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Driving in Norway

Does Norway post speed limits, or are there "categories" where a standard speed is understood like in France (and if so what are the standard speeds in town, highway, etc.)?

How common are speed and traffic light cameras, and what are the fines?

Posted by
971 posts

It’s been a while since I have driven in Norway, but I think it is like the rest of Scandinavia (and France) where the speed limits are not explicitelt posted. The speed limits in populated areas are 50km and 80 outside populated areas Unless otherwise stated.

Posted by
276 posts

Morton... is it safe to assume there will be a posted 50km speed limit sign as one moves towards a populated area?

Posted by
971 posts

No, if it is like the rest of Scandinavia a 50km sign won’t be posted when you Enter a town/city. Instead a sign with the town/city name will indicate that you have entered a city zone where the 50km limit applies. The same sign with a red stripe across will indicate that you have left the city zone and the 80km limit applies.

Posted by
245 posts

I drove in rural Norway last July for a week. I can't comment either way on what Morten said because I did not research to see if there are "standard" or "default" speeds in Norway. I will provide these observations:

1) There were often (but not always) speed limit signs as we entered towns, villages and even farming areas. There were fewer signs when leaving towns that announced a higher speed.

2) Rural speed limits are on the low side, e.g. 50 or 60 kph were very common.

3) Speed cameras are much more common than I'm used to seeing in the US. Most of the speed cameras are preceded by a sign so that you have a chance to modify your speed. Be sure you know what the warning icon looks like. I did not at first. I have no idea how much the speed camera fines are. When I got back home, the rental car CC charge included an extra approx $100. Avis told me it was for "road charges". We went through a number of toll road sections (also marked usually), but my tally was about $60 for toll charges. I can't tell if I got caught by speed cameras or if we went through more toll areas than we counted. Avis was unable to itemize the charges.

4) I noticed that some of the cameras blinked white when I passed them, some blinked red and some didn’t blink at all. I have no idea what this meant. I did some experimenting by slowing way down below the limit and still got blinking sometimes.

5) Our Citroen rental car had a display on the dash that read “MAX SPEED: ” followed by a number that seemed to change with the posted speed limits. I watched this closely and found that around 95% of the time the display was in agreement with the posted speed. I’m not sure how the car was able to discern the posted speed limit, but I came to rely on it for going through speed cameras.

6) I'd strongly suggest those driving in Norway do pre-trip research to ensure they really understand the system there. Many of the traffic control signs were confusing to me even though I had done a quick review of them.

Posted by
3225 posts

Thanks, bobbing, i would like to know about the speed camera warning sign, image?

BTW, I’ve seen exactly 2 speed cameras in the entire US (Phoenix, Orange County) so seeing one speed camera is a lot to me.

Posted by
5657 posts

Life in Norway has a comprehensive look at driving in Norway for newcomers:
https://www.lifeinnorway.net/living/driving/

Before you get on the road, familiarise yourself with the rules and
regulations.

If you live in or close to the centre of Oslo, Stavanger, Bergen or
Trondheim, chances are you won't need a car. Public transport systems
are generally run to a high-standard and although not cheap, they
certainly work out cheaper than owning a car.

One of the subsections covers rules of the road:
https://www.lifeinnorway.net/rules-of-the-road/

Rules of the road Here are some important ruled to be aware of when
driving in Norway. This is not intended to be a comprehensive listing.

Always drive on the right side of the road.

Seat belts are compulsory.

All vehicles must have their headlights on when in motion regardless
of the time of day or time of year.

All speed limits are signed in kilometres per hour. Unless otherwise
posted, speed limits in Norway are as follows:

Residential Areas 30kph

City 50kph

Open Roads 80kph

Highways 90kph

Unless indicated by signs, vehicles approaching an intersection from
the right have the right of way.

Trams always have the right of way and should be passed on the right.

Pedestrians always have the right of way at marked pedestrian
crossings.

Mobile phones must not be used while driving.

Posted by
3225 posts
Posted by
5657 posts

Life in Norway notes:

A brief English language summary of the rules is detailed on this
page, but this should be taken as a starting point only. For full
details please consult Statens vegvesen.

An "ignorance of the law" may not work as a defense in Norway.

Posted by
971 posts

Tom I don't see how any of your examples are vague, then ones where you might be in doubt have clear signage and the bottom one is clearly a rural road, where the default 80km/h applies.
Regarding the "city" situation, this is most likely due to the translation. In the Scandinavian languages the word "By" refers to both city and town, regardless of size. With regards to traffic regulations it is just the distinction between a rural and a populated, built up area.

The 30, 80 and 90 km/h default limits can be changed due to local circumstances and then there will be clear signage.

Posted by
3225 posts

Morten, it's only vague if there's no signage, and I was able to find a lot of signage looking around in Google Streetview except for leaving a city. With the fines so very high, we will always err on the slow side.

Posted by
55 posts

My adult son and I were in Oslo with a rental car a couple of weeks ago. We experienced what poster "Bobbing..." did last year - except I don't recall seeing a speed camera or sign even though we drove all over the city and up north to Hurdal. May have blown through one and I'll pay for it later.;-) Speed limit signs may not have been as numerous as in the US but what was present was sufficient. I was rarely in doubt what the limit was for any stretch of road we drove.

Posted by
3225 posts

Can someone tell me what is the difference between yellow background and white background directional signs?

Wikipedia says this, not really helpful.

“Direction signs with a yellow background show geographical destinations. Direction signs with a white background show local destinations”

Also pretty universally finding “end 50” (or 30, or 40) speed signs without stating the new limit.

Posted by
5657 posts

US sign colors:
https://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/services/publications/fhwaop02084/
Yellow are warning signs

European:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_European_road_signs
NB! This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations.
Warning signs

In most European countries, it is indicated by a triangle with red borders and a white background.

An amber background is used in Sweden, Greece, Finland, Iceland, the Republic of Macedonia, and Poland (in some other countries it means a provisional road work sign).

Also, the yield sign/give way sign in Sweden, Finland, Iceland and Poland has a yellow background.
In Ireland, it is indicated by a yellow diamond.

Road works/construction

Many countries normally have adopted an orange or amber background.

A yellow background is used in France, Italy, Finland, Iceland, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and Romania.

Posted by
971 posts

Local destinations are the next destination coming up. Geographical destinations are the major destinations the road you are on will lead to. For example if you head out of Oslo on the E6 a geographical destination could be Lillehammer or Trondheim.

The "end 50" or "end 40" means that the speed limit is now the default standard speed limit in the zone you are in, populated or rural. So if you are driving on a rural road, where the default speed limit is 80km/h, and you come up the a steep curve where 80 might be too fast, there might be a sign indicating a slower speed of say 60km/h. once you exit the curve a sign indication "end 60" will just mean that the speed limit is now back to the default 80km/h.

Posted by
3225 posts

I figured it out.

Yellow background signs are places of habitation: hamlets, villages, towns, cities.

White background signs are things: restaurants, hotels, cabins, campgrounds, picnic areas, parking, overlooks, etc.