Whenever you travel to another country or plan to hire a car it is important to understand the local driving regulations. Norway is no different; while the use of a hire car will allow you to see some of the most striking scenery in Europe it is important not to get carried away by the outstanding natural beauty and pay attention to motoring laws.
In terms of speed limits that you will have to remember when using a hire car in Norway there is a general 50 mph (80kph) on most roads. Residential areas are however different with the limit sometimes being as low as 19 mph (30 kph), other built up areas carry a limit of 30 mph (50 kph) so be sure to recognise the distinction or fines could be coming your way. Also in Norway, speed bumps are used extensively and are not always clearly signposted so unless you want to return your hire car with a faulty suspension keep your eyes peeled. Dual carriageways carry a limit of either 56 or 62 mph, much slower than other European countries.
Like most countries in the developed world, drink driving is heavily frowned upon in Norway. As alcohol can seriously impair judgement of speed and distance this is not surprising and alcohol limits should always be strictly adhered to. Per 100 ml of blood the allowance is 20 mg, if this limit is exceeded the penalties can be extremely severe so before you think about having a drink make sure your hire car is safely under lock and key. Added to this, various medicines are also prohibited if planning to drive, thankfully these are marked with a red triangle for clarity.
In Norway all cars must drive with their headlights on day and night, even if it is extremely bright. A hire car in theory should be left hand drive but if driving in a right hand drive car it is a legal requirement to attach a black triangle so other drivers are aware of your situation. Also it is worth asking the car hire company for a set of spare headlight bulbs as carrying these at all times is highly advisable.
Like most of Europe the use of seatbelts in Norway is compulsory. If travelling with children it is worth taking advantage of the car hire company's child seat services as all children under four must be securely strapped in with a booster seat. Smaller children such as babies must also have appropriate child seating arrangements.
There is a large amount of regulation to do with tyres that in all honesty should be met by the car hire company. Norway has a policy on summer and winter tyres with different tread depths for each season. 1.6 mm is the minimum in summer while in winter this increases to 3 mm.
In winter, appropriate tyres must be fitted whether these are with or without studs. Studded tyres are permitted during the months of November and April, while in the colder north, this period is extended from October to May. Studded and chained tyres do however carry a premium when travelling in some city centres due to pollution and road maintenance expenses.
Like most of the world the use of a handheld mobile phone while driving in Norway is strictly prohibited although the use of hands free kits is allowed as long as they are completely hands free and do not require any manual operation. Added to this, it is now compulsory to carry at least one high visibility vest in the event of breakdown although once again the car hire company should supply you with all of these legislative demands.
If you follow this advice there is no reason why your driving holiday in Norway will not be a complete success. The regulations are somewhat different due to the country's harsh climate but one benefit of European legislation means that it is easier to make the transition from one country to another. By remembering these points you will be able to focus on the most important aspect of your trip, soaking up the stunning scenery that surrounds you at every turn.