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Traffic regulations and fines in Croatia

In Croatia, the basic traffic regulations are very similar to those in Europe, but they do have their peculiarities.

There are many narrow sections of roads and mountain serpentines in the country, plus the locals often break the traffic regulations. It is certainly not a good idea to follow their example, or you will have to pay fines.

Basic traffic regulations and fines

Speed limits:

  • 50 km/h within towns
  • 90 km/h outside towns
  • 110 km/h on expressways
  • 130 km/h on toll roads.

The speeding fine depends on where and by how much you have exceeded the speed limit.

Within towns:

  • exceeding up to 10 km/h - €30
  • 10-20 km/h - €60
  • 20-30 km/h - €130
  • 30-50 km/h - €390-920
  • over 50 km/h - €1,320-2,650 fine or imprisonment for up to 60 days.

Outside towns:

  • 10-30 km/h - €60
  • 30-50 km/h - €260
  • over 50 km/h - €660-1,990.

Be sure to observe the traffic regulations, especially the speed limits. Even on toll roads. There are many speed cameras and radars on Croatian roads.

Drivers should give way to pedestrians on a zebra crossing. The fine is €60.

All passengers must ride buckled up. The fine is €130.

A child under 150 cm in height can only ride in the front seat in a special child restraint system; and children under 135 cm in height must ride in the rear in child safety seats and booster seats. The fine is €130.

On narrow mountain roads, uphill traffic always has the right of way over the downhill traffic.

From November 1st through March 31st, switching on low beam or daytime running lights is mandatory when driving at any time of day. During the rest of the year, low beam is only required in low visibility conditions and when driving through tunnels. The fine is €30-60.

During the cold season, when the roads are covered with snow or ice, winter tyres are mandatory. You should always have snow chains with you from November 15th through April 15th when travelling in mountainous areas.

Drivers must not use mobile phones without a special hands-free system. You can't drive with two headphones in your ears. The fine is €130.

If your car breaks down, you must wear a reflective vest on the road. The fine is €30.

The maximum permitted blood alcohol content is 0.5‰, for drivers under the age of 24, it is 0‰. The penalty is from €90 to €2,650 or imprisonment for up to 60 days.

How to communicate with the local police

Traffic police rarely stop cars, but if you do get pulled over, be polite and tactful.

Show your driver’s license, insurance, and vehicle registration certificate. If you are driving a rental car, you must have your rental agreement with you.

There is no point in “challenging everything” and raising your voice, as this is guaranteed to make things worse. The fact that you are a foreigner and do not speck Croatian is not an excuse for violation. You can only ask for an interpreter in court, not on the road. So, you’d better try to settle a problem on the spot.

If the situation is not very serious, such as a minor speeding offence, just apologise immediately and admit guilt. There is a good chance that they will let you go in peace.

Never try to pay a bribe, or you can easily spend the rest of your vacation under arrest.

How to pay the fine

If the fine was issued by a police officer, you can pay it on the spot or at any bank or post office within 8 days.

If you pay a fine under €265 on the spot to the police officer, you get a 50% discount.

Fines from cameras are mailed to the rental company and delivered with a delay of four to six weeks. That is why some rental companies refund the deposit after this period or ask for credit card details.

Is it difficult to drive in Croatia?

At first, the local driving style may be a little surprising to the foreign tourist, but it’s not a problem at all. Just be careful, especially in the beginning.

Road traffic:

  • Locals like to overtake both where it’s allowed and where it’s prohibited to do so. It’s best to give way to such reckless drivers.
  • There are many elderly drivers in Croatia. Treat them with understanding and don't rush them by honking the horn.
  • Don't worry about being honked around a lot: the locals often greet each other this way.
  • When it rains, the mountain serpentines are quite slippery. Be careful.
  • Take your time on narrow stretches of the road, especially in the mountains. Give way to oncoming cars if it is easier for you to do so.

Try to follow the general rhythm of the traffic and adjust to it. It won't be difficult because the traffic is fast but very smooth and generally safe.

Good luck on the roads in Croatia.

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