Swedish Language Blog

Driving in Sweden Posted by on May 23, 2014 in Culture, Vocabulary

If you end up moving to Sweden or even just visiting, you might realize you want the freedom of the open road. Or something like that. If you do decide to drive in Sweden, there are a few things you need to be aware of. Some of these things may differ from your country.


In case you’re planning on doing some driving, here is a short (and absolutely not complete) list of things you should know:

  • Since September 3, 1967, Sweden has been driving on the right-hand side of the road. So for the Australians in the group, sorry.
  • Seatbelts are required. Doesn’t matter where you’re sitting in the car. Just wear it.
  • You must have your headlights on at all times. Every single hour. Dygnet runt. This is why my first car (a 1989 Saab 9000 Turbo, in case you were wondering) was designed with daytime running lights long before the US was worrying about that sort of thing.
  • You need to be 18 or older to drive.
  • Your driver’s license is probably good. But check Transport Styrelsen.
  • Don’t drink and drive. The limit is 0.2 promille or .02% for the Americans in the group.
  • Don’t speed. Duh.

So now that you have the basics let’s learn some vocabulary. This is a language blog after all:

Swedish English
backa to reverse
(en) bensin (a) gasoline
en bil a car
en broms a brake
en försäkring an insurance
(en) olja (a) oil
en parkeringsplats a parking place
en punktering a puncture/flat
en reparation a repair
(en) trafik traffic
en verkstad a workshop
ett baksäte a back seat
ett framsäte a front seat
ett hjul a wheel
ett körkort a driver’s license
köra to drive
parkera to park
signalera to signal (a turn)
stanna to stop
starta to start
styra to steer
tanka to fill up

Tags: , ,
Keep learning Swedish with us!

Build vocabulary, practice pronunciation, and more with Transparent Language Online. Available anytime, anywhere, on any device.

Try it Free Find it at your Library
Share this:
Pin it

About the Author: Marcus Cederström

Marcus Cederström has been writing for the Transparent Swedish Blog since 2009. He has a Bachelor's Degree in Scandinavian Studies from the University of Oregon, a Master's Degree in Scandinavian Studies from the University of Wisconsin–Madison, and a PhD in Scandinavian Studies and Folklore from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He has taught Swedish for several years and still spells things wrong. So, if you see something, say something.


  1. Batistuta:

    Another important point is that you’re allowed to talk on the phone while driving. I still feel unsafe when I’m trying to cross a road and see a guy talking on the phone while driving his car towards me

  2. Caroline:

    Does “bensin” cover petrol and diesel – if not, what are the correct words?

    • Marcus Cederström:

      @Caroline Diesel is actually just called “diesel” or sometimes “dieselolja.”

  3. Wil:

    I know that Farthinder is speed bump

  4. Marcus Cederström:

    great word!

  5. Eric Swanson:

    Watch out for moose (älg), deer (rådjur), reindeer (reign) and warthogs (vildsvin). If you are going more that about 60 km per hour when you hit an älg, it will come into your car cab and severely injure you if it doesn’t kill you. If you hit a warthog, your vehicle is probably going to be totaled.
    Be careful on the round abouts (rondell).
    Follow the rules about when studded snow tires are permitted.
    Make sure to get your vehicle tothe annual inspection and take prompt action to repair yourcar or recycle it.
    Watch out for bicycles and respect their riding and stopping lanes.
    There isn’t much free parking. One needs to buy a parking ticket at the parking ticket machine (parkeringsautomat)
    Gas is currently about $13 per gallon in Sweden, so it is usually cheaper to take public transportation if there are good transportation links.