Posted by: Sarah | October 22, 2010

Driving In Norway: 8 Tips & Tricks


Last weekend I got the tyres changed on our car for winter tyres.  This is new to us.  We don’t normally do this in the UK but come October in Oslo, there’s a high chance of snow and indeed last night we saw the first snow fall!  It wasn’t a lot but we are noticing the temperatures drop so expect more over the coming weeks. 

Anyway, as I watched the” pit stop” style tyre changing mechanics in the “dekk hotel” down the road, I realised that I haven’t yet written a post about driving in Norway.  It’s important because compared to the UK, they do have some funny little habits that we’re not normally used to. 

The key thing to note is that driving in Norway is a lot slower and safer partly because of the extensive training drivers go through in order to pass their test and partly because the police are VERY strict on all kinds of aggressive driving and they tend to hang around in unmarked cars so be cautious.

In case you’re wondering, the pictures on the right show the Atlantic Road near Trondheim in Norway. 

Here’s my Top 8 tips on driving in Norway:

  1. Drive on the right side of the road
  2. Keep your dipped lights on at ALL times in both summer and winter – no excuse, it’s the law!
  3. If you want to drive fast, don’t come to Norway.  The general speed limit for cars is:
    • 30 kp/h (19 mph) in residential areas
    • 50 kp/h (30 mph) in built up areas
    • 80 – 90 kp/h (50-55 mph) on expressways – depends if you’re in a built-up area or not
  4. Don’t drink and drive…at all!  Norway has some of the strictest drink driving laws in Europe only allowing 0.1milligrams of alcohol per millilitre of blood – the UK allows 0.8 milligrams
  5. The Give Way rule in Norway is very strange.  On roads without the “Yellow Diamond” sign, all traffic from your right hand side has the “Right of Way” on to the road so BE AWARE!   There is no concept of minor and major road – you just need to keep your eyes open and see whether there’s a “Yellow Diamond” sign or not
  6. Buses have priority when leaving a bus stop so don’t try to cut one up – you will come off worse!
  7. Apparently you must always carry a visibility vest and warning triangle in your car – it’s compulsory.  Eliot and I are off shopping for these tomorrow now we know :-)
  8. During the winter, you must drive with winter tyres with or without studs.  All-year tyres can also be used.   It’s recommended that these are changed before November 1st and there are some rules about when you can/can’t use studded tyres but I’m not sure – we don’t use them

 


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Responses

  1. Nice blog!

    Actually, there is a concept of minor and major roads. But it is informal and neighbourhood-specific. So, if you follow conventions and drive into someone, you will still get the blame, but by careful driving people coming from side roads will yield. For example going up Frognerseterveien and Ankerveien from Slemdal, there are a bunch or roads coming in from the right that legally has the right of way, but in practice, that road is a considered by locals as a major road, so almost everybody on the side roads will stop. Not that this makes it any easier on expats, of course. :-) So, practice with your foot on the break.

    • Brilliant tip – thanks for that :-)

  2. I find that ALL the time! Local roads=local rules.

    Personally I find the give way to the right rule illogical and often downright dangerous. Non-Norwegians are not blesses with being able to see around corners so get very startled to find cars driving straight out of side roads.

    The only safe way to drive is to go painfully slowly and brake at every junction ‘just in case’. Great for progress and fuel consumption!

    This is probably a good idea though as pavements are rare for pedestrians and children wander the road like sheep, oblivious to cars until 1m away!

    My only real gripe with driving in Norway is the insistence of building 20kph ‘bumps’ on 40kph roads! But then most of the locals in new 4×4’s can probably go over them at 40kph no problem, bless my poor old car!

    Coo, that sounds grumpy :-)

    • Sorry for the delay Ian – for some reason I didn’t get notified of your comment. I’ve just read it and laughed out loud. You’re absolutely spot on :-) Only the other day we were moaning about the driving. Now the ice/snow has disappeared it seems that the Spring has brought a new layer of danger to the roads. It’s not even like the Norwegians drive fast but they just drive without consideration a lot of the time. My biggest gripe…indicators and not using them.

      • Indicators? Sorry what are those and when do I use them?

        OMG, I’ve gone native!

        Actually quite funny, yesterday I took my Norwegian sister in law to collect her car from the garage, about 30 mins away (Audi Q7=special garage needed=30,000nok service faktura=lol!)

        I followed her all the way home and she didn’t use her indicators once. AND she knew I was following her as I didn’t know the area. WTF?!

        When someone is following me I even allow double spaces when I pull out of junctions etc.

        Bless them!

  3. I was told this week that busses now also have priority when entering a roundabout – does anyone out there know where this gem of stupidity is written up officially?

    • Ha ha – brilliant. I’ve certainly noticed the same thing! Buses make way for NO-ONE!


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