Prague Travel Guide

 

About Prague - Driving a car in the Czech Republic

Find out what you need to know when you head to Prague by car!

Czech capital lies in the heart of Czech Republic, and Czech Republic in the middle of Europe. It creates crossings between North-South direction and West-East direction. After the entrance into the European Union, the traffic across the country became heavier and traffic jams (especially in larger cities or around them) are common.

The country has quite wide network of highways and roads. The quality of the road surface, however, vary from place to place. Newly built highways (for example D5 from Prague to Pilsen and to German border) are in very good condition, some of the third class (local) road can sometimes be a terrible experience for your car.

Basic facts & Documents

Czech Rep. authorities recognize any foreign driving licence that has a owner's photograph. It's better to have International Driving Permit if your driving license do not comply to EU rules for such documents (ie. for non-European citizens).

IMPORTANT: All drivers must also carry their passports (ID card for EU citizens), vehicle registration papers and an ownership certificate or rental agreement. Your car must be insured for full liability insurance and you must have a proof of such insurance (that is typically "green card") with you.

You must be at least 18 years old to drive a car in the Czech Republic

Fuel

The network of gas stations offers the following petrols (gasoline, benzín in Czech): Leaded petrol is Special 91, most of the cars will use unleaded petrol Natural 95 or "better" one with higher octane number Natural 95, Diesel (nafta in Czech). Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) is available at limited number of gas stations. Prices are around 26-30 CZK (around 1 euro) per litre.

Traffic Regulations

Regulations for driving are essentially the same as in the rest of the EU. However, new "penal" traffic codex had been introduced since 1 July 2006. Changes in the system of fines and new system of penal points took place. If the driver reaches 12 or more penal points his driving licence is suspended for 12 month. To get it back he must pass the exam again. There are stricter penalties for traffic offences (that can rise up to approx. 2000 euro). Here are some basic rules that apply to car-drivers:

* Speed limit in the city or village is 50kmph.
* Outside urban areas, maximum allowed speed is 90kmph and the speed limit for highways is 130kmph.
* Pedestrians at the ped crossings have a priority.
* Zero-tolerance policy on alcohol consumption before or during driving is applied. Even a single beer before driving will potentially get you in trouble. And police checks this very often during the night or in the morning.
* Seat belts must be fastened during the entire journey both in the front and back seats.
* Children under 150 cm or younger than 12 years can not be seated on the front seat.
* Special baby seats are required.
* Use of cellular phones is not allowed while driving. You cannot hold any communication device in your hand, while the communication via hands free set is allowed.
* Your car headlights must be on during whole journey. Even during the day and in all seasons.

Highway tolls

You must pay a tax to use most highways and express roads. All drivers must purchase a special highway sticker before using the country's network. Lorries over 12 tonnes pay electronic toll since 1 January 2007.

The stickers, that could be purchased at gas stations, border crossings, and post offices, consist of two parts. Both should be filled out with the car's plate number. The shield-shaped portion must be put at the right-down corner of the car's front window, while the other part must be retained as a proof of purchase and showed when asked by the police.

You can buy following categories of the highway stickers for passenger cars (up to 3,500 kg):
* with the one-year validity (2007) for 900 CZK
* stickers for one month for 300 CZK
* and with one week validity for 200 CZK (650 CZK)
Cars from Czech rental agency should have the stickers on their windows. The fine for not having the sticker on the car's window could increase very high.

How far to Prague

Road distances between Prague and Czech cities Brno 209 km
Cesky Krumlov 176 km
Karlovy Vary 129 km
Kutna Hora 74 km
Liberec 107 km
Olomouc 288 km
Ostrava 385 km
Plzen (Pilsen) 93 km

Road distances between Prague and European capitals Amsterdam (Netherlands) 885 km
Berlin (Germany) 340 km
Bratislava (Slovakia) 330 km
Brussels (Belgium) 930 km
Budapest (Hungary) 530 km
London (United Kingdom) 1.270 km
Madrid (Spain) 2.420 km
Moscow (Russia) 1.930 km
Paris (France) 1.070 km
Rome (Italy) 1.320 km
Vienna (Austria) 295 km
Warsaw (Poland) 650 km

TIP: Arrived by plane and still want to drive a car through Czech Republic. Use a Rent A Car Service.