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Driving through Russia


Driving a car in Russia is an easy task, thanks to modern vehicles and well-developed highways. However, for many tourists who come here, it turns out to be a challenge due to ignorance of local rules and the behavior of other drivers on the roads. Although many rules may be clearly presented on road signs and in reference books, actual traffic in Russia depends on current road conditions and does not always coincide with official instructions.

International driving permit for tourists in Russia

For foreign tourists temporarily staying in Russia and not permanent residents, having an international driving permit (IDP) becomes a prerequisite for renting or driving a car in the country. 

This document serves not only for convenience, but also to prevent possible misunderstandings. The IDP, in English, should complement your national driving license. The IDP is recognized as an international document that facilitates hassle-free car rental and can be useful in resolving situations that require confirmation of your driver qualifications. 

Therefore, all foreign tourists traveling to Russia and planning to drive a car are required to have both a national driver's license and an IDP. These documents may be required when renting a car and when checked by the traffic police.

Fines for not having an IDP in Russia

The punishment for not having an international driving permit in Russia may vary depending on the region and the specific circumstances of the violation. The exact amount of the fine is determined by law enforcement agencies or traffic police at the scene of the violation.

However, it is important to note that possession of an IDP is mandatory for foreign citizens according to Russian law. Driving without an International Driving Permit may be considered an offense and the driver may be fined or face other legal consequences.

Toll roads in Russia

The toll road system in Russia is relatively new and is not common. For example, Lipetskoe Highway (M-4) from Moscow to Novorossiysk is one example of toll highways. Some toll roads outside the capital can be paid for using a bank card, but it is always worth having cash in case this is not possible.

Traffic rules in Russia

  • There are basic traffic rules in Russia, including the following:

  • Driving is carried out on the right side of the road.

  • The driver and all passengers must wear seat belts.

  • The use of mobile phones while driving is prohibited (with the exception of hands-free devices).

  • Picking up travel companions is prohibited.

  • In large cities it is prohibited to turn left, except at intersections with traffic lights.

  • It is prohibited to cross the double solid white line.

  • Driving a dirty car is prohibited.

  • At roundabouts, vehicles moving on the right have priority.

  • Use the hazard signal only in the event of immediate danger. Children under 12 years of age should not sit in the front seat of a car without a special child seat.