When traveling on Hungarian motorways you need to pay for a Matrica (toll ticket), that you put on your windscreen, prior to using the motorway system.
A toll ticket can be valid for 1 week, 1 month or 1 year and can be bought at petrol stations.
Below you will find information relating to 'Driving In Budapest' and Hungary in general in terms of M.O.T, Car Insurance and Car Tax, Driving Lesson Prices, Speed Limits in Hungary, Tyre Regulations and more.
Prices shown below are taken from Hungarian friends who have been driving in Hungary for decades as well as Hungarian friends who have recently passed their driving test and bought a car. A big THANK YOU to Tünde for all her help and tips including internet searching, interpretations and translations.
If you live in a main city such as Budapest or Szeged you do not really need a car simply because public transport is excellent in those cities. You only really need a car if you make multiple trips to the supermarket, d.i.y shops, other towns/villages and so on every week or month whereby you save money doing so.
Hungarians find the car "too expensive" to buy, maintain and operate - Petrol Prices (349 HUF per litre), Car Insurance (between 40,000 HUF and 62,000 HUF), M.O.T (between 19,000 HUF and 25,000 HUF) and Car Tax (140-300 HUF per Kilowatt - Example: 11,000 HUF) mean the average Hungarian will not use a car for luxury trips; such as trips to leisure centres.
If a Hungarian has a car they will use it as efficiently as possible. For a monthly shopping trip to the big supermarket, to and from work, for school runs, carrying heavy/bulky d.i.y shop items and so on; but not to visit cinemas, taxi friends around and so on.
NOTE: Car Insurance prices vary depending on your age, number of driving years, security and age of your vehicle and other details. With M.O.T you may decide to have a 'check for damages' and 'legal car parts/log book' service (a fee of around 18,000 HUF) before your official M.O.T test. And with the car tax, your vehicle's Kilowatt capacity can be found on your M.O.T certificate and Log Book.
Driving lessons in Szeged can be found at 3,300 HUF (£8.08) per hour (based on 30 Hours or less) and 3,500 HUF (£9.33) per hour (based on 31+ Hours). In Budapest driving lessons are around 4,500 HUF (£12) per hour.
NOTE - Unllike in the UK, in Hungary there is no provisional (learner) license issued. Meaning, you can NOT be a provisional driver who drives a car within Hungary; even with a full driving license holder (professional) at your side (in the passenger seat). You must pass your theory and first aid tests first and then take driving lessons with a qualified driving instructor only whereby when you feel ready, you can take as many driving tests as you like. Driving at any other time as a provisional driver is illegal.
NOTE - If you fail after the initial five driving tests you must visit Budapest for a mental ability test before you can continue with a sixth driving test and driving tests thereafter.
NOTE - You must have had an address card for at least 6 months before you will be issued a full (professional) driving license; assuming you pass your driving test of course.
NOTE - A Full (Professional) Driving License in Hungary is valid for periods of 10 years only. So if you pass your driving test at 20 years old, your driving license will only be valid until your 30th birthday whereby you then need to take an assessment medical test. If you pass that medical test, you pay for another 10 years on your driving license; so it is then valid until your 40th birthday. In other words, you need to renew your driving license every 10 years.
When driving in Hungary the following documents should be carried at all times, if you do not want a fine.
NOTE: Motorcycle riders and their passengers MUST all wear a crash helmet.
You must use dipped headlights when driving outside built-up areas (when driving between cities, towns or villages for example). And when driving in a built-up area (such as in a city, town or village), you must NOT use full-beam headlights at night. Sadly, some drivers do not follow these rules. I have encountered, as a night time cyclist, cars coming from the opposite direction with full-beam (blinding) headlights on as they pass me.
Hungarians do not tolerate drink driving at all, hence their zero 'drink limit' policy/crackdown. If you are caught with less than 80 Milligrams of alcohol (per 100 Millilitres of blood) in your system, you will be fined. And if you are caught with 80+ Milligrams (per 100 Millilitres of blood) in your system, you will face legal action.
It is also illegal for you to allow a person under the influence of alcohol or drugs to drive. If the police suspect a driver (and even a cyclist or pedestrian) of being under the influence of drugs, they can take them to a medical centre for blood and urine tests.
NOTE WELL: Even the ambulance service and hospital do not like drinkers, even if you get drunk at a party/festival and pass-out. Yes, they will take you to the hospital and treat you, but at the same time they will see you as some sort of criminal.
All passengers in a vehicle, including children, must wear a seat belt unless they will be using a child-restraint chair.
A child under 3 years old can be seated in the front or back of the vehicle, in a child-restraint chair at all times, whereby if they sit in the front, the child-restraint chair must be facing the rear of the vehicle with the vehicle's airbag system deactivated.
A child aged between 3 and 12 years old can only sit at the back. If they are below 1.35 CMs, they must be in a child-restraint chair at all times. And if they are 1.3 CMs or taller, they need to wear a seat belt instead. However, when they reach 1.50 CMs they can sit in the front using only a seat belt.
NOTE: On some websites you may see a safety height of 1.50 CMs, as opposed to 1.35 CMs. This is because cars were originally fitted with a seat belt that had no adjustable height to it, making 1.50 CMs the standard saftety height.
However, in today's age all new cars are fitted with a seat belt that can be height adjusted; hence the 1.35 CMs safety height. This means if you have an old, classic, car for example the safety height should be 1.50 CMs; otherwise 1.35 CMs can be applied for a newer car.
The speed limits in Hungary are as follows:
Watch your speed, and look out for speed limit road signs, especially when approaching train level crossings and when driving between towns and villages. When you travel from village to village for example you get 'dead zones' whereby the gap between them (the dead zone) has a 55 Mph (90 Km/h) speed limit.
In Hungary there is an obligation (but not a legal requirement) that all vehicle owners fit their vehicle with the correct type of tyres according to the season they are in; winter or summer. For tyres, the winter season normally begins around 1st November and lasts until around 31st March. As a general rule: When you see ice, snow, frost, etc begin to appear on a daily basis, especially when the temperature falls to zero or less, you should change ALL of your vehicle's tyres; unless you want a fine!
Either way, as a vehicle owner, you MUST have snow chains onboard just in case winter driving conditions become extreme. And when you fit them, you must NOT drive any faster than 31 Mph (50 Km/h). Also note: When arriving at a border checkpoint make sure you have satisfactory snow chains, otherwise your vehicle might be refused entry into Hungary.
Driving from London (UK) to Szeged (Hungary) will take roughly 24 Hours, which includes five or six 20-30 minute breaks. Knock 2-3 Hours off when travelling to Budapest.
When traveling on Austrian motorways and Hungarian motorways you need to pay a toll fee that you put on your windscreen. Toll tickets can be boughht at petrol stations. In Austria the toll ticket is known as a Pickerl and can be valid for 10 days, 1 month or 1 year whereas in Hungary the toll ticket is known as the Toll Ticket WebsiteMatrica and can be valid for 1 week, 1 month or 1 year. You can buy toll tickets at petrol stations.
The easiest way to travel through France to Austria, motorway all the way, is via the A3 Motorway Wiki PageA3 and A4 Motorway Wiki PageA4 notorways. Remember, before you leave, to check each countries Driving Rules & Regulations relating to driving equipment, road tax, toll fee and border control.
More information can be found within the following websites / web pages:
The AA GuideThe AA Guide - The RAC GuideThe RAC Guide - Car Tax Prices Web PageCar Tax Prices - Driving License GOV WebsiteDriving License - Driving In France Web PageDriving In France - Driving In Austria Web PageDriving In Austria.