Driving rules and regulations

Getting a Swedish driving licence

Driving rules and regulations

The driving regulations in Sweden are not unlike those of other European countries. However, Sweden is particularly stringent in its enforcement of these rules, particularly when it comes to the use of headlights and alcohol consumption.

Driving regulations

The legal age for driving in Sweden is 18. It is advisable to carry your registration documentation, driving licence and driving insurance documentation at all times. Driving licences issued in an EEA country are valid in Sweden. All passengers in the car must wear a seatbelt, even in the back seats. Children under the age of seven should have approved car seats. A warning triangle should be carried in all cars. If you are stopped by the police or break down, the warning triangle should indicate a 50-100m space behind the car. A warning triangle is standard issue when you rent a car.

In Sweden they drive on the right-hand side of the road. There are usually on-street meters or machines where you can purchase your parking ticket. Parking on the right-hand side of the street is available from 8am-6pm.

In the case of an emergency, you can call the Assistancekåren  for free on 020912912 (only in Sweden). The European emergency number, 112, also works in Sweden for the police/fire/ambulance services.

Road conditions

In Sweden, every car should have their headlights on 24 hours a day. In rented cars, the headlights are often kept on automatically. If this rule is ignored, a penalty may be incurred. The regulations against alcohol consumption when driving are some of the strictest in Europe. The blood alcohol limit is 0.02 (compared to 0.08 in the UK, for example) and the police can demand a blood test at any moment. If you fail the test you risk imprisonment.

It is important to note that in Sweden, speed is measured in kilometres rather than miles (1 mile = 1.6 km). Swedes often speak of the “Swedish mile”, but don't let this trick you, because what they actually mean is 10km! The motorways in Sweden are marked with blue signs and the speed limit is 110 kph (68 mph). The motorways are toll free. The main roads are marked with green signs, and start with the letter E followed by numbers. The speed limit on the main roads is 90 kph (56 mph). The smaller roads have a speed limit of 70 kph (43 mph) and in the towns and cities the limit is 50 kph (31 mph).

The roads of Sweden are very rarely congested and occasionally you can go for miles without seeing a single soul. Having said this, watch out for the wildlife such as moose and deer, they have a habit of wandering onto the more rural roads. There are often warning signs for wild animals on these particular roads. It is not a criminal offence if you do happen to hit one though it can do a lot of damage to your car.

In the city of Stockholm there are occasional delays in rush hour and congestion charges are put in place. When renting a car, you can decide if you wish to pay for these charges beforehand.

Swedish driving licences

Only members of a an EEA country, Switzerland or Japan can exchange their current licence for a Swedish licence. They also must have proof that they are a permanent resident of Sweden (minimum 185 calendar days per year). Those wishing to make the exchange must contact the Swedish Transport Agency  in order to complete their theory and practical tests and obligatory hazard training. It is worth bearing in mind, that since members of EEA countries are able to use their current licences in Sweden, it may not be worth the hassle to apply for a Swedish licence and have to retake the test.

For those who own a validated driving licence from outside the EEA, it is possible to exchange it for a Swedish driving licence, so long as the holder is a permanent resident of Sweden. For more information on validating foreign driving licences in Sweden: visit here: Foreign Driving Licences in Sweden .

Further reading

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