Austria

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Handedness of road traffic

Austria is a right-hand traffic country.

Speed Limits

The general speed limits in Austria are presented in the table:[1][2]

General Speed limits in km/h (mph)
Type of vehicle / Conditions Built-up areas Rural Expressways Motorways
Motor vehicles ≤ 3,5 t 50 (31) 100 (62) 100 (62) 130 km/h (80 mph)[note 1][3][note 2]
Motor vehicles ≤ 3,5 t with a light trailer (< 750 kg) 50 (31) 100 (62) 100 (62) 100 (62)
Motor vehicles with all trailers and a combined weight ≤ 3,5 t 50 (31) 80 (50) 100 (62) 100 (62)
Motor vehicles ≤ 3,5 t with all trailers mentioned in the data sheet of the vehicle 50 (31) 70 (44) 80 (50) 80 (50)
Motor vehicles and trailers with snow chains 50 (31) recommended
Motor vehicles and trailers with spike tires 50 (31) 80 (50) 100 (62) 100 (62)
Towing with a rope, a bar, a towing dolly or a salvage crane 40 (25) 40 (25) to the next junction 40 (25) to the next exit

Notes:

  1. In the motorways listed bellow a limit of 110 km/h applies between 10 p.m and 5 a.m. daily:
    1. Tauern motorway A10 in its entire length except Tauern and Katschberg tunnels
    2. Inntal motorway A12 in its entire length
    3. Brenner Autobahn A13 in its entire length
    4. Rheintal Autobahn A14 in its entire length
  2. When air pollution is to high reduced speed limits to 100 km/h apply indicated by the label IG-L on the electronic boards of the motorways, bellow the speed limit sign.

Documents

  1. Driver's license. EU/EEA citizens can use the license issued by their countries' authorities. For citizens of other countries International Driving Permits should be carried along with the license.
  2. Car registration certificate.
  3. Certificate of Motor Insurance plus International Motor Insurance Card (Green Card).

Items required in cars or with motorcycles

  1. Drivers of four-wheeled motor vehicles are obliged to carry a suitable warning sign (warning triangle). Motorcyclists are exempted from this obligation.[4]
  2. Drivers of four-wheeled motor vehicles are obliged to carry reflective warning clothing at all times. No such obligation exists for two-wheeled vehicles.
    These must be kept inside the vehicle and, when necessary (e.g. in case of an accident or a breakdown), worn when getting out of the vehicle. Appropriate warning clothes are, for example, jackets, overalls, trousers and blankets, which correspond to Austrian Standard (ÖNORM) EN 471 or ÖNORM EN ISO 20471.[4]
  3. A First Aid kit that is suitable for wound treatment must be carried in motor vehicles, and hence also on two-wheeled motor vehicles at all times. It must be kept in a robust dust-proof container and protected from dirt. The driver is responsible for complying with this regulation.
    The aforementioned attributes constitute the legal minimum requirement. There is no legal obligation to carry First Aid kits which correspond to Austrian Standard (ÖNORM) V 5101. However, it is recommended to carry such kits as they include all objects that are essential for primary medical care.[4]

Winter conditions

Between 1 November and 15 April, passenger cars and trucks with a permissible maximum weight of up to 3.5 t may be operated in winter conditions such as snow-covered tracks, snowy slush or ice only if winter tires have been installed on all wheels.

As an alternative to winter tires, snow chains may be used on at least two driving wheels, however, these may only be used in case the road is covered by a complete or scarcely broken snow cover or sheet of ice.

According to the law, only tires which bear the following letters are regarded as winter tires: "M+S", "M.S." or "M&S" or with an additional or an exclusive snowflake sign (3PMSF). All-season tires may only be used as winter tires if they have such an inscription. Special use tires are only regarded as winter tires if they bear the following letters: "ET", "ML" or "MPT".[5]

Spike tires

Driving with spike tires is forbidden only in the summer months of June, July, August and September. A standardized spike sticker must be attached to the rear of the vehicle in a position that makes it clearly visible. Such stickers are available at motorist associations (ÖAMTC, ARBÖ).

Spikes may only be used in combination with motor vehicles [Kraftwagen] with a permissible maximum weight of up to 3.500 kg. If the towing vehicle is equipped with spikes, the trailer that is being towed must also be equipped with spikes (up to a maximum axle load of 1.800 kg).

Spikes must be used on all wheels which transfer forces to the road surface. The tire's steel pins must not stick out more than 2,0 mm beyond the tire's tread and must settle tightly in the tyre in order to avoid damage of the road surface and of other vehicles.[6]

Headlights

There is no general obligation to switch on the lights during the day. However, a dipped beam is always required if visibility is impaired by rain, snowfall, fog and the like and at dusk and in the dark. Two-wheeled motorcycles (mopeds, motor bikes) have to be driven with a dipped beam or with daytime running lights at all times.

Lights may be used during the day if the driver so chooses.[7]

Filling stations

Pumps are normally self-service. After filling your car you have to pay in the shop in cash or with a credit / debit card.

Some manned and all unmanned stations (which are not that common) have pay at the pump systems. In that case you can use a credit / debit card in the pumps payment terminal or even cash.

Fuel Types

  1. Unleaded petrol / gasoline – (German: Bleifrei benzin).
    Petrol is commonly called at the pump Super when it has an octane rating of 95 RON or Super Plus when it has a rating of 98 RON. 91 RON petrol is labeled as "Benzin".
    The labels E5 and E10 that characterize unleaded petrol refer to the percentage of ethanol in the mix with it being 5% or 10% respectively and the rest of the mix consists of standard unleaded fuel.
  2. Diesel (which has the same name in German)
  3. LPG. It's also called Autogas. A list of stations that sell LPG is available by following the previous link.
  4. CNG. A list of CNG stations can be found by following the link at the start of the sentence.

Fuel stations locations and fuel prices

Indicatively some sources of locations of fuel stations and real time prices of fuel in Austria:

  1. Spritpreisrechner.at a website set up by E-control, funded by Austria's Federal Ministry for Digital and Economic Affairs.
  2. ÖAMTC also available for Android (choose "Tanken" from the app's menu) and iOS (again choose "Tanken").
  3. Cheap Refuel for Android. The app is available in English.

Electric vehicle chargers

ladestellen.at, a website set up by E-control, funded by Austria's Federal Ministry for Digital and Economic Affairs offers a list of the available chargers for electric vehicles and PHEVs, offering the capability of searching chargers by their connector's type.

Road user charges

Toll Sticker (vignette) and Digital Vignette

All cars, motorbikes and camper vans up to 3,5 t mpw (maximum permissible weight) must properly display a toll sticker or have purchased online in time a digital vignette when they drive onto motorways (Bundesstraßen A or Bundesautobahnen) or expressways (Schnellstraßen or officially Bundesstraßen S).

As of now, the toll collection along the entire motorway and expressway network of Austria, which up until this point was uninterrupted, shall allow individual exceptions, at least temporarily. These exceptions shall enter into force in five sections as of 15 December 2019.

  • the toll road A1 Westautobahn between the national border at Walserberg and the Salzburg Nord junction,
  • the toll road A12 Inntalautobahn between the national border at Kufstein and the Kufstein-Süd junction,
  • the toll road A14 Rheintal/Walgau Autobahn between the national border at Hörbranz and the Hohenems junction,
  • the bypass bridges to be built on the toll road A7 Mühlkreis Autobahn between the Hafenstraße junction and the Urfahr junction (currently still under construction) and
  • the toll road A26 Linzer Autobahn (currently still under construction)

Vignettes with periods of validity of 10 days, 2 months or 1 year are available. Prices can be seen in the following table:

Vignette prices
Type of vehicle 10-day vignette 2-month vignette Annual vignette[note 1]
Vehicle with a maximum gross vehicle weight of up to 3,5 t 9,40 € 27,40 € 91,10 €
Motorcycle 5,40 € 13.70 € 36,20 €

Note:

  1. Annual vignettes are valid for 14 months, from 1st December of the previous year till 31st January of the following. for example 2020's annual vignette is valid from 1st December 2019 till 31st January 2021.

Purchase and installation

If you are crossing borders and you are going to enter an Austrian motorway or expressway you have to have the vignette installed before reaching Austrian soil. You can get your toll sticker at around 6.000 points of sale (petrol stations, tobacco shops, driving clubs and ASFINAG toll stations).

Be aware that for the 10-day and 2-month vignettes the date of purchase must be punched on the sticker for it to be valid. If for example the punch day (Lochungstag) is 10 January 2020, the 10-day vignette is valid till and including 19 January 2020, midnight and the 2-month vignette is valid till and including 10 March 2020, midnight.

For cars attach the toll sticker in a visible location on the inside of the windscreen (ASFiNAG's suggestion: at top left or near the rear view mirror).

Attention: Do not attach the toll sticker in the tinted section of the windscreen.

For motorcycles attach the toll sticker on a clean and above all non-replaceable part of the motorcycle (e.g. a fork rod or the tank).

Attention: A toll sticker attached to a luggage case or a motorcycle bag is not valid.

Digital vignette

You can buy a digital vignette from anywhere within the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland, abolishing the need to install the physical sticker, on ASFiNAG's webshop and on the free ASFiNAG's app "Unterwegs", available for both Android and iOS.

The digital vignette is linked to the car's number plate. As a consumer, you cannot use the digital vignette immediately after purchase, it is valid at the earliest 18 days after purchase. If you are an entrepreneur, this time limit does not apply to you. In other words: In order to have a valid Digital Vignette on February 1st (from then only the 2020 vignette is valid), you must purchase it online by 14 January 2020 at the latest. This only applies to consumers and not to companies / entrepreneurs.

You can check the validity of your digital vignette by using ASFiNAG's validity check tool.

Toll roads

There are certain motorways and an expressway which have tolls and a vignette is not needed between the individual toll stations, unlike elsewhere on motorways and expressways. A map with them marked in green is availabe following the link. These motorways are:

  • A9 Pyhrn motorway: Gleinalm and Bosruck tunnel
  • A10 Tauern motorway: Katschberg tunnel and Tauern tunnel
  • A11 Karawanken motorway: Karawanks Tunnel
  • A13 Brenner motorway
  • S16 Arlberg expressway: Arlberg Road Tunnel

Here is the available payment methods:

  1. Directly at the toll station to the toll operator by cash, credit card (VISA, Diners Club, Mastercard and American Express), fuel card (DKV, Esso, Shell, OMV, Routex, UTA) or Maestro card.
  2. There are also lanes with toll processing machines at the toll stations, which again accept cash, credit card (VISA, Diners Club, Mastercard and American Express), fuel card (DKV, Esso, Shell, OMV, Routex, UTA) or debit card (Austrian Maestro card and German EC card) The machine accepts coins and banknotes (up to 20-euro bills), and it gives change. There is a button you can press if you would like a receipt. After paying using the toll processing machine remember to take your receipt! The toll covers your onward journey on the A13 within 24 hours in the same direction. One of the machines you may encounter during your trip can be seen in this picture, if you follow the link.
    In addition to the previous type of toll machines, there are credit card machines on the A13 Brenner motorway, the A10 Tauern motorway and the A9 Pyhrn motorway. They differ from the toll machines mentioned above, as they they do not accept cash. The lanes that take you to the credit card machines are marked in bright orange. At toll stations there are always on the left in the direction of travel. A picture of credit card toll machine is available by clicking on the previous link
  3. You can also buy a video toll ticket that register's your vehicle's number plates. As soon you you enter a toll lane of your choice with the registered vehicle, the car number plate is identified, the barriers open automatically and you can pass through quickly without having to stop.
    There is also a specially marked video toll lane that can only be used by cars without a trailer. The car must be no wider than two meters (wheelbase). By choosing the dedicated lane you save time by not waiting behind drivers who don't use the video system and have to stop in order to pay. Depending on the motorway there are tickets for 1 or 2 trips or even annual one's for daily commuters. If you plan to use the same motorway for for a number of times that would give a total greater than an annual ticket, then the annual ticket gives a cheaper option.

    You can buy a video toll ticket:
    1. by visiting ASFiNAG's webshop
    2. by using ASFiNAG's app "Unterwegs", available for both Android and iOS and
    3. At the OMV petrol station Brenner and Rest area Münster Nord you can buy a video toll ticket from a machine. The machines only accept credit and debit cards, not cash.
      https://asfinag.azureedge.net/media/1346/videomaut-automat.jpg

The validity of your video toll ticket can be checked by using ASFiNAG's check tool.

The pricing of tolls in Austria is available on ASFiNAG's website: Route rates.

Also a map with the roads where a vignette is mandatory (orange color), stretches of roads where the use of the vignette is exempted (blue color) and toll roads (green color) is available by following the link.

Urban Access Regulations

There are restrictions that only concern lorries and heavy goods vehicles (HGV). As of today all the other vehicles can move into cities unrestrictedly and there are no any environmental schemes enforced that affect passenger vehicles in any city in the country.

References