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Driving in Basel

Driving in a new country can be daunting. These tips offer insight into what to expect when driving in Basel.
|-Driving in Basel

1. Understanding the Driving Culture

Driving in Basel, like most of Switzerland, is generally a pleasant experience. The roads are well-maintained and the drivers are disciplined. However, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the local driving rules and regulations. For instance, the Swiss drive on the right side of the road and give way to the right at intersections unless otherwise indicated.

2. Car Recommendation

As for the type of car, it really depends on your personal needs and preferences. If you plan on exploring the mountainous regions, a 4×4 might be a good choice. However, for city driving, a smaller, more fuel-efficient car would be more practical. Electric and hybrid cars are also becoming increasingly popular in Switzerland.

3. Parking in Basel

Finding parking in Basel can be challenging, especially in the city center. Most parking spaces are metered and can be quite expensive. However, there are several parking garages available. It’s also worth noting that many residential areas require a parking permit.

4. Driving with an International License

Foreigners can drive in Switzerland with an international driving permit for up to one year. After that, you will need to obtain a Swiss driving license. If you have a driving license from an EU or EFTA country, you can simply exchange it for a Swiss one without having to take a driving test.

5. Obtaining a Swiss Driving License

To get a Swiss driving license, you will need to pass a theory test and a practical driving test. The tests are usually conducted in German, French, or Italian, so you might need to take a translator with you if you don’t speak any of these languages. You will also need to provide a medical certificate confirming that you are fit to drive.

6. Speed Limits

Speed limits in Switzerland are strictly enforced. The standard speed limits are 50 km/h in urban areas, 80 km/h on open roads, and 120 km/h on motorways. Be aware that there are many speed cameras in Switzerland, and fines for speeding can be hefty.

7. Winter Driving

If you’re driving in Switzerland during the winter, it’s important to be prepared for snowy and icy conditions. Winter tires are mandatory from November to April, and in some cases, you may also need to use snow chains. Always check the weather forecast before setting off on a long journey.

Joshua WoodJoshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

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