Traffic rules in austria

Traffic rules in Austria do not differ much from those that apply in the CIS countries and the European Union. There are some nuances however. For example, some road signs are used only on roads in Austria, and if you want to take toll roads, you must have a vignette.

October 9, 2023

Which documents are needed to drive a car in Austria?

To drive a car in Austria, you must have a valid driving licence, and the vehicle's registration, insurance policy and inspection; these are the first things you will be asked for if you get pulled over by the police.

Driving licence

Citizens of the EU are legally allowed to drive in Austria with the licence they received from their home country. Non EU citizens must have an international IDP driving licence.

An international driving licence can only be received in the country where you received your original licence. You can drive on an international driving licence for up to six months in Austria, after which, you must obtain an Austrian licence.

Dcuments for the vehicle

The driver must have the following documents for the vehicle on them at all times:

  1. Vehicle registration papers. If you came to Austria from another country in your own car, you are allowed to drive with foreign licence plates and foreign registration for up to six months. After this period, you must change them over to Austrian ones.
  2. Insurance policy. If you live in Austria, you must have local insurance, called Haftpflichtversicherung. Foreigners must get an insurance policy valid in Europe before entering the country. This policy can be issued from 15 days to a full year at a time.
  3. Technical inspection. You must pass a vehicle inspection before you can receive your car's registration papers. In Austria, there is an inspection requirement known as '3-2-1' that requires cars to be inspected 3 years after the first inspection, then 2 years after that, then once annually.
If you are planning on driving someone else's car, you must also have a power of attorney from the owner of the car.

What you must always keep in your car

If you are stopped by a police office, you may be asked to show the following:

  • a first aid kit - preferably one that complies with ÖNORM V 5101,
  • an emergency stop sign,
  • a reflective vest.

What kind of tires you should have

It is important to always drive with the appropriate tires for the season. From November 1 to April 15, you must have winter tires on your vehicle. You can drive with summer tires throughout the rest of the year.

WInter tires are marked with M+S, M.S., M&S, or with a snowflake symbol.

You cannot use tires with studs from June to September. If you need to put them on your car at other times of the year, you must affix a special Spikeaufkleber sticker in a visible place on the back of the car. You can get one of these stickers from car shops such as ÖAMTC or ARBÖ.

Free and toll roads

Austria has both free and toll roads. Toll roads include expressways and autobahns and will have the Vignettenpflicht sign visible at the entranceways.

To drive on the toll roads, you must have a special permit, known as a vignette. This can be in either digital or non-digital format. If you have a vignette sticker, it must be placed in the windshield, while the digital version should be adhered to your licence plate. These are then automatically read by cameras when you enter and exit the toll roads.

Vignettes can be purchased at most gas stations, post offices, tobacco and newspaper stands and auto shops. You can buy a digital pass online at or on the ASFINAG mobile app.

The vignette sticker is ready to use immediately upon purchase, whereas the digital version is valid only 18 days after purchase. Therefore, it is important to plan ahead and buy the digital one in advance if that is your preferred option.

You can buy different vignettes depending on your needs. These are valid anywhere from 10 days to 1 year. A few examples of validity periods and costs in 2023 are as follows:

Validity period Price in EUR
10 days 9,90
2 months 29
1 year 96,40

Road signs

Road signs in Austria are typically placed on the right-hand side of the road, or overhead, though sometimes they are placed on both sides of the road.

The system of road signs here is the same as most other countries in the world. However, there are a few signs that are only used in Austria. These include:

The white, inverted letter 'T' in a blue square means 'dead end'.

'EINBAHN', written in a white arrow on a blue rectangle, indicates one-way traffic, with the arrow indicating the direction of traffic.

The Rettungsgasse sign means that an open median between the lanes of a two-way road has been created to allow emergency vehicles through and should not be driven on.

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Traffic rules in Austria

In Austria, the roads are driven on the right-hand side, and the driving rules are mainly the same as in other EU and CIS countries.

Speed limits

Speed limits are based on which type of road is being driven on. For passenger cars up to 3.5 tonnes, the speed limits are as follows:

Type of road Speed limit in km/h
Road in a populated area 50
Road outside a populated area 100
Two-lane expressway 100
Autobahn 130

Legal blood alcohol level

The legal blood alcohol level is 0.5mg/100ml. For drivers under the age of 20, the limit is 0.1mg/100ml.

Using the phone

  • It is illegal for the driver to hold a cell phone in their hand while the car is moving or even when it is stopped at a traffic light. You can only use your phone if:
  • it is on speakerphone or you are using headphones,
  • it is for navigational purposes.

Driving with passengers

Everyone in the vehicle, including the driver, regardless of if they are in the front or back, must wear seat belts.

If there are children in the car, each child must be in a separate seat. They must also be sitting in the age- and size-appropriate seat: booster and car seats must be used for children under the age of 14 and under 135cm tall. These seats can be in the rear or front passenger seat of the vehicle.


There are special parking zones in Austria where you can park your car. They are marked with this sign:

If you park in these zones for 15 minutes or less, it is free. Anything longer requires paying for a parking ticket. You can buy parking tickets at gas stations, post offices, tobacco shops, ticket offices, and Wiener Linien machines.

The cost of a parking ticket depends on the length of time needed:

  • 30 minutes — EUR 1.25,
  • 1 hour — EUR 2.50,
  • 1.5 hours — EUR 3.75,
  • 2 hours — EUR 5.

You must write the date and time you parked your car on the ticket and put it in a visible place, such as behind the windshield.

Fines for violating traffic rules

You may be fined or even have your licence revoked if you break traffic rules. If you receive a fine, the police may ask you to pay the fine immediately on the spot; however, if the fine is particularly large, you can pay part of it up front and the remaining part within two weeks of having received the fine.

If you fail to pay the fine on time, it will double in price.

Here is a list of the most common traffic offences and the fines for breaking the law.

Offence Fine
Not wearing a seat belt EUR 50
Transporting a child without a child’s safety seat EUR 35
Using a phone from EUR 100 to EUR 140
Driving with out-of-season tires from EUR 35 to EUR 5,000
Parking violation from EUR 36 to EUR 240
Using toll roads without a vignette from EUR 120
Speeding from EUR 300 to EUR 5,000, loss of licence
Driving under the influence, above the legal limit from EUR 300 to EUR 5,900, loss of licence
No first aid kit, emergency stop sign or reflective vest EUR 15–20
Driving without a licence, registration, or other vehicle documents on average from EUR 360 to EUR 2,200

How to avoid being fined

If you want to avoid getting fined while driving in Austria, there are several things to keep in mind. Always have your licence and vehicle documents with you, keep a first aid kit, emergency stop sign and reflective vest in the car, learn the local road signs, purchase a vignette for the toll roads, know where and how to park, and follow the traffic rules.

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Anna Pilnikova
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