For detailed information on driving in Sweden, see www.vv.se
DRIVING LICENCES IN SWEDEN:
If you possess a valid European Union (EU) driving licence and your stay is temporary, you do not need a dispensation.
There are many different regulations regarding obtaining a Swedish driver’s licence depending on what country you are arriving from. It is always best to check for the regulations regarding your home country. There is some helpful information for United States expatriates on the American Women’s Club of Stockholm’s website.
If you come from a country outside the EU and will be here for more than 12 months, you must apply for a dispensation in order to drive legally using your foreign licence. It is a good idea to apply for the dispensation before the end of your first year. To apply, contact: Länsstryrelsen, Körkortstillstånd, Box 22056, 10422.
You must carry your driving licence with you when driving. If you don’t, and are stopped by the Police, you may not be allowed to continue driving your car until you have it!
Before driving in Stockholm, it is important to review the Swedish road and parking signs. These can be found here. Take note that in the centre of Stockholm and many outlying areas, there is a 30 km/hr speed limit restriction. Fines are heavy, and exceeding 20 km/hr over the speed limit may lead to a loss of your licence.
- Buses have the right of way in Sweden (on 30 and 50 km/hr roads), so look out for buses coming out of a stop. You will need to slow down or stop to accommodate a bus that pulls out. They will come anyway! Note that at unmarked crossroads, you should give way to traffic from the right.
- Sweden’s drinking and driving laws are strict, and the police are able to stop you at any time and give a breathalyser test. Driving with a blood alcohol limit over 0.02% can mean a prison sentence. So, the limit is effectively zero.
- It is against the law to sit in your car with the engine running for more than one minute in Swedish towns. Look out for ’Tomgångkörning max 1 min’ signs. This law was passed for environmental protection.
- It is mandatory to stop for pedestrians at zebra/pedestrian crossings. You may be fined 1000 sek if you don’t. You can also be fined for stopping on a crossing.
- In Sweden you must drive with headlights on 24hours a day.
- Sweden is 54 per cent forest, so there are a lot of animal warning signs posted. These signs must be taken seriously. You should take extra care when driving around sunset and dawn.
- Cyclists ride in all weather, sometimes without lights. Often cyclist and motor roads cross each other. Be very careful.
- Winter tyres are optional from 1st October. The law states that it is compulsory to have winter tyres on all cars from 1st December while winter conditions exist. As winter road conditions can be severe, it is recommended that you choose good quality winter tyres. There are two types of winter tyre: those with studs (dubb-däck), and those without (dubbfria däck or friction däck). Studded winter tyres have to be removed by 30th April. There are a number of places that will change tyres for you. Look for places advertising Däckservice. The minimum legal remaining tread depth for summer is 1.6mm and for winter is 3mm.
Ensure that your car is ready for a Swedish winter. It is worth having a snow shovel and a small sack of sand in your car just in case you get stuck. Make sure that you have a snow brush and ice scrapers to clear windows of snow or ice, and also some lock oil (låsolja) to unfreeze the locks. Never use hot water! It is also worth checking that your battery is in good condition, headlights are clean, that you have spare bulbs, especially for the headlights, that you have antifreeze and plenty of screen – wash fluid. When buying motor oil, check the temperature ranges on the can. For longer journeys, it is worth having warm clothes and blankets, just in case.
ANNUAL CAR CHECK
If you own a car in Stockholm, you may have to take the car for a mandatory check or Bilprovning. All cars need to have the warning security triangle visible and always in the car. New cars and light commercial vehicles should be taken for their first periodic inspection when they are three years old, and for the second time when they are five years old. Thereafter, they are inspected once every year. You may be offered an appointment by post or you can contact: Bilprovning AB, ✆ 0771 600 800.
There are very good maps at the back of the Yellow Pages (Gula Sidorna) of all of the Stockholm Districts, including T-bana and train maps. Also, check out these websites: www.eniro.se or www.hitta.se and click on karta or kartor (maps). Type in the address you want and then click on sök (search). If you want to see a bigger map, click on Stor Karta at the bottom.
For a detailed street map of Stockholm and its suburbs, refer to a book titled: Atlas Över Storstockholm (ISBN: 9158846581).
Free maps of the city are available at Stockholm Tourist Information, Vasagatan 14, opposite the street from Stockholm Central Station.
The cost of a GPS is very affordable these days and can be a worthwhile asset.
The website: www.trafiken.nu has traffic information in Swedish, as well as traffic webcams.
TOLL CHARGE (Trängselskatt)
Swedish registered cars driving in or out of Stockholm city centre are subject to a congestion charge. Registration plates are automatically read as your vehicle passes through the toll. A monthly invoice is sent to the registered owner of the vehicle. Charges are made between 6:30 am – 18.29 pm and the cost varies between 10-20 SEK depending on the time of day. The maximum charge for a single day is capped at 60 SEK. There is no charge on weekends, public holidays, the day before a public holiday or for the entire month of July. Diplomatic cars and those which are not registered in Sweden are exempt. You can register via the website to have this payment made automatically through your bank.
PARKING IN STOCKHOLM
Residential parking (boendeparkering)
Parking near your house is not always free. The city of Stockholm is divided into 6 interior zones where parking for residents is costly. You can find a description and the limits of these zones at www.stockholm.se / Trafik och stadsplanering / Parkering / Parkeringstillstånd / Boendeparkering / Boendeparkeringsområden.
For your authorised demand contact Trafikkontoret: ✆ 08508 27 200 or use the Internet site at www.stockholm.se. Parking fines are high and tickets are issued often. In-house car parks are expensive, but relatively secure. On-street parking is cheaper, but it can be difficult to find a parking space within the allowed zones. If you want to avoid a fine (of up to 950 SEK), check the parking signs carefully. Buy and display your ticket from the curbside machine and make sure you get back on time.
Parking is prohibited on and within a distance of 10 meters of a pedestrian or bicycle crossing, or within a distance of 10 meters from an intersection.