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The road system and traffic rules in Russia aren’t dramatically different from other European countries. But driving in Russia can be a frustrating experience, with drivers having to contend with lengthy traffic jams, poor road maintenance and random police inspections. Russia also has a poor road safety record compared to other European countries, although this varies geographically


Image by Hitesh Choudhary
  • You must drive on the right-hand side of the road.

  • The driver and all passengers must wear seatbelts.

  • Using your mobile when driving is illegal (without a hands-free kit).

  • Picking up hitchhikers is illegal.

  • Turning right at a red light is only possible if there is a filter system.

  • It is prohibited to turn left in large towns other than at crossings with lights.

  • Crossing a solid double white line is illegal.

  • It’s illegal to drive a dirty car.

  • Traffic coming from the right has priority at roundabouts.

  • Only use the horn in towns if there is immediate danger.

  • Children under the age of 12 can’t travel in the front seat of a car without a child seat.

Image by Alexander Popov


Speed limits vary depending on the vehicle you’re driving in Russia and the area you’re driving in.

For motorcycles and cars under 3.5 tonnes, the limits are generally 60km/h in built-up areas and 110km/h on expressways and other roads. Larger vehicles and those with trailers, however, can only drive at up to 90km/h on expressways and 70km/h on other roads.

In some residential areas, there is a 20 km/h speed limit for all vehicles. This should be clearly signposted.

Parking in Moscow and around Russia

  • While Moscow has major car parks, much of the on-street parking in Moscow is paid for using metres. When parking in Moscow, you’ll usually need to park on the right-hand side of the road, in the direction of the flow of traffic. In some urban areas and on one-way streets, you can also park on the left-hand side. The letter P and a wheelchair symbol are usually used to signify a disabled parking space. Around Russia, varying parking systems are available, depending on the size of the city or town.

Tips for driving in Russia

  • For foreigners planning to drive in Moscow, it’s important to know that the city has three main ring roads – the MKAD, Garden Ring and Third Ring – with a fourth ring in the planning stages. The city has problems with traffic jams, especially on the main roads in and out of the city. During rush hour things can be particularly bad, and the Garden Ring (Sadovoe Kol’tso) can suffer from traffic jams all day long.

  • Some road surfaces in Moscow are also sub-standard, so you’ll need to take extra care, although Moscow’s main roads tend to be better than elsewhere in Russia.

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