Other countries, other conventions: depending on the country, those driving a car abroad may need to have a first aid kit or a fire extinguisher. A CH sticker is required everywhere, though only with very specific dimensions.
"Carabinieri fine drivers without a CH sticker" – so were the headlines before the summer holidays. Particularly strict Italian police apparently fined Swiss drivers up to 335 Euro for not having the obligatory CH on their cars.
This is not just a peculiarity in Italy. There is an international treaty, the so-called Vienna Convention on Road Traffic, that prescribes the identification of motor vehicles. Of course, Switzerland itself also has a corresponding law: "Motor vehicles and trailers that are driven in a foreign country must have a country code in the rear according to Annex 4" is the clear stipulation in the decree of technical requirements for road vehicles.
One can be fined for having the small format
Switzerland also stipulates that its drivers should have such a sticker as soon as they drive across the border. Furthermore, the sticker itself must fulfil these exact dimensions and form: elliptical shape measuring 11.5 x 17.5 cm with 8 x 4 cm letters and a line thickness of 1 cm.
Tip: Only the large sticker conforms to the law. The small format that one can buy at petrol stations and in stores does not avoid getting a fine.
And what should motorcyclists do?
Motorcycles are not exempt from this obligation. However, the question here is: where would the oval sticker even fit? Definitely not on the back wheel. One option for trips abroad with luggage would be the top case.
Removable solution: the magnetic CH sticker
If you don't feel like defacing your car's bodywork with such a large sticker, you can also buy a CH sticker with a magnet. This can easily be attached before travelling abroad and just as easily be removed after your return. However, Comparis users have pointed out that the magnet version available from Migros, for instance, does not stick to aluminium bodyworks. The Swiss car club ACS, on the other hand, is said to offer a removable sticker that is also suitable for use on plastic. According to the manufacturer's data, however, its "car wash proofness is limited".
Fire extinguisher and replacement bulbs
Whether police from other countries are also on the hunt for missing CH stickers is not certain. What is clear is that in addition to the sticker, other rules exist for equipment for a car depending on the country. A reflective vest is often mandatory. In Eastern Europe, a first aid kit is sometimes also needed. Russia requires a fire extinguisher and replacement headlight bulbs; Estonia requires two wedge blocks with which to secure a car. What you are expected to have with your car at your destination can be found out from TCS.
This article was updated on 10 October. The information for motorcyclists and on magnet stickers was added.