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driving in Switzerland

I've been traveling in Europe for years, but haven't been in Switzerland in decades. Recently I drove through Germany, Holland, France, Italy and Spain (a trip per year). I have never seen drivers obey speed limits, indeed the faster cars seem to revel in topping out at 120 MPH, not KPH, or higher. Reading over the travel forum has made me re-think driving in Switzerland. Is it really that much different, i.e., strict enforcement, compared to the rest of Europe? Thanks.

Posted by
20289 posts

Sure, if they know where the speed cameras are. In Germany, certain parts have no speed limits. Tons of people have reported getting many speeding tickets many months after their return, especially Italy and France. Maybe those were the people blowing your doors off.

Posted by
7209 posts

Switzerland has one of the best (if not THE best) public transportation systems in the world with every single mode of transportation precisely timed and integrated with the next. Why would you even want to drive there? Many of the most beautiful places in Switzerland are high up in Alpine villages where no cars are even allowed...you can't drive there, you must take train/funicular/gondola.

Posted by
177 posts

John,

Switzerland is no different. Germany is quite strict also, so is France.

The locals go over the speed limit in Switzerland but slow down abruptly at seemingly random places. You can imagine why.
Even Switzerland has places where speed limits are not very much enforced like in Wallis/Valais. Those policies are up to the Canton authorities and are not federally mandated.

I personally never had a problem driving in Switzerland.

Posted by
328 posts

We've received a ticket for going 52km/h in a 50 zone in Switzerland and in Austria for going 74km/hr in a 70 zone. We drive on many of our trips and have not found Switzerland to be different than other parts of Europe for driving and enforcement. You just need to follow the rules and you will be fine.

Posted by
177 posts

chris, it means that you were doing 52+3 = 55km/h.

Since the 2013 "via secura" program the margins are:

3 km/h (speed limit up to 100km/h)
4 km/h (speed limit over 100km/h)

Fines from 1 to 5 km/h (adjusted)
CHF 40 within city limits
CHF 40 outside city limits
CHF 20 highway

Fines from 6 to 10 km/h (adjusted)
CHF 120 within city limits
CHF 100 outside city limits
CHF 60 highway

Fines from 11 to 15 km/h (adjusted)
CHF 250 within city limits
CHF 160 outside city limits
CHF 120 highway

Red light is CHF 250
No highway tag CHF 200

Those are guidelines from the Swiss government and can vary locally.

Posted by
4465 posts

Yeah, I would argue that the margin of equipment error (even in Switzerland) can't accurately flag you for 52 in a 50. That's a stretch.

And as noted, car speedos also have their own margin of error (esp. the German makes).

Posted by
177 posts

phred, in Switzerland they give you 3 km/h for a fixed Lidar. For a fixed doppler radar, it is 5 km/h. For a mobile unit, it is 7 km/h.

As you said, speedometers are calibrated on purpose as to give you more margin (usually 5-6% above).

The ultimate goal of the "via secura" program is not to "get" tourists but to cut the number of casualties by 1/4. I agree that rental car companies could warn people.

It seems to be working. The number of casualties went from 320 in 2012 to 243 in 2014.

Posted by
31 posts

"As you said, speedometers are calibrated on purpose as to give you more margin (usually 5-6% above)."

This depends on the care. I had a BMW and this was the case. I have a Toyota and it is dead accurate. This is based on comparing the speed to a GPS.

Posted by
10344 posts

You probably don't want to speed in Switzerland. It's not worth getting back here and worrying about how many tickets might be coming in the mail. This has been discussed frequently here.

Posted by
177 posts

MikeS, all cars sold in Western Europe are calibrated with some margin. I have been renting cars in Europe yearly for the last 20 years and I always make sure it is the case. I had a Toyota, a Daihatsu, and a Mitsubishi last. All were calibrated the same (also comparing to my GPS). I also noticed that German cars sold in the US have the same calibration while Japanese and American cars show the exact speed.

Posted by
4465 posts

I'm on my fifth BMW and comparing my speedos to a GPS, they were all off