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Traffic Safety in Croatia

When in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information about Croatia provided below is for general reference only; it may not be accurate for a particular location or circumstance.

  • Safety of Public Transportation: Good
  • Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: Good
  • Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Fair
  • Availability of Roadside Assistance: Fair

Heavy congestion can be expected on major routes on weekends (towards the coast, for example) and in major cities during rush hour. Parking can be difficult and expensive in city centers. Drivers can be aggressive. In Zagreb particularly, motorists must also pay special attention to trams (streetcars).

Primary roads are generally adequate, but many have only one lane in each direction, including some roads to and from the coast. Coastal roads are narrow and congested, and tend to be very slippery when wet.

A U.S. driver's license alone is not sufficient to drive in Croatia. The U.S. driver's license must be accompanied by an international driver's permit (obtainable in the U.S. from American Automobile Association and the American Automobile Touring Alliance) or by an official translation of the U.S. driver's license. This arrangement is only acceptable for the first twelve months of driving in Croatia, after which all drivers must obtain an Croatian license.

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Croatia highways have a maximum speed limit of 130 km/hr, although drivers often drive much faster and pass aggressively. The use of hand-held cell phones while driving is prohibited. Right turns on red lights are strictly forbidden in Croatia, unless an additional green light (in the shape of an arrow) allows it. At unmarked intersections, right of way is always to the vehicle entering from the right. Front seat belts are obligatory, and passengers in vehicles equipped with rear seat belts are required to use them.

The legal limit for blood alcohol content in Croatia is .00 percent. Police routinely spot-check motorists for drinking and driving, and will administer breathalyzer tests at even the slightest accident. Drivers who refuse to submit to a breathalyzer test are automatically presumed to have admitted to driving while intoxicated. In cases of accidents resulting in death or serious injury, Croatian law obligates police to take blood samples to test blood alcohol levels.

Drivers traveling through former conflict areas should stay on paved roads to reduce the risk of encountering mines and unexploded ordnance left over from the war. Please visit the Croatian Mine Action Center's website for more information.

Within Croatia, emergency road help and information can be reached by dialing 1987, a service of the Croatian Automobile Association (HAK). Police can be reached by dialing 112 or 192, and the ambulance can be reached by dialing 112 or 194. Additional road condition and safety information may be obtained from HAK at (385)(1) 661-1999, email or via their web page, (available in English, Italian, and German).

For additional information about road safety, including links to foreign government sites, see the Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at

For specific information concerning Croatian driver's permits, vehicle inspection, road tax, and mandatory insurance, contact the Croatian National Tourist Office, 350 Fifth Avenue, Suite 4003, New York, NY 10118; tel. 1-800-829-4416 or 212-278-8672; fax 212-279-8683.

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