Travel by car

Трасса М4

Car rental is more or less popular in   Moscow and St. Petersburg. A budget option like VW Polo or Ford Focus is available from $60 per day. A four-wheel drive car — which is recommended if you plan to explore some remote sights — will cost from $100. Renting a car in other Russian cities is likely to be a problem since it is not popular among Russian people.

Road conditions. Moscow is linked with other major cities by a network of federal highways. For example, M4 highway goes to Rostov-on-Don, M7 to Nizhniy Novgorod and M10 to St. Petersburg. They usually have at least two traffic lines in each direction, good road pavement, many cafes, service and petrol stations. Smaller roads might be more difficult to drive since they are poorly marked and maintained. There are no toll and private roads in Russia except just a few sections.

Petrol and service stations are common in cities and on major highways. If you go to a remote area make sure to have a full petrol tank. One litre of petrol costs about $1.

Дорожный указательRoad safety. The speed limit is 110 km/h on highways and 90 km/h on other roads. Be careful since Russian highways are not prohibited for pedestrians. Some cities including Moscow are known for their aggressive driving style — just keep calm and better give the way.

As to your personal safety, it is better to avoid staying for a night along the roads in deserted areas. If you leave a car — even for a few minutes at a petrol station — do not forget to lock it. In case of any crime or road accident call 112 from your mobile phone.

Russian traffic police is called GIBDD and DPS. Traffic policemen and cameras often control the highways and city avenues and mainly catch the drivers for exceeding the speed limit (the fine is from $20), crossing the red lights ($30 fine) and overtaking other vehicles when it is forbidden (the driving license will be suspended for up to 6 months). Special traffic checkpoints are located on major roads with policemen permanently present there. Some policemen are notorious for bribe-taking even for minor violations. If you face such a situation, do not hesitate to contact local police hotline (the phone number can be found on any patrol car).

Traffic jams are common in Moscow, St. Petersburg and some other big cities. Actually, taking metro will be much more convenient. However, going by car to a smaller city or to the country is fine. Just make sure not to leave Moscow on Friday evening or Saturday morning and not to return on Sunday evening — or you will definitely get stuck among Moscovites heading to and from their dachas. 

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