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Driving in the Czech Republic

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Looking forward to drive in the Czech Republic during your stay? Find out how to proceed in this article.

If you are moving to the Czech Republic, especially if you are making a long stay in the country, you will probably want to drive. As a foreign national, it is best to inquire on relating conditions beforehand as these may vary according to your country of origin. Nationals of the European Union and the European Economic Area are allowed to drive in the Czech Republic with their original driver's license. Others may have to exchange their driver's license into a local one.

Conditions

As mentioned above, you are allowed to use your original driver's license if it has been issued in the European Union or in the European Economic Area till it remains valid and unless you have committed a serious offense. If necessary, Czech authorities may replace your original driver's license by a local one. They may even suspend or revoke your driver's license if need be.

Exchanging your driver's license

To exchange your original driver's license against a local one, you are required to produce a Statement of Restricted Information or any equivalent document supporting the validity of your driver's license. Note that this document has to be translated into Czech. You will also have to produce the following to the nearest Transports Department (Dopravní Inspektoráty) to your place of residence:

  • your original driver's license
  • a statement of loss or theft if applicable
  • a passport-size identity photo
  • your resident card
  • your passport or identity card.

If you wish to receive your new driver's license within three weeks, fees of CZK 50 will apply. To receive your driver's license within 5 days, you will pay around CZK 500.

Obtain a local driver's license

You are eligible to a Czech driver's license provided you are in possession of a resident card. Note that you will have to undergo a medical test with an approved doctor before registering at the driving school.

 Good to know:

Both theoretical and practical lessons are available in English.

To pass the theoretical test, you will have to answer to 25 questions. The number of marks given varies according to the different questions. To pass, you have to score at least 43/50. Thereafter, you will have to take driving lessons before passing the driving test. Documents to be produced are the following:

  • your passport or identity card
  • proof of residence
  • your lease documents (issued less than 6 months before and written in Czech)
  • your employment contract (written in Czech)
  • proof of family ties or cohabitation.

Note that procedures can be quite complicated if you live alone. Feel free to seek all relating information at the nearest municipality to your place of residence.

Vignette

You should know that a toll system is applied to highways. Therefore, the car vignette is compulsory. It can be purchased at border posts, garages, gas stations and post offices. For a 1 year vignette, you will need around CZK 1,000. Note that fines of up to CZK 5,000 apply in case your vehicle does not display a vignette.

Highway code

The Czech highway code is quite similar to that of the rest of Europe. In general:

  • you will drive on the right side
  • wearing the seat belt is compulsory both in the front and rear
  • your vehicle's headlights have to be switched on both during the day and at night.

However, drinking and driving is not allowed. In fact, routine checks are regularly carried out. In case of violation, you even risk imprisonment for up to one year.

Speed limits

Speed is limited as follows in the Czech Republic:

  • 50 km/h in city-centers
  • 90 km/h on national roads
  • 130 km/h on highways.

Road infrastructure

There are three types of roads in the Czech Republic. These can be distinguished on road maps by letters:

  • D – highways
  • R – fast lanes
  • S – national roads.

There are six highways across the country, namely D1, D2, D3, D5, D8 and D11.

National roads, for their part, are classified into different categories, for instance, long distance transports, international transports, fast lanes, inter-district transports, inter-community transports, local transports and private roads.

In general, you are likely to come across traffic jam in city-centers and on highways. County roads, on the other hand, are usually less crowded. In all cases, the country has a developed road infrastructure.

 Useful links:

Expat.com – Cars and transportation in the Czech Republic Forum 
Transports Department www.dopravni-inspektoraty.cz

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