Traffic Safety and Road Conditions
While in Norway, you may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. Public transportation in Norway is generally safe, and the maintenance and condition of urban roads is generally good. Rural road conditions are fair and the availability of roadside assistance is limited. Most roadways beyond the city limits of Oslo and other major cities tend to be simple two-lane roads. In mountainous areas of Norway, the roads tend to be narrow and winding, and have many tunnels. The northerly latitude can cause road conditions to vary greatly, depending on weather and time of year. Many mountain roads are closed due to snow from late fall to late spring. The use of winter tires is mandatory on all motor vehicles from November to April.
Norwegian law requires that drivers always use headlights when driving. Norwegian law also requires drivers to yield to vehicles coming from the right. In some, but not all, instances, major roads with “right of way” are marked. Seatbelts are mandatory for drivers and passengers. It is illegal to use a hand-held cell phone while driving; violators risk a fine of 1,300 kroner (approximately $215).
Norway has some of Europe’s strictest laws on driving under the influence of alcohol; they prescribe heavy penalties for drivers convicted of having very low blood-alcohol levels. Frequent road checks with mandatory breathalyzer tests and the promise of stiff jail sentences encourage alcohol-free driving. The maximum legal blood alcohol content level for driving a car in Norway is .02 per cent.
Automatic cameras placed by the police along roadways help to maintain speed limits, which are often lower than in other European countries. Fines – and sometimes even jail time – are imposed for violations.
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