Driving in Norway

It is always daunting to start driving in a new country, especially if you are not accustomed to the language, rules and regulations of that particular country. Here, we have compiled a list of things to note when driving in Norway.

Required Documents in the Vehicle

Always carry your driver’s license, vehicle registration document (V5), and certificate of motor insurance. If your driver’s license does not contain a photograph, ensure you carry another form of photographic identification (such as a passport) to validate the license. If the vehicle is not registered in your name, it might be advisable to carry a letter from the registered owner stating that you have permission to drive that vehicle or a receipt from the car rental agency.

You need a full, valid driver’s license issued in your country of residence. If your license is not issued by an EC/ECA country, an International Driver’s Permit (IDP) may be required.

People coming to Norway from countries outside the EU/EEA can use their foreign driving license for up to three months after entering Norway. You must then either convert your driver’s license to a Norwegian one (if applicable) or apply to obtain a Norwegian driver’s license from scratch.

Converting Your Foreign Driver’s License

From another EU/EEA country

As a main rule, driving licences issued in EU/EEA countries can be used in Norway for as long as they are valid, and they can be exchanged for a Norwegian driving licence without any tests.

From countries outside the EU/EEA

The rules for driving licences issued in non-EU/EEA countries are stricter. Driving licences from most countries outside the EU/EEA can be used in Norway for up to three months. Driving licences from only a few of these countries can be exchanged for a Norwegian driving licence, provided you pass a new practical driving test (and in some cases also a theory test) within given deadlines.

See more information here.

Find your closest traffic station (Statens Vegvesenhere.

Please note that if you are planning to hire a car in Norway, you may need to have held your license for at least one year.

Using a Foreign-Registered Vehicle in Norway and Import of Vehicle

The main rule is that cars that are to be used in Norway must be registered in the Central Register of Motor Vehicles and that taxes must be paid. Subject to more detailed conditions, some exceptions apply to the temporary import and use of foreign-registered vehicles in Norway.

Should you be on a temporary stay in Norway for 1 or 2 years and you are able to prove it, it may be possible for you to use your foreign-registered vehicle in Norway. You can find more information here.

If your stay in Norway will be longer than 2 years, you will need to import your foreign-registered vehicle. You can find more information here.

It is very important that you familiarise yourself with the applicable regulations before you import or use a foreign-registered motor vehicle in Norway. If you violate the regulations, you will be ordered to pay taxes on the car.

In the Event of a Breakdown or an Accident

It is mandatory for all drivers to carry a red warning triangle and a yellow fluorescent visibility vest in the car in case of a breakdown or an accident.

Emergency telephones can be found on mountain stretches and in tunnels.

The following telephone numbers will provide help:

  • Fire: 110
  • Police: 112
  • Ambulance: 113

If you require salvage or technical assistance with your vehicle you can call the following 24-hour numbers:

  • NAF: 810 00 505 (local rate)
  • Falken: 02 222 (toll-free)
  • Viking: 06 000 (toll-free)

Headlights

ALL vehicles to drive with dipped headlights at all times, even on a sunny day. Keeping spare headlight bulbs in your vehicle is recommended.

Seat belts

Seat belts are compulsory for everyone in the vehicle. All children must be firmly strapped in using approved safety equipment that corresponds to their age, size and weight.

Children under 135 centimetres must have their own seat or safety restraint. Children over 36 kilos, or 135 centimetres, can use a normal seat but must wear approved child safety equipment if such equipment is available in the car. It is the driver’s responsibility to ensure that children under 15 years of age are using the mandatory restraints, and will be fined for non-compliance if stopped by the police.

The NPRA recommends that small children be secured in a rear-facing position until the age of four.

Children must not be seated in a rear-facing child seat in the front seat where there is an airbag, except if the airbag has been manually or automatically deactivated. Children under 140 cm should also not sit in a passenger seat that has an activated airbag.

Everyone in the car must have their own seat and seat belt. Carrying more passengers than the car is registered for is prohibited. Holding a child in your lap in a car is both illegal and very dangerous. It is also illegal to use the same seat belt for more than one child, or a child and an adult.

See Child Safety in Cars and Car Safety – Children and Adults for more information.

Pets

An unsecured pet in the car is not safe, either for themselves or others. It is not mandatory to secure the pet in the car, but it is mandatory to ensure that all loose load in vehicles are secured properly. In the event of emergency braking, collision or descent, the pet will be thrown around in the car with great force.

Both the choice of equipment and how it is used is important for your pet and your safety. The safest choice is a sturdy transport box/cage placed in the trunk. Avoid cages that can fold flat as these can collapse and crush your pet in a collision.

Tests show that the location of your pet in the car is important for safety. Small pets should be placed in their transport carrier or cage on the floor of the vehicle behind the front seats. There they are well secured against being thrown about and out of the vehicle in case of emergency.

Larger dogs should also be put in transport carriers and this should be placed across in the boot of the vehicle and as close to the back of the back seat as possible. It is recommended that the car has a sturdy luggage grid. It is not advisable to place the transport box or cage in the back seat because it is difficult to attach it securely.

Other issues to note are that loose pets in the car might be a hindrance to paramedics in case of accident as the pets can be, scared, disoriented and/or injured and attack the paramedics, thus delaying help to the other passengers of the vehicle.

Drinking and driving

Alcohol can have a serious affect on one’s judgement and ability to drive. The Blood Alcohol Concentration limit is 0.02% or 0.2 g/kg. There are severe penalties for drink-driving.  It is best to not drink if you are driving and to not drive if you intend to drink or have been drinking.

Some medications should be avoided if you intend to drive. These are marked with a red triangle.

Mobile phones

It is an offence to use a handheld mobile phone while driving. Stiff fines are imposed on offenders.

Yielding to Vehicles Coming from the Right

Norwegian law requires drivers to yield to vehicles coming from the right, unless you are driving on a priority road (which is marked by a yellow diamond sign) or in a roundabout.

Speed limits

In general the speed limit for cars on Norwegian roads in built-up areas is 50 kilometres per hour, dual carriageways and motorways from 80 kilometres an hour and in residential areas, sometimes as low as 30 kilometres an hour.

Watch out for speed humps as they are not always clearly visible or signposted.

Automatic speed cameras placed by the police along roadways and police speed checks (radar, laser, civilian cars and helicopters) help to maintain speed limits. Radar-jammers, laser-jammers and detectors are, of course, strictly forbidden. Stiff fines – and sometimes even jail time – are imposed for speed violations.

Mountain passes

When going over mountain passes or through tunnels, there are often long downhill stretches, when brakes may overheat. To avoid this, it is advisable to drive in a low gear. This means you will not have to brake so hard and that brakes will not heat up so quickly.

When driving up steep slopes the car is required to work hard. Keep an eye on the car’s temperature gauge, because the car can quickly overheat.

Check for current traffic conditions and road closures here.

Tyres

There must be a minimum of 1.6 millimetre tread on summer tyres and a minimum of 3 millimetres on winter tyres. Vehicles must not be used unless they have sufficient road grip for the road surface.

During the winter, you must drive with winter tyres with or without studs. All-year tyres can also be used. Use of studded tyres is allowed from 1 November – 15 April. In Nordland, Troms and Finnmark studded tyres are allowed during the period  15 October – 1 May. Studded tyres may also be used outside these periods if the weather and road surface conditions make it necessary.

If studded tyres are fitted to a car weighing under 3.5 tonnes, they must be fitted to all four wheels. Vehicles with a permitted total weight of 3.5 tonnes or more, must carry snow chains if ice or snow is expected on the road. These snow chains must fit the vehicle’s wheels.

Snow chains can be bought at reasonable prices. Studded tyres can be rented. In Trondheim and Oslo you will have to pay a small fee if you drive with studded tyres in the city centre. This restriction has been introduced to limit the pollution produced by studded tyres.

Insurance

Third party insurance is compulsory and if you are visiting Norway with your own vehicle, green cards (valid in most European countries) are highly recommended. Without it, visitors with motor insurance in their own countries are allowed the minimum legal cover. The Green Card tops this up to the level of cover provided by the visitor’s own policy. Ask your insurance company if they can issue you with one.

If you are already living in Norway and have purchsed a vehicle here, be sure to get adequate insurance for your vehicle.

Toll roads

Norway has more than 70 years experience in using road toll payment as a financial instrument for building bridges, tunnels and roads.

More information on toll roads here.

Information about roads, distances, driving conditions

Please note that certain roads are closed during winter. The actual periods which roads are closed may vary due to weather conditions. You are therefore advised to check conditions before starting your road trip across the mountains. For further information, please contact the 24 hour Road User Information Centre on phone 175 (+47 815 48 991 from abroad) or check for current traffic conditions and road closures here.

For more information, see Safety on the Roads and Norwegian Traffic Rules in English.