I’ve been avoiding thinking about getting my Swedish driver’s license. I was able to use my US license the first year but now I have rolled over into my second year. I have driven a lot over the years of first visiting and then moving to Sweden but it has always been summer driving and not in Stockholm (though I have driven long distances).
The problem is that you must take all the Swedish driving tests including one on a special icy track so you can demonstrate you know how to drive in the winter. I haven’t driven in winter for over 20 years.
A Few Things About Driving in Sweden…
This information was provided by Global Expat Partners.
- Buses have the right of way in Sweden (on 30 and 50 km/hr roads). You must slow down or stop to yield to a bus pulling out.
- From what I’ve observed, there aren’t that many stop signs, at least in Uppsala or Stockholm. At intersections, you must give way to traffic from the right. This means that when you approach an intersection you must really watch out for cars approaching from the three other directions.
- Sweden’s drinking and driving laws are strict with little tolerance. Driving with a blood alcohol limit over 0.02% can mean a prison sentence.
- It is against the law to sit in your car with the engine running for more than one minute in Swedish for environmental reasons.
- It is mandatory to stop for pedestrians at pedestrian crossings. Supposedly there is a large fine for not stopping but I have seen this happen frequently in Stockholm. And, as I’ve mentioned before, the cyclists don’t yield to a pedestrian in the crosswalk at all so you really have to be careful as a pedestrian.
- In Sweden you must drive with headlights on – 24hours a day.
- Sweden is 54 per cent forest, so there are a lot of animal warning signs posted. Watch out for moose trying to cross the road!
- Winter tires are compulsory after December 1st or as soon as winter conditions exist. There are two types of winter tires, those with studs and those without). Studded winter tires have to be removed by April 30th and are forbidden on certain inner city streets. Most people I know change the tires themselves which I think is pretty impressive.
- The winter weather can be extreme so all drivers should carry a snow shovel, sand and ice scrapers. It is also recommended to carry lock oil to unfreeze the locks, as well as blankets and extra winter clothing in case you get stuck.
Annual Car Check
If you own a car in Stockholm, you may have to take the car for a mandatory check. All cars need to have the warning security triangle visible and always in the car. New cars and light commercial vehicles should be taken for their first periodic inspection when they are three years old, and for the second time when they are five years old. Thereafter, they are inspected once every year.
Much speed control is done by traffic cameras. It’s good to know where they are. There are warning signs and then the telltale pillar holding the camera just a little further on. This website: www.trafiken.nu has traffic information( in Swedish) as well images from its traffic webcams.
Swedish registered cars driving in or out of Stockholm city center are subject to a congestion charge. License plates are automatically read as your vehicle passes through the toll. A monthly invoice is sent to the registered owner of the vehicle. Charges are made between 6:30 am – 18.29 pm and the cost varies between 10-20 kr depending on the time of day. The maximum charge for a single day is capped at 60 SEK. There is no charge on weekends, public holidays, the day before a public holiday, or for the entire month of July.
While the raggare movement has its roots in late 1950s youth counterculture, today it is associated mainly with middle aged men who enjoy meeting and showing off their retro American cars. However, the subculture retains its rural and small town roots as well as its blue collar and low brow feel. The original phenomenon unleashed moral panic but the contemporary raggare subculture tends to be met with amusement or mild disapproval by mainstream society. A typical contemporary raggare might be a 45-year old skilled blue collar worker living in a small town, who spends part of his spare time fine tuning his 1960s Pontiac and his vacation meeting other raggare, with wife and children sometimes tagging along.
While walking in Sunnersta one day, I saw an unusual car. I don’t know whether a person who makes their car look like a TV version of a New York police car (see above) is a real raggare (since they are obviously trying for a modern–if not a fantasy modern) look with this car.
I wonder if somewhere in New York someone has made their car look a Swedish police car? Probably not.