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Driving in Estonia (Domestic Help)
 
 
 

Driving in Estonia is similar to other countries in the European Union. The urban roads and major highways are in very good condition, but some of the secondary roads are not as good. It is important that you adhere to the posted speed limits and road signs. Some of the drivers are very aggressive and you need to be alert.

Traffic drives on the right. Estonia has a high density of roads although there are few major highways. Signs are not always illuminated and fairly small, so driving at night can be tricky if you do not know the route.

The rules about drinking and driving are very strict. You can have barely any alcohol in your blood if you want to operate a motor vehicle. The Estonian authorities are very serious about this law. They set up random check points and issue breathalysers to every driver. You will be punished to the full extent of the law if you are caught driving under the influence of alcohol.

It is not the best idea to drive on rural roads during the night. There are a lot of wild animals such as moose and deer that can cause severe injuries or even death. Furthermore, some roads are in poor condition and their imperfections become increasingly difficult to avoid in the dark.

The minimum driving age is 18, and EU licences are valid for foreign drivers. Speed limits are well marked, and range from 30-50 kmph in towns to 90-110 kmph on main intercity roads. Wearing a seatbelt is compulsory. The national breakdown number is 112. Car headlights must be used 24 hours a day.

Driving Licence

In Estonia, driving licence can be applied for in the Estonian Motor Vehicle Registration Centre (ARK). All necessary links are provided on ARK's website: (www.ark.ee).

As the application for driving licence is closely related to testing, the website also provides information about the theory test and the practical driving test. Sample exam questions are also provided.

A driving licence issued in a foreign state is valid in Estonia if it is issued and prepared pursuant to the principles of the 1949 Geneva Convention on Road Traffic or the 1968 Vienna Convention on Road Traffic and subsequent agreements and amendments to the Conventions attached thereto.

If a citizen of Estonia or a person who holds a residence permit in Estonia settles in Estonia, his or her driving licence issued in a foreign state shall be valid during 12 months as of the date on which the person settled in Estonia or on which the residence permit was issued to the person.

A driver's licence issued abroad is replaced with an Estonian driver's licence after successfully passing the examination of traffic theory and practical driving skills, if:

• the owner of the driver's licence has been convicted for repeated violation of the Traffic Act or a legal act issued on the basis of the Traffic Act, within past 12 months in Estonia;

• the owner of the driver's licence has been convicted for such a violation of the Traffic Act or a legal act issued on the basis of the Traffic Act that brings about a suspension of right to drive, within past 12 months in Estonia;

• the owner of the driver's licence has not replaced the driver's licence issued abroad with an Estonian driver's licence within 12 months after the owner of the driver's licence settled in Estonia or received the Estonian residential permit;

• the driver's licence issued abroad has not been issued and formulated according to the principles of the Geneva Convention on Road Traffic from the year of 1949 or the Vienna Convention on Road Traffic from 1968 and the later agreements and convention supplements related to these Conventions.

A driver's licence issued in a Member State of the European Union for a person settling in Estonia does not have to be replaced with an Estonian driver's licence.

In order to replace the driver's licence, the following documents must be presented to ARK office by the owner of the driver's licence:

• a driver's licence application formulated properly, to be filled in the ARK office;
• a valid health certificate (if more than two years have passed after the last health inspection, then a new health inspection has to be conducted before replacing the driver's licence);
• a passport or other identification and residence document;
• the driver's licence to be replaced;
• a document proving the payment of the relevant state fee;
• a formal photograph of the owner of the driver's license that can be made in automatic photo-booths located in all ARK offices. A digital photograph made in such a photo-booth ensures a better print quality of the driver's license and taking the picture is free-of-charge for the customer.

 
 


 



 


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