Austria by rental car

Mandatory Winter Equipment

In winter conditions the use of four winter tires or snow chains on at least two tires is now mandatory in Austria between 1 November and 15 April.

All-season tires are also acceptable during the winter season.
Snow chains are not required but must be carried in areas under advisory. Snow chains on summer tires – as an alternative to winter tires - are only accepted if the entire road is heavily covered with snow and no damage to the road is caused by the snow chains. These winter provisions are strictly enforced and control points are common.

You must display a Vignette on the inside of the windshield of your vehicle as you enter Austria. The vignette must be stuck to your windshield in order to be valid. Failure to do so will mean a heavy, on-the-spot fine. Stickers can be obtained from the Austrian Automobile Clubs as well as post offices, newsagents and petrol stations. You can also purchase stickers in Austria's neighboring countries at petrol stations, borders and Automobile Clubs.

Toll Sticker Prices 2017:

Rates 2017 
Type of vehicle 10-day-toll sticker 2-month-toll sticker Annual toll sticker
Vehicle with a maximum gross vehicle weight of up to 3.5 t € 8,90 € 25,90 € 86,40
Motorcycle € 5,10 € 13,00 € 34,40

                                           Tates in EUR, Prices include 20 % VAT, valid as 1st of December 2016

The toll tariff system based on emission categories concerns all motor vehicles with a maximum permissible gross weight exceeding 3.5t and applies on all Austrian motorways and highways. These vehicles are required to attach a small adjustment - named the GO-Box - to their windscreen. Note that this includes larger private vehicles such as motor caravans that are above the weight limit. If your motor vehicle is close to the weight limit you are advised to carry documentation confirming the maximum permitted laden weight. If your registration documents do not clearly state this, you'll need to produce alternative certification e.g. from a weigh-bridge.

Drink Driving Limits
The legal drink driving limit in Austria is 50 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood (the limit is10 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood if you have had your licence for two years or less and for coach and HGV drivers). Penalties for driving under the influence are severe.

Speed Limits

 

Urban kph (mph)

Open Road kph (mph)

Motorway kph (mph)

Car

50 (31)

100 (62)

130 (81)

Towing

50 (31)

80 (50)

100 (62)

Motorcycle

50 (31)

100 (62)

130 (81)

Get Visible
High visibility warning vests are required for all drivers. They need to be stored within reach of the driver and must be worn day or night when exiting the vehicle on the hard shoulder or in the event of breakdown. You must also have a first aid kit and a warning triangle inside the car in case you break down. Only 'hands free' mobile telephones can be used whilst driving.

Fuel
All grades of unleaded petrol, diesel and LPG are available as well as lead substitute additive. It is allowed to carry petrol in a can. Credit and debit cards are widely accepted, although they probably won't work at automatic pumps. At many garages in rural areas only automatic pumps are available at lunch time, during the evening and weekend, so make sure you're topped up.

Parking
For short-term parking (Kurzparkzone) you must buy a ticket from a local shop and fill in your time of arrival.  At night you must leave your sidelights on unless street lighting is provided.

Fines
On-the-spot fines are issued. Ensure an official receipt is issued by the officer collecting the fine.

Traffic Accident, Breakdown
Traffic accidents involving injury to persons must immediately be reported to the police; accidents involving material damage must only be reported when mutual identity has not been established. The ÖAMTC and ARBÖ Automobile Clubs operate a 24-hour emergency breakdown service, which may be utilized by anyone (non-members must pay a fee).

Emergency Numbers
Dial 112 anywhere in the EU to reach the emergency services.

Local Numbers:
Fire - 122
Police - 133
Ambulance - 144
Mountain Rescue - 140
Doctor (out of hours) - 141

Driving in Germany

At all times

Always have in your car your driver’s license and International Driver's Permit, car registration, insurance information, blue parking disk and emergency kit.

Speed limits

The standard speed limits are 50 km/h within the city limits and 100 km/h on rural roads, unless otherwise posted. The city limits are marked with a yellow sign which has the city name on it at the beginning of the city limits, and the same yellow sign with a red slash through it at the end of the city limits. When driving in the city, if you see a blue sign with white car, children and bike symbols on it, then you must drive at a walking speed.


The German Autobahn
On the Autobahn, you can drive as fast as you feel is safe; the German authorities recommend a "suggested" speed of 130 kmh (80mph).
You can only pass another car in the left lane. The right lane is for slower vehicles, and overtaking cars in the right lane is illegal.
Before you pull into the left lane to pass another car, make sure to check the rear view mirror carefully - some cars travel as fast as 200 kmh and approach very suddenly.

Speed control
Beware the cameras that will gladly take your picture if you are speeding – these cameras are in many areas along the Autobahn as well as in the cities.

Lane markings
Lanes going the same direction are separated by dashed white lines. A Solid white line separates the different directions. Yellow lines are to notate a change in the traffic flow in a construction area – not to separate the different sides of the road

Diving lanes
Stay in right lane whenever possible. After passing, go back to the right lane. The left lane should only be used for passing, especially on the Autobahn. If, while in the left lane, you see someone coming up behind you – get out of the way. 

Passing
When passing, pass only on the left, and at a faster speed than the car you are passing. Don’t pass at the same speed – speed up, pass, and then return to the speed you were going. A double white line in the middle means no passing. A solid white line beside a dashed line means passing on the dashed side only.
 
Traffic lights
The colors on the signals represent the same things in Germany as they do just about everywhere else. In Germany, prior to the light turning green, the yellow signal will come on with the red for a second. This indicates that the green signal is about to be actived, giving drivers a "get ready" warning.

Right on Red

You are not allowed to turn right on a red light. The only exception to this is when there is a specific signal with a green right arrow.

Traffic signs

These are usually posted on the right, so keep an eye out. The ADAC (the German national motor club) has made a very comprehensive list of traffic signs.

Right of way

When no traffic signal is at an intersection, follow these right of way rules: If you have a sign with a yellow diamond at an intersection, you have the right of way. If you have a sign which is a white triangle with a red border (yield sign), you must wait for the oncoming traffic to clear. If there is no sign, then a vehicle entering from the right has the right of way. There are no 3-way or 4-way stop signs. Likewise, there are also no flashing red lights. If you approach a flashing yellow light, proceed with caution – this does not automatically give you the right of way.

Merging

When merging, observe the “zipper rule” (Reißverschluß), which states that both lanes feed into the continuing lane, alternating cars from each lane. No one lane has priority over the other.

Pedestrian Crossings

Pedestrians crossing the street have the right of way, and you must stop for them. Also, when coming to a stop at an intersection, make sure you do not block the pedestrian crossing.

Traffic Jams

If you find yourself driving into a traffic jam, remember to turn on your hazard lights to warn the drivers behind you. (You can turn them off again once you have a few cars behind you.)

Stalled car

If something happens to your car that is not a serious accident, move it over as far as you can to the right, put your hazard and parking lights on, put your safety vest on and set the warning triangle 100 m (200 m on the highway) away from the car to warn oncoming traffic. Telephones are placed along the Autobahn in case assistance is needed.

Alcohol limit: 0.05%

Roadside Assistance Numbers:

Road Assistance ADAC +49 (0)1802 22 22 22
Road Assistance ACE +49 (0)711 530 34 35 36
Road Assistance AVD +49 (0)800 9909909

Driving in Poland

Some rules

 Traffic is on the right side.

Maximun speed: 50 kmh in towns from 5 AM to 11 PM and 60kmh from 11 PM to 5 AM, 90 kmh outside urban areas, 110 kmh on dual carriageways and 130 kmh on motorways

Permitted alcohol content in blood is 0.2 promilles.

Head lights must be used all year long.

Foreign drivers can use a driving license from their home country or an international driving license for up to six months after entering Poland. Afterwards they are obliged to pass the local examinations which presuppose the knowledge of the Polish language.

Seatbelts must be worn by both front seat and back seat passengers and it is prohibited to use hand-held mobiles while driving.

Children under 12 are obligated to sit in special child seats that should be installed on the back seat.

Cars must be equipped with a fire extinguisher, a first-aid kit and a hazard-warning reflexive triangle.

Information for drivers

 Caution signs and plates explaining the type of obstacle and danger have a yellow background.

Pedestrians may use roads outside inhabited areas, where there is often poor visiblity.

Some roads are in a rather bad condition, despite the national renovation programme in progress.

There are a lot of unguarded railway crossings, which require the driver's attention.

Buses moving from a bus stop have the right of way.

Trams enjoy the right of way at equivalent intersections.

Big Polish cities are full of roundabouts, and the traffic is often coordinated by the police. There are some streets where only taxis and coaches are permitted to enter.Drivers are not very cautious and Poland has one of the worst road accidents statistics in Europe.

Polish fines range from 50-500 PLN (for speeding).

 

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