Traffic Safety and Road Conditions
While in Hungary, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. Roadside assistance, including medical and other services, is generally available. English is usually spoken at the emergency numbers listed below. In the case English is not spoken, dial 112.
24-hour English speaker: 112
Hungarian highways are generally in good condition. Urban road maintenance is also good, although areas under construction are not always adequately marked or blockaded. In Budapest, many roads are often under construction. Outside the city, roads are often narrow, poorly lit, and can be in a poor state of repair in some areas. Train crossings are not always well-signed. Pedestrians, tractors, and farm animals often use these small rural roads, so stay alert. Additional information on road conditions is available from “Útinform” at (36) (1)336-2400.
Hungary has zero tolerance for driving under the influence of alcohol. Police often conduct routine roadside checks where breath-analysis tests are administered. If you are caught driving after drinking, you will face jail and fines. Penalties for a car accident involving injury or death are one to five years in prison. Police stop vehicles regularly to check documents. It is against the law to use a hand-held cell phone while driving anywhere in Hungary.
You can drive in Hungary with a valid U.S. driver’s license for one year as long as you have a certified Hungarian translation of the license attached to it. Hungary also recognizes international driver’s permits (IDP) issued by the American Automobile Association (AAA) and the American Automobile Touring Alliance, when used along with a valid state driver’s license. If you have an IDP, you do not need to have the license translated, but must carry the IDP and state driver’s license together. After one year in Hungary, U.S. citizens must obtain a Hungarian driver’s license. For further information on this procedure visit the U.S. Embassy’s website.
The speed limit for cars and motorcycles on the superhighway is 130 km per hour (approximately 80 mph); on highways, it is 110 km per hour (approximately 65 mph); and in towns and villages it is 50 km per hour (approximately 30 mph). Many drivers do not observe the speed limits, and you should be extra careful on two-way roads where local drivers pass each other frequently and allow for less space than you may be used to. Car seats are required for infants. Children under age 12 may not sit in the front seat. Seats belts are mandatory for everyone in the car. You may not turn right on a red light. The police issue tickets for traffic violations and charge fines on the spot. The police will give you a postal check (money order) on which the amount of the fine to be paid is written, and this postal check may be presented and paid at any Hungarian post office. Sometimes in disputes about fines or the offense, the police will confiscate your U.S. passport and issue a receipt for the passport with an “invitation letter” to appear at the police station the next day or day after to resolve the dispute. Your passport is returned after resolution and/or the payment of the fine.
As in most European countries, you must pay to use Hungary’s highways. Payments must be made either at a gas station or online.
You are responsible for ensuring that you meet and comply with foreign entry requirements, health requirements and that you possess the appropriate travel documents. Information provided is subject to change without notice. One should confirm content prior to traveling from other reliable sources. Information published on this website may contain errors. You travel at your own risk and no warranties or guarantees are provided by us.