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Oslo - Driving tips

For information about traffic and road conditions, call 175.
Most ex pats find that they need to adjust their driving skills to the road conditions of the Norwegian winter, and many companies now offer winter driving courses to employees from other countries, to teach them safer driving skills for the winter. To find out more, inquire with your personnel department.

General traffic regulations
You must give way to traffic coming from the right on all roads unless the road on which you are travelling has a yellow diamond sign to indicate you have priority.  On a roundabout you give way to traffic already on the roundabout. No right turn is allowed on a red traffic light.

Speed limits
Speed limits (fartsgrenser) in Norway are generally low compared to most other countries, and in city areas the speed limit would usually be 30 or 40 km/h. In rural areas the speed limit is 50 or 60 km/h and 80 km/h on open roads. There are very few motorways/freeways in Norway. The speed limit on motorways is 80 or 90km/h.
Many built up areas have automatic traffic surveillance (cameras) to monitor speeding.

Driving lights
For safety reasons, you are required by law to keep your driving lights on all day (all year), because the daylight can be poor and the sun stays low during the winter months. Most Norwegian cars will automatically turn the driving lights on when you start the car.

Zebra crossings
In Norway, pedestrians crossing the road have priority, and you are required by law to stop for them.

Should you have parked your car illegally, it may be towed away. To find out what to do, contact:

  • Trafikketaten
    Fredensborgv. 24
    Tel: + 47 (22) 08 2000/+ 47 (22) 08 2100 (24 hours)

Toll roads
The ring road around Oslo has several toll plazas (bomstasjoner), and you cannot avoid these if you want to enter the city centre by car. The toll plazas have several lanes, where you can chose manual or automatic cash payment, or you can buy an annual (or monthly) subscription (abonnement). With a subscription you will have a badge (brikke) on your windscreen which is automatically scanned when you go through. To subscribe, contact:

  • FjellinjenAS
    St. Olavsg. 28
    Tel: + 47 (815) 00 101
    Fax: + 47 (22) 11 5430

Seat belts
In Norway you are required by law to wear set belts at all times, both in the front and in the back of the car. Children under the age of four should be seated in a child carrier or child seat, and children under the age of 12 should not sit in a seat where an airbag is installed (unless it is possible to disable the airbag). Make sure you check that the car seat you use for your children fulfil the correct safety requirements. For more information, contact:

  • Statens vegvesen
    Grensev. 97
    Tel: + 47 (22) 07 4300

Petrol prices in Norway are among the highest in Europe, as a considerable amount of what you pay consist of state taxes. You can chose low lead or lead free (blyfri) petrol. Prices vary and would be lower at an unmanned station.

Road maps
Maps are sold in petrol stations and bookshops. You find a complete list of maps in the Cappelen Catalogue (in book shops) or use this web site:

NB! Talking on a hand held mobile phone while driving your car is illegal in Norway.

Special tips

In the winter months (between October and April), you are required to change your tires from summer to winter tires. Winter tires have a different pattern on them to give an enhanced road grip, and you may choose tires with or without studs. If you choose studded tires (piggdekk), you need to pay a fee to drive in built up areas, like downtown Oslo, as the studs will carve up the tarmac and release particles that cause air pollution. To pay this fee you buy a ticket (oblat) valid for one day, one month or one year. These are available at post offices or petrol stations and should be displayed in the car. A daily permit can also be bought over the phone and is valid for one calendar day from the time of your call. Call + 47 (820) 402 25 for vehicles under 3.5 tonnes, or + 47 (820) 412 50 for heavier vehicles.

There is a variety of chains (kjettinger) and grips to put on your tires for especially icy and slippery road surfaces. When you buy a car, a set of chains will very often come as standard equipment, but check with your car dealer about the recommended chains and tires. Also, it is possible to use all-year tires, but since you use these tires all the time, they will be more worn and therefore not very good when winter comes. Many people would not recommend these, especially if you plan to drive on the smaller roads in the countryside and in the mountains.

Most tire dealers, garages and petrol stations will change the tires for you for a charge. Prices may vary. The seasonal tire change is a busy time, so make sure you book in advance.

For a list of tire sealers, see Travel by car.

Engine heaters

In the cold winter weather, an engine heater (motorvarmer) will make it easier to start your car, save fuel, reduce pollution and wear of your car. The heater can be timed to come on at a certain time before you need to start the car. Engine heaters can be purchased from car dealers and accessory shops.

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