Right-hand drive

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Variable message signs - sign gantry with inscription: Observe right-hand driving law

The right driving is a traffic law rule which states that on roads must be driven as far as possible the right.


It is an instruction regulated in Section 2, Paragraph 2 of the German Road Traffic Act (StVO) for road users who are traveling with vehicles. However, this does not mean “to the extreme right” or “as far as technically possible”, rather a distance of about one meter from the edge of the road is recommended.

The right-hand drive requirement can be deviated from on lanes with several lanes in accordance with Section 7 of the StVO. In built-up areas (except on motorways), vehicles up to 3.5 t GVW can freely choose the lane (Section 7 (3) StVO).

Anyone who continues on motorways or outside of built-up areas on motorways with several lanes in one direction and uses the left lane for no reason and thereby obstructs other road users is committing a violation of the right-hand driving law, which can be punished with a fine of € 80 and a point in the register of fitness to drive . This also applies to roads outside built-up areas with more than two lanes in one direction of travel. Even on roads with more than two lanes, the right-hand lane must always be used, however, continuous driving in the middle lane is permitted if a vehicle drives on the right-hand lane at least "now and then" and no road users are obstructed. Courts have specified this further and said that if you can use the right-hand lane for significantly longer than 20 seconds, the right-hand drive should be followed.

If there is no sidewalk, pedestrians are allowed to walk on both the right and the left side of the lane. Outside built-up areas you have to walk on the left side of the road; one after the other with consideration for the rest of the traffic. This "left-hand command" serves for the safety of pedestrians, as the traffic approaching from behind on the right will pass them at a greater distance, while the traffic coming on the same side can be seen in good time so that it is possible to avoid the unpaved hard shoulder (§ 25 StVO).


The right-hand drive is specified in Section 7 (1) of the Austrian Road Traffic Act (StVO). According to Section 7 (3) of the StVO, this can be waived if “the ease and fluidity of traffic requires”.

Within the local area, according to Section 7 (3a) of the StVO, drivers of motor vehicles “on roads with at least two lanes marked by guide or blocking lines for the relevant direction of travel” are free to choose.


In Switzerland, the right to drive is regulated in Art. 34 of the Road Traffic Act and Art. 7 and 8 of the Traffic Regulations. Vehicles must therefore drive on the right, on wide roads within the right half of the lane and stay close to the edge of the road (especially when driving slowly and on unclear routes), but also keep enough distance to it (especially when driving fast, at night and in curves) . On hard-to-drive roads and in left-hand bends, you can drive on the left if the route is clear and neither oncoming traffic nor following vehicles are obstructed.

On roads with more than one lane, the rightmost one should be used outside of urban areas, except when overtaking or driving in parallel columns in heavy traffic.

Individual evidence

  1. radarforum.de , quote from Jagusch / Hentschel on § 2 StVO Rn. 35 and 41, forum contribution
  2.  Matthias Breitinger: Traffic law: The central strip myth. In: zeit.de. September 30, 2012, accessed December 9, 2014 .
  3. [1] , § 2 Paragraph 2 Road Traffic Regulations (StVO)
  4. [2] , fine - right-hand drive on motorways
  5. Ingrid Weidner: Does the right-hand drive also apply on three-lane motorways? Many react impatiently when someone drives comparatively slowly in the middle lane on sections of motorway without a speed limit. Can the person do that? In: Zeit Online. Zeit Online GmbH, April 19, 2018, accessed on April 19, 2018 .

See also