highways. All cars, motorbikes and camper vans up to 3.5 mpw (maximum permissible weight) must properly display a toll sticker when they drive onto a motorway or expressway. This avoids a possible toll fine of at least 120 euros. Toll stickers with periods of validity of 10 days, 2 months or 1 year are available from more than 6,000 outlets in Austria and abroad. The police and customs authorities are authorized to collect the toll evaded, in addition to an additional fine. See the Austrian motorway operator website for more information.
5) Driving under the influence of alcohol:
Driving while under the influence of alcohol (or drugs) is severely punished. It will result in a minimum fine of approx. € 360, and loss of your driver's license. The maximum limit of blood-alcohol level is 0.05%.
All traffic accidents that result in personal injury must be reported to the police immediately. Accidents resulting in material damage (fender benders) must be reported only when the identity of the other party cannot be established.
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