Austria is a small mountainous country that shares a lot of it's culture and language with its neighbour, Germany. It has 34 mountain peaks over 2000 metres, and has long and cold winters that are hard on motorists, but great for skiers and snowboarders.
Five main languages are spoken in Austria: Austrian German, Flemish, Slovene, Croatian and Hungarian - so you may find some traffic signs in one or more languages.
Remember that if you are driving to Austria from the UK, you will probably be driving through France or Belgium and Germany. Ensure that your vehicle and licence complies with the requirements for the countries you are passing through.
When driving in Austria, you will need to ensure you bring both parts of your driving licence - the Photocard plus the Paper Counterpart (D740). If you do not have a Photocard yet, only the paper copy is required, but you will need Photo ID, such as a Passport
You must be the holder of a full driving licence (not a provisional), and have passed your test. Even if you have already passed your full test, you must be at least 18 years old.
The International Driving Permit is not required, but if you would like one you can apply through the Post Office. The international driving permit is in addition to your driving licence, so you will need to carry both copies.
While a photocopy may be useful if your licence is lost, you should carry the original with you.
You should carry your vehicles Registration Certificate (V5C) with you, which should be updated to show your correct details. For security reasons, it's best NOT to leave the Registration Certificate in the vehicle while it is parked - it makes it harder to a thief to resell the vehicle if they do not have the documentation.
While a photocopy may be useful if your Registration Certificate is lost, you should carry the original with you.
Before using a motorway in Austria, you must purchase a motorway tax sticker. These are generally available at service stations and petrol stations near the border in neighbouring countries. You can buy a pass for the duration of your visit.
It is compulsory to have at least third- party insurance for Austria, as for the UK. Most UK insurance policies will allow an element of European driving, often for a limited period.
Before leaving the UK, it is a good idea to contact your insurer, and check what your existing cover allows. You should request a 'Green Card' which is an internationally recognised form of proof of insurance. You should carry proof of insurance with you while driving. You may also need to arrange insurance for any trailers.
If your existing insurance does not provide European cover for the period required, most insurance brokers will have a suitable policy covering Austria, and will provide Green Card.
Your headlights will need to be adjusted to ensure that they do not dazzle oncoming users.
Standard halogen headlights and Autobulbs Xenon HID Conversion kits can be modified by the use of a stick on Headlight Beam Adaptors. Vehicles with factory fitted Xenon HID headlights may find there is an adjuster either on the headlights themselves or on the dashboard - check your manual for details. If there is no adjuster, you may need to visit a dealer for them to make the adjustments, and again to change them back after your visit.
Reflective Jackets or vests are required in Austria, so you should carry one for each passenger.
A Warning Triangle is required. In the event of an accident or breakdown, the triangle should be set up by the side of the road, at least 50 meters in the direction of of the traffic. If you have broken down in the outer lane of a dual carriageway or motorway, or attempting to place the warning triangle would place you in danger, do not use it. Remember to collect your warning triangle before leaving!
Children under the age of 1.5m (4 feet 10 inches) and under 12 years must use an appropriate booster seat or modification - this includes two seater vehicles. All passengers must use seat belts if fitted
You may have a number plate that already has a valid 'GB' mark. If you do not, you will need to apply a GB sticker to the back of your vehicle.
There is a legal requirement to carry a first aid kit in the vehicle. There is not a requirement to carry a fire extinguisher, but they are generally a useful safety item to carry in your vehicle if you have the space.
It is recommended (but not required) that you carry a spare bulb kit suitable for your vehicle. While HID bulbs last longer than their halogen counterparts, it makes sense to carry at least one spare Xenon HID bulb suitable for your headlights.
November to 14th April) you must use winter tyres marked M&S (Mud and snow) or with the 'snowflake' symbol. You can use normal summer types plus snow chains as long as you do not cause damage to the road surface. If the Police determine your vehicle is not equipped for the conditions they may prevent you continuing on your journey. Austria is very mountainous and conditions can be very difficult in the long winter season, so ensure your vehicle is capable of coping with sub- zero temperatures and difficult road conditions.