Claims hotline

New road traffic rules: stay informed to stay safe

Mar 10, 2021.

Safety has top priority when driving – for you, your passengers and all other road users. This cannot happen without rules. Peter Jeker, solicitor and claims expert, will therefore give you an update about the newest regulations. He will also show you the most frequent misunderstandings so that you can arrive safely at your destination.

New road traffic regulations entered into force on 1 January 2021. We would like to explain the following three regulations in greater detail because these often lead to misunderstandings.

  • Forming a temporary open lane for emergency vehicles while in traffic on the motorway.
  • The zipper method when merging lanes.
  • Passing on the right versus overtaking on the right.


All other changes to the regulations can be found here.



Temporary emergency vehicle access lanes on motorways and the zipper method

Forming a temporary open lane for emergency vehicles while in traffic on the motorway is now always obligatory, regardless of whether an emergency or police vehicle is approaching. The zipper method of merging lanes, whether at the end of a lane or while entering the motorway, is no longer voluntary. It is now mandatory to adhere to it. If you do not comply, you may receive a fine of up to CHF 100.



Passing on the right and overtaking on the right

In our experience, passing on the right and overtaking on the right are very often confused and misunderstood. We will therefore take a closer look at this regulation. We will first distinguish between passing on the right and overtaking on the right.


Definition: passing on the right

Passing on the right means overtaking a vehicle that is driving in the left lane without changing lanes before or after passing that vehicle. This was previously only allowed when there was slow traffic congestion in all lanes.


The new regulations for passing on the right 

You may now pass a motor vehicle on the right while maintaining a constant speed when the driving speed in the left lane is slowed down, such as during traffic congestion. You no longer need to reduce your own speed to avoid passing on the right illegally.


Definition: overtaking on the right

Overtaking on the right means overtaking a vehicle with a change in lanes. For example: while driving in the left lane, you change to the right lane to overtake a slower vehicle, and then return to the left lane. This was previously forbidden no matter the situation. Overtaking on the right would be reported to the police as a gross breach of road traffic rules and would lead to the withdrawal of your driving licence for at least three months.


The new regulations for overtaking on the right

Overtaking on the right by changing lanes remains punishable. However, it will now “only” be penalised with a fine of CHF 250. The police report and withdrawal of the driving licence will no longer occur if you did not endanger anyone by overtaking on the right.

‘It is always better to deal with new changes to rules in advance rather than afterwards, during criminal proceedings. After all, we always say: ignorance does not hold in a court of law.’


Peter Jeker, Claims Expert and solicitor at Fortuna Legal Protection Insurance

Get help with legal assistance

If something should still happen, motorists’ legal protection insurance is very helpful to have. If you receive a fine or your motor vehicle licence is withdrawn, we can check if it is possible to refund procedural costs.

We can also support you with...

  • Clarifying responsibility for accidents.
  • Enforcing your claim for damages.
  • Defending you in criminal proceedings.
  • Proceedings concerning withdrawal of your driving licence.
  • Disputes in buying or selling your vehicle.
  • Disputes concerning repairs and services with contracting partners, such as workshops or garages.

About the author

Peter Jeker works as the department head for road traffic law, criminal law, civil damages law and vehicle contract law at Fortuna Legal Protection Insurance, a subsidiary of Generali Switzerland. He has worked for us as a solicitor on legal cases regarding road traffic law, general criminal law, civil damages law and vehicle contract law for more than six years.

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