Driving to Austria

Photo – DFDS

Drive to Austria – Since there are fast and well-maintained motorways throughout Central Europe, getting to Austria by car is simple.

An excellent motorway, highway, and federal road network connects Austria with its neighbouring countries. All main border check points are open day and night. In general, Austrian traffic regulations and traffic signals are similar to those enforced in other European countries.

Drive News Update Sept 2023

Over this past summer we have noticed when driving in Austria, speed cameras are being installed at the entrances to tunnels. This gives very little time to slow down to the required speed limit, so be aware when approaching tunnels. Some can have speed limits of 100km or 80km or even 50km.

Also, it seems that the authorities are trying to increase income by install speed cameras in Road Works!! Not just at the beginning, but during the length of the roadworks there could be 4/5 speed cameras, so be awafre, do not think that as you have gone past number one at the right speed, the otghers will catch you out if you increase your speed over the limit!!

Ferry routes to europe
Ferry routes from UK to continent of Europe – graphic DFDS

For UK visitors, it is of course necessary to take first the ferry to Europe.

From driving off the ferry, It is approximately 1,035 km (647 mi) from the UK to the Austrian border, and the drive takes between 10 and 11 hours.

Please be aware that you need a “vignette” toll sticker to drive on Austria’s motorways and expressways. It is available at the border, at petrol stations in Germany before the border, or you can buy online.

Take the Ferry to Europe. You can see from the map that there are many choices of UK ports.

As of Jan 2023, the cost of Road toll in Austria is:

A 12-month sticker for private cars and motorhomes up to 3.5t is EURO 96.40 and for motorcycles EURO 38.20
A 2-month sticker for private cars and motorhomes up to 3.5t is EURO 29.00 and for motorcycles EURO 14.50
A 10-day sticker for private cars and motorhomes up to 3.5t is EURO 9.90 and for motorcycles EURO 5.80

Learn more about the toll sticker here.

Winter tyres are required in Germany & Austria

Drive to Austria – Winter tyres are mandatory in Austria. The law states that passenger cars with a permissible maximum weight of up to 3.5 tonnes may be operated only between 1 November and until 15 April in winter conditions such as snow, slush or ice if winter tyres have been installed on all wheels. All-season tyres are also considered winter tyres if they have the “M + S” mark.

As an alternative to winter tyres, 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.

Failure to comply with the law results in a fine up to 5,000 Euros and the vehicle could be impounded.

Insurance is deemed void if a vehicle which is involved in an accident between November 1 and April 15 is not fitted with winter tyres.

On your way in Austria, use your mobile – how it works

Asfinag,    the Austrian Government dept for road travel in Austria, have an App, that is pretty much perfect for travellers and it is in ENGLISH!!

Drive to Austria – This is the app for you if you want access to quick, clear, up-to-date travel information for your route using your smartphone (iPhone, Android). Developed by ASFINAG “On the way” traffic app to provide you with free traffic information in a simple and easy-to-use format. Its intuitive design means that a few clicks is all it takes; whether you’re commuting, setting off on holiday or travelling for business, everything you need for your journey is at your fingertips.

Visit Asfinag web site for more info and to download app.

Asfinag rest areas are all over Austria – photo asfinag

Good to know

Drive to Austria – The ASFINAG rest areas have drinking water wells or drinking water supply points. This allows you to refill your bottles with healthy, cool water.

ASFINAG Rest areas

Our 55 rest areas appeal to all motorists. Shower facilities for truck drivers and a drinking water supply are also available, as are seating, changing tables and, in some cases, children’s playgrounds designed for adventure.

Because we know: only well-rested drivers are safe on the road! And: We provide drivers with free internet access at a large number of rest areas and, in some cases, food and drink options. You can automatically access the ASFINAG Service Portal via WiFi and access important information, for example on the subject of tolls or the current traffic situation.

photo asfinag

Tunnel Safety – link for all updates and modernisation in Austrian Road Tunnels


Drive to Austria – Since 2012, it has been compulsory to form an emergency corridor during congestion or an accident on Austria’s motorways and expressways! However, this only works if all road users comply with this and allow the emergency teams quick and safe access to the scene of the accident.

The benefits of the emergency corridor are obvious

  • Clear and simple rules of conduct
  • The emergency teams can reach their destination quickly
  • Broad access route
  • Injured people can be treated quickly
  • Increase of the chances of survival of road accident victims by up to 40 percent
  • Broken down vehicles on the hard shoulder do not obstruct access
  • The principle is the same as in the neighbouring countries of Germany, Slovenia and Switzerland.

Form an emergency lane as soon as the traffic on the motorway or expressway is beginning to come to a halt, whether an emergency vehicle is nearby or not.

Drive your vehicle to the side of the road and position it parallel to the emergency lane. Make sure you leave enough safety distance to the vehicle in front of you.

Two lanes

If the motorway or expressway has two lanes and you are on the left lane, drive as far to the left-hand side of the road as possible, and if you are on the right lane, drive to the right-hand side of the road as much as possible. Also use the hard shoulder. This applies to cars as well as to motorbikes, lorries and buses.

Three or more lanes

The same system applies to motorways and expressways with three or more lanes. All vehicles on the outermost left lane drive as far to the left as possible. The vehicles on all other lanes drive as far to the right as possible – this includes the hard shoulder.


Drive to Austria – If you have an accident in Austria, and someone is hurt, the Police must be informed immediately…it is an offence not to inform….so be warned!

Austrian Drivers – What can we say?

The English like to think they can ski… well, until they get on the slopes and discover that the dry slope back home was no real help learning to ski!!

Well, the Austrians like to think they can drive..until they waken up in an ambulance or not at all!

Be aware that the Austrians do not like to be behind anyone, so tend to overtake in the most dangerous places.

They also like to get close enough to inspect what is on your rear window shelf!! Roundabouts are not their forte, so do not expect signals or any indication of what they might happen next.

They like to park as near as possible to the main doors of supermarkets even though the car park is empty! There is also a craze for driving with their ear to a mobile phone.

Speed limits are not for them, except when on a motorway and driving through road works. So in general keep your own speed low so you are prepared for any eventuality.

Useful info from Austrian tourism site: Drive to Austria


Motorists are obliged to make sure they have correct tyres to suit the winter weather conditions. This may mean the use of winter tyres (with M&S or snowflake symbol) and in extreme weather, the additional use of snow chains.

Vehicles with summer tyres fitted are not allowed to be driven on roads covered with snow and ice. Fines are in place for vehicles found to be doing so!

News Update: Oct 2022

Germany has introduced larger  fines for motoring offences, they have literally doubled, so do not get caught out on the speed limits.  Be extra careful on the motorways as they can have instant speed reductions advertised on the gantry;s and with Auto camera’s… even a little over the speed limit will catch you out.

Drive to Austria – News Update 03.08.21

AUSTRIA -Starting this Wednesday  1st Sept, 2021 tougher penalties will apply in Austria for dangerous speeding.

On September 1, the amendment to the “speeding regulations” comes into force. The changes in the Road Traffic Act and the Driver’s License Act relate primarily to the massive exceeding of speed limits in local areas and on open country roads. Offenders face higher fines of up to 5,000 euros and changes in the length of driving license suspensions.

In future, anyone who massively exceeds the prescribed speed limits in local areas or on open country roads will have to reckon with a significantly longer driving license suspension. “Previously, a first-time violation by 41 to 60 km/h in the local area threatened a driver’s license revocation of two weeks, so it is now a month. If the offense repeats itself, three months threaten. With each further transgression it is, depending upon severity, three to six months.

Driving to Austria: When the sun comes out and the temperatures start to rise..it is always difficult to decide..should I change my tyres…..but be aware the rules say you need to keep your winter tyres on until 15th April!!!

Then it is on Summer tyres until 1st November..of course you can keep your winter tyres on for the summer, if the tread is getting low and you are going to replace the following winter. BUT, no summer tyres whatever in the Winter!

If you feel daunted by the thought of a long drive across Europe, there are always flights.

Interested in Austrian property as a holiday home or permanent residence check our property website