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Tips for Driving in Norway

By: Norman Thomson - Updated: 28 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Tips For Driving In Norway

Norway is a beautiful country. It offers the tourist a wide variety of experiences: from dramatic scenery around the west coast; museums and culture in the capital city, Oslo; and the world famous Nidarosdomen Cathedral in the picturesque city of Trondheim. There are many way to explore this wonderful country, by far the best way is by car.

Vehicle Safety

Whether you hire a car in Norway or bring your own, it is important that you understand local rules and regulations associated with driving in this Scandinavian country. Firstly, there are some basics that are important. Cars must be equipped with a red warning triangle in case of emergencies, and it is imperative that a yellow fluorescent jacket or vest is kept in the vehicle. In addition, it is recommended that vehicles have first-aid kits and a fire extinguisher.

The rules about tyres are quite strict. For example, minimum tread on summer tyres must be at least 1.6mm, but in the winter months, tyres must have at least 3mm of tread. Winter tyres should be installed on vehicles during the months of November to April. However in some regions, this may be extended from October to May.

Some other safety features that you should be aware of include: seat-belts must be provided for, and used by, all passengers; dipped headlights must be used at all times, even during daylight; and third party insurance is compulsory.

Driver Safety

The minimum age for driving in Norway is 17. Drivers must have a valid EC driving licence – held for at least one year – or, in the case of non-European license holders, a valid permit to drive. The use of mobile phones by drivers is strictly forbidden and is strictly enforced. So too is pedestrian safety. It is important that you give way to pedestrians, especially while they are on, or approaching, a pedestrian crossing. It is not unknown in Norway for drivers to receive hefty on-the-spot fines for failing to give way to a pedestrian, regardless of whether there was an accident.

The other thing that is important is an understanding of the alcohol rules. The maximum amount of alcohol that is allowed in the blood is only 20mg per 100litres of blood, or expressed another way, 0.02%. As a comparison, the UK laws allow 0.08%! In Norway, drinking a small beer may be enough to push a person over the legal limit. Many drunk drivers are sent to prison, with no leniency for foreigners.

If an accident should occur, the rules in Norway are very similar to other European countries. Drivers must inform the police if anyone is injured, but if no injuries occur, it is acceptable for drivers to swap details of insurance companies before carrying on their journeys – providing the vehicle is safe to proceed. It is important that you take details of the driver and his car e.g. name, address of the driver, make of car and registration number. The emergency numbers in Norway are: police 110; fire 112; and ambulance service 113.

Speeding in Norway is another strictly enforced misdemeanour. Even 6km per hour over the legal speed is enough to get a spot fine. Motorways and duel carriageways usually have a 90km per hour speed limit, while built up areas required a maximum speed of 50km per hour. In some densely populated areas the speed limit can be as low as 30km per hour. On most major roads, 80km per hour is the normal maximum speed.

How About Fuel?

Unleaded petrol, or blyfri bensin, is readily available throughout the country. However, petrol stations in mountainous areas can be far apart so care must be taken when planning journeys. Fuel can be expensive and the price varies depending on the accessibility of the petrol stations. Expect to pay 20% more for petrol in remote areas of Norway.

Parking

There are numerous car parks in the major cities of Norway, with p-automat being the most popular type. This simply means that a ticket must be bought after your car has been parked. The other common type of parking is the p-hus, or parking garage. The difference with this type of parking is that payment is made when exiting the garage.

Bomstasjon Toll

Norway’s transport infrastructure is generally very good in comparison to other European countries. There are hundreds of bridges and tunnels, and the upkeep of these is usually paid for by charging tolls. When hiring a car it is possible to pre-pay toll charges. By doing so, you can drive straight through the toll stations. Lanes are clearly marked so that you can select the automatic toll payment route through the toll station. If you don’t pre-pay, you must stop at the toll and make a payment.

Norway is a great country and an ideal way to explore it is by driving. By taking some simple precautions and by adhering to the very strict laws that exist, your driving holiday in Norway can be fun, without unexpected surprises.

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The minimum age for driving in Norway is not 17, but 18. However, you can practice from the age of 16.
Local dude - 10-Jul-12 @ 8:58 AM
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