Bosnia and Herzegovina’s stunning landscapes and rich history make it an attractive destination for travelers. To fully experience this beautiful country, renting a car can be an excellent option. However, before you embark on your journey, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with local traffic regulations and driving customs. This comprehensive guide will help you navigate the roads of Bosnia and Herzegovina safely and confidently.
Short guide on driving in Bosnia and Herzegovina
In Bosnia and Herzegovina, as in most European countries, you drive on the right-hand side of the road. The driver’s seat is on the left side of the vehicle and overtaking is on the left.
Speed limits vary throughout the country. In urban areas the limit is 50 km/h, on open roads it’s 80 km/h and on motorways it’s 130 km/h. Be aware of special limits in construction zones or near schools.
Traffic lights follow standard international rules: red for stop, green for go and yellow for caution. Always obey traffic lights and use caution at intersections.
Roundabouts are common in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Vehicles inside the roundabout have the right of way. Always yield to them and signal your exit.
Right of way
In the absence of traffic signs, the vehicle approaching from the right has the right of way. Always yield to vehicles on your right unless otherwise directed.
Seat belt use is mandatory for all passengers in the vehicle, regardless of seating position. Failure to comply may result in a fine.
Children under 12 years of age or shorter than 150 cm (4 feet 11 inches) must use an appropriate child safety seat or booster. Make sure you have the necessary safety equipment if you’re traveling with young passengers.
Use of headlights
For safety reasons, headlights should be used at all times, even during the day. This is a legal requirement in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The use of a hand-held cell phone while driving is strictly prohibited. You should use a hands-free device or pull over to make a call or send a message.
Bosnia and Herzegovina has a strict zero-tolerance policy for drinking and driving. The legal blood alcohol limit is 0.0%. Penalties for violations are severe, including fines, license suspension, and even imprisonment.
Road conditions in Bosnia and Herzegovina can vary from well-maintained highways to narrow, winding roads in rural areas. Exercise caution, especially on rural roads, which may have potholes or be under construction. It’s advisable to rent a vehicle suitable for the various road conditions.
Bosnia and Herzegovina does not have a widespread toll system for private vehicles. However, there may be specific tolls on certain bridges and tunnels, so it’s a good idea to check with your rental car agency or check the latest information.
Fuel is widely available throughout the country, and you’ll find both gas and diesel options at most stations. Many stations accept credit cards, but it’s a good idea to carry some local currency for smaller, remote areas.
When renting a car in Bosnia and Herzegovina, you will typically need the following documents: a valid driver’s license, passport or ID, and proof of insurance (usually provided by the rental company).
In case of an emergency, dial 112 for assistance. Be prepared to give details of your location and the nature of the emergency.
Driving in Bosnia and Herzegovina gives you the freedom to explore the country at your own pace. By understanding and following local traffic rules and customs, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable trip through this captivating country of natural beauty and historical significance. Always check for updates or changes to traffic regulations before you travel, and drive responsibly to make the most of your Bosnia adventure.
Frequently asked questions about driving in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Are there any special requirements for winter driving in Bosnia and Herzegovina?
Yes, if you’re planning to drive in Bosnia and Herzegovina during the winter months, it’s important to be prepared for potentially challenging road conditions, especially in mountainous areas. Winter tires are highly recommended, and in some regions may be mandatory during the winter season. It’s also a good idea to carry snow chains, a shovel and extra warm clothing in case of emergencies.
Can I use my foreign driver’s license to drive in Bosnia and Herzegovina?
Yes, you can use your foreign driver’s license to drive in Bosnia and Herzegovina for a short stay (usually up to 6 months). If your license is not in English or Bosnian, it’s recommended that you carry an International Driving Permit (IDP) or an official translation of your license to avoid potential language barriers with local authorities.
What are the parking regulations in Bosnia and Herzegovina?
Parking regulations vary from city to city and region to region. In urban areas, you’ll often find paid parking zones, and street parking may require a ticket. In some places, you may also find parking attendants who will assist you with parking for a fee. Always look for and obey local parking signs and regulations to avoid fines and towing.
How do I handle a road emergency or breakdown in Bosnia and Herzegovina?
In the event of a road emergency or breakdown, contact the nearest roadside assistance service or, if applicable, your rental car agency. Make sure you have a charged cell phone and an emergency triangle in your vehicle. If you’re in a remote area without a phone signal, try using your hazard lights to signal for help and wait for assistance.
Is it common to encounter wild animals on the roads in Bosnia and Herzegovina?
Yes, especially in rural and forested areas, you may encounter wild animals such as deer, boars and other animals on the roads, especially at dawn and dusk. Drive carefully, reduce your speed and be prepared to brake or swerve if necessary.
Are there any special regulations for driving near border areas or when traveling to neighboring countries?
If you plan to drive near border areas or travel to neighboring countries, it’s important to check the specific entry and exit requirements for each country. Bosnia and Herzegovina borders several countries, including Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro. Make sure you have all the necessary documentation and understand any additional rules or requirements for crossing borders.
What should I do if I receive a traffic fine in Bosnia and Herzegovina as a foreign driver?
If you receive a traffic fine while driving in Bosnia and Herzegovina, it’s important to deal with it immediately. Rental car agencies may be able to assist you in getting the fine forwarded to you, or you may receive the fine directly. Pay the fine as instructed and within the specified timeframe to avoid potential problems on future visits.