Russia Driving Advice and Car Hire Info

The research for this website was carried out mainly in 2011 and 2012. Therefore there is a good chance that much of the information may now be out of date. This is particularly true of countries in the developing world, especially Asia, Africa and parts of South America where conditions can change often. Also, the political climate in many countries has changed a lot in recent years. Therefore the information on this website should be treated with caution. You should always check with your Government’s website or the UK Foreign office travel advice website before finalising plans to drive abroad.

Driving in Russia-

You should check your Government’s website before driving abroad in the North Caucasus eg , Chechnya, North Ossetia, Ingushetia, Dagestan, Stavropol, Karachayevo-Cherkessiya, and Kabardino-Balkariya. It is possible to drive on an EU Photo licence but it is advisable to also carry and International Driving permit, or even better, a notarised Russian translation of your licence.Roads are generally in good condition in Cities but will deteriorate in rural areas particularly in the winter. Russian drivers tend to like driving at high speed and you will doubtless encounter numerous BMW and Mercedes flying up behind you at high speed when driving around the main cities. There is little infrastructure on Russian roads outside Cities apart from  the roads between Moscow and St Petersburg and on the roads to Kiev and Minsk. There are few restaurants, gas stations or toilets. Luckily there are plenty of wooded areas! You should aim to be as self sufficient as possible on a long journey and make sure your vehicle has all the basics – fill up with fuel whenever you get chance. An anomaly of driving in Russia is that although they drive on the right, most cars are imported from Japan and are right hand drive. This makes overtaking difficult –cars need to pull right out into the opposing lane in order to see whether its safe to pull out. Bear this in mind when driving and take great care when overtaking. Russia has extreme winters and you should check local conditions before setting out on any journey, particularly beyond urban areas.Driving in Moscow, or any big City, is likely to be stressful – there are lots of cars on the roads, congestion is commonplace and most signs are in Cyrillic. If you can avoid driving in Cities you should. If you must drive in a City , ask the rental company if they’ll drive you to/from the outskirts. Failing that, provide the address you’re seeking (in Cyrillic) to a taxi driver and ask if you can follow him. Theres a zero tolerance approach to drink driving in Russia and police stops are frequent, as are ‘fines’ or bribes for misdemeanours, real or imagined. Drive confidentally, but defensively and try and stay under the speed limit at all times.Also driving a dirty car is technically illegal in Russia though in the depths of winter you’ll obviously struggle with that rule!

Russia Car Rental –

Sixt, Hertz, Europcar, National,Avis, Dollar, and Thrifty have outlets in major towns across Russia. Also usually features on Car rental broker sites such as Argus Car Hire.

This is a local option in Moscow

This is a local company in St Petersburg, unfortunately they don’t seem to have an English language website

This is a local company offering self drive from Murmansk

Russia Self Drive Rules-

Self Drive Rules vary depending on the rental company and the location you rent from . Most of the big companies have offices in Moscow and St Petersburg and if you plan to take the car beyond the metropolitan area of the city you rented it in you should advise the company at the time of reservation. They usually allow one way rentals for free within the City you rented from.  Its generally allowed to take the car to other parts of Russia though there are some restrictions -Sixt prevent cars from being taken to -Republic of Adygeya, Karachai-Circassian Republic, Kabardino-Balkarian Republic,North Ossetia and Alania Republic, Republic of Ingooshetia, Chechen Republic and DagestanRepublic. Hertz have 35 locations across Russia. They allow cars hired in St Petersburg to be taken to Finland and Sweden for an additional charge.

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