Handedness of road traffic
Switzerland is a right-hand traffic country.
The general speed limits in Switzerland are presented in the table:
|Type of vehicle / Conditions||Built-up areas||Rural||Expressways||Motorways|
|Motor vehicles ≤ 3,5 t||50 (31)||80 (49)||100 (62)||120 (74)|
|Vehicles with studded tires||50 (31)||80 (49)||80 (49)||80 (49)|
|Passenger cars towing a trailer||50 (31)||80 (49)||80 (49)||80 (49)|
- Driver's license. You have to be at least 18 years old holding a full valid driver's license in order to drive in Switzerland. EU/EEA citizens can use the license issued by their countries' authorities. For citizens of other countries International Driving Permits are needed only if their license is not in any of the official languages of the Swiss Confederation (French, German, Italian) or in English.
- Registration certificate.
- Certificate of Motor Insurance. If your vehicle is not insured in an EU/EEA country you should carry an International Motor Insurance Card (Green Card).
- All foreign-registered with non-EU number plates vehicles in Switzerland must display a nationality sticker at the rear. Separate signs are not needed for Canada, Mexico and the United States, where the province, state or district of registration is usually embossed or surface-printed on the vehicle registration plate.
Items required in cars or with motorcycles
- Emergency warning triangle is compulsory for car drivers.
There is no legal obligation to install winter tires in Switzerland. In the case of an accident though, the driver may be found liable if the car is not properly equipped for wintry conditions. The insurance company may not cover the full cost of the damage or may even take action against the insured person for negligence.
Snow chains required (metal snow chains must be applied to at least two wheels of the same axle; also applies to three-wheelers) when authorities make their use mandatory or when indicated by road sign 2.48.
Studded tires may be fitted to motor vehicles, the total weight of which does not exceed 7.5 t, motorcycles, light motor quadricycles, motor quadricycles and motor tricycles, and trailers coupled to these vehicles. They can only be used between 1 November and 30 April and outside of this period, in the presence of winter conditions.
A sign indicating the maximum authorized speed of 80 km/h, should be attached to the rear of vehicles fitted with studded tires.
Motor vehicles (cars, vans, trucks and buses) and motorcycles must have their headlights on when being driven during daylight hours. Exempted from this requirement are mopeds, e-bikes and bicycles, and vehicles that were registered before 1970. Anyone who fails to comply with the requirement to drive with headlights on will be fined CHF 40. As a result cars without DRLs should have their low-beam lamps alway turned on when driving.
Many stations have pay at the pump systems accepting debit and credit cards like Mastercard and Visa. In larger stations you can also pay in the shop after filling up the tank of your vehicle.
- Unleaded petrol / gasoline – (German: Bleifrei benzin, French: Essence sans plomb, Italian: benzina senza piombo). Octane ratings of 95 RON and 98 RON are common at fuel stations. Big suppliers like Shell offer 100 RON petrol.
- Diesel (which has the same name in all over Switzerland).
- LPG. It's also called: GPL, Autogas. A list of stations that sell LPG is available at the website linked in the start of the sentence.
- CNG. A list of CNG stations can be found by following the previous link.
A website that provides current fuel prices in Switzerland as well as the locations of the fuel stations is benzin-preis.ch.
Electric vehicle chargers
Road user charges
Swiss motorway sticker (vignette)
All vehicles (except vehicles over 3,5 t in case they are covered by the heavy goods vehicle charge - HVC) using Swiss motorways and expressways need to have a vignette installed on the windscreen. The roads where the vignette is obligatory are shown on the map with red color.
Be aware that trailers with a total weight ≤ 3.5 t towed by a motor vehicle need their own extra vignette.
Only annual vignettes are available, unlike in other countries which offer vignettes for shorter periods of time at a lower price. A Swisss vignette is valid for 14 months, from 1 December of the previous year till 31 January of the next year. For example the 2020 vignette is valid from 1 December 2019 till 31 January 2021.
Purchase and installation
Vignettes are available from customs offices at the Swiss border as well as post offices, fuel stations, motorway service stations, and other retail locations. For 2020 its price is 38 € or 40 CHF. Points of sale for the Swiss motorway vignette can be found by following the link on Swiss Federal Customs Administration's website including these online options:
In cars, the vignette must be affixed on the inside of the windscreen on an untinted area, so it can be clearly be visible from the outside and at the same time not obstruct driver's view of the road, for example near the top left or right corners.
In the case of motorcycles and trailers, the vignette should be affixed to an easily accessible part of them which is not easily removable.
Great St Bernard Tunnel
Prices for the tolls and available options (like one-way or with return tickets, etc.) can be found in the tunnel's official website, by following the previous link. Special offers are also available, as for example electric cars that cross the tunnel (until 31 December 2020) are entitled to a free return by presenting the one-way ticket within 72 hours of purchase. All the offers can be found by following the link to the official site.
The available payment methods are:
- Cash at both sides of the border.
- At the Swiss side of the border the following credit cards are accepted: American Express, Diners Club International, MasterCard and Visa.
- At the Italian side of the border the following debit and credit cards are accepted: American Express, Aura, Diners Club International, MasterCard and Visa.
- There are also 10 crossings and 20 crossings tickets with a discounted price valid for 2 years starting on 1/4/2019.
Munt la Schera Tunnel
The Munt La Schera tunnel only has a single lane. Traffic is regulated by means of a traffic light.
You can see opening hours and [prices and different options] (for example one-way tickets or round-trip etc.) from 28 January 2020 to 30 April 2020, by following the links. Please note that Saturdays pricing is higher than the rest days of the week.
Paying option for the tunnel:
- You can buy the E-TICKET online saving time at the toll station. You have to choose if the ticket will be used during Sunday to Friday or if it is for a Saturday. Tickets are not refundable. If you arrive at the tolls with a Su-Fr ticket on a Saturday then you will have to pay the difference at the booth.
- You can buy the E-TICKET locally. Buying your ticket locally at the selling point you receive a return ticket without expiry date and you should keep it for your return.
- There is also EKW-Card for local population that offers discounted prices.
Urban Access Regulations
Geneva has adopted since 15 January 2020, with a grace period that ended on 30 March 2020, an emergency emission scheme, where only vehicles that belong to certain emissions groups are allowed to enter in the differentiated traffic zone when anti-smog measures are in force.
Drivers who plan to drive in the city when anti-smog measures are in force have to buy a Stick'AIR sticker. Drivers who have bought the French Crit'Air sticker can also use it in the city of Geneva, because it implements identical classes of emissions. If you first plan to travel to France you can read about the Crit'Air sticker in the relevant Driverpedia's article.
The Stick'AIR sticker is on sale at the counters of the Office cantonal des véhicules for 5 CHF. Other points of sale will be added in 2020. Also you can order the French Crtit'Air sticker online which is also valid in Geneva for a cost of 3,11 € plus postage or a total of 4,41 € for EU countries.
According to the vehicle's Euro emission standard it will be assigned a certain sticker from one of the classes 1 to 5. Class 1 stickers are given to vehicles with lower emissions while Class 5 to vehicles with higher emissions. There is a special class for electric vehicles and there is no sticker for cars and motorcycles of Euro 1 standard or even older vehicles, meaning that uncategorized vehicles are not able to access the differentiated traffic zone when any of the schemes levels is active.
You can determine which Stick'AIR sticker corresponds to your vehicle by visiting City of Geneva's website about vehicles' classification and answering the questionnaire.
Alternatively the following table presents the classes of the stickers and the vehicles to which they are assigned:
tricycles and quads
|Cars and vans|
|Green Stick'AIR sticker||Electric vehicles and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles|
|1||Gas vehicles and PHEV (plug in hybrid)|
1 January 2017 for motorcycles
1 January 2018 for mopeds
|Euro 5 and 6
From 1 January 2011
1 January 2007 to 31 December 2016 for motorcycles
to 31 December 2017 for mopeds
1 January 2006 to 31 December 2010
|Euro 5 and 6|
From 1 January 2011
1 July 2004 to 31 December 2006
|Euro 2 and 3
1 January 1997 to 31 December 2005
1 January 2006 to 31 December 2010
1 June 2000 to 30 June 2004
1 January 2001 to 31 December 2005
1 January 1997 to 31 December 2000
|No sticker||Without norm
Until 31 May 2000
|Euro 1 and before
Until 31 December 1996
Vans until 30 September 1997
|Euro 1 and before|
Until 31 December 1996
Vans until 30 September 1997
When anti-smog measures are active, between 06:00 to 22:00, only vehicles that have the corresponding Stick'AIR stickers according to the activation level can enter in the differentiated traffic zone. You can see the different activation levels for the Stick'AIR scheme by clicking the previous link. For example at "Warning level" only vehicles with an EV sticker or stickers of class 1, 2 and 3 can enter the city.
Furthermore, when anti-smog measures are active, regardless of there level, a 80 km/h speed limit is imposed for roads that regularly have a higher speed limit.
At entry points to main roads, a special sign indicates the Stick'AIR categories authorized to travel within the zone when the differentiated traffic measure is in force.
You can stay informed about the current situation by subscribing to notifications via email (in French) by the City of Geneva.
Here is a list of car-free towns and areas in Switzerland (you can learn more about each one by following the links):
- The Swiss Federal Council, "741.11 Ordonnance sur les règles de la circulation routière", Partie 1 Règles de circulation, Chapitre 1 Règles générales, Art.4a Limitations générales de vitesse; règle fondamentale, November 13, 1962 (as of February 1, 2019)
- The Swiss Federal Council, 741.11 Ordonnance sur les règles de la circulation routière", Partie 1 Règles de circulation, Chapitre 1 Règles générales, Art. 5 Vitesse maximale pour certains genres de véhicules, November 13, 1962 (as of February 1, 2019)
- The Swiss Authorities Online, Are winter tyres compulsory?
- The Swiss Federal Council, 741.11 Ordonnance sur les règles de la circulation routière", Troisième partie Exigences techniques, Titre premier Définitions et exigences générales, Chapitre 2 Propulsion, gaz d’échappement, niveau sonore, Art. 62 Restrictions d’utilisation, identification, November 13, 1962 (as of February 1, 2019)
- The Swiss Authorities Online, Requirement to drive with headlights on during daylight hours
- République et canton de Genève, Are the different pollution-related stickers used elsewhere in the world recognized in Geneva ?, 23 December 2019