Driving in Switzerland

Tips, Guides and Regulations

Switzerland is an unusual country, dominated by the Alps and Jura mountain ranges. Switzerland is famous for chocolates, banking and a system of direct democracy that allows all citizens to vote on important legislation. It also hosts the CERN large hadron collider - but it's underground so there is not much to see!

Remember that if you are driving to Switzerland 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.

Switzerland uses the Swiss Franc (rather than Euros) so if you are passing through you may want to change a small amount of cash for service stations, tolls and other requirements - however, the Euro is accepted in many places. Switzerland is NOT a part of the EU, so expect to pass through border control and customs. There ARE restrictions on the numbers of items like cigarettes and alcohol you can bring into the country.

Basic Requirements
Legal Requirements
Driving Tips

Basic Legal Requirements

Driving Licence

UK Driving Licence (Sample) When driving in Switzerland, 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.

Car Documents

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.

Motorway Pass

Before using a motorway in Switzerland, you must purchase an annual motorway tax sticker. You can purchase these online here, and they are available at customs offices, as well as service stations and petrol stations near the borders. Note that if you are towing a trailer or caravan ir may need its own separate pass.

Insurance

It is compulsory to have at least third-party insurance for Switzerland, 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 Vehicle

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.

European Travel Kit with Spare bulb Kit Reflective Jackets or vests are required in Switzerland, so you should carry one for each passenger.

A Warning Triangle is also 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 height 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

Number plate with European GB LogoYou 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 no requirement to carry a first aid kit in or a fire extinguisher, but they are recommended, and are 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.

Is reccomended that you use use winter tyres or snowchains, and the Police can prevent you continuiing if they feel your vehicle is not equipped for the conditions. Switzerland very mountainous and conditions can be very difficult in winter, so ensure your vehicle is capable of coping with ther sub-zero temperatures and difficult road conditions.