If you're planning to drive in Sweden, it's important to understand the national road safety laws that are applicable. Having a sound understanding of car maintenance is a good skill to have either way; however, making the assumption that Swedish vehicle maintenance laws are the same as Australia's is not a mistake you want to make. Not only can it land you with serious law violation charges, but it can also pose a serious risk to your life if you drive in dangerous conditions unprepared.
Preparing Your Car for European Road Safety
In Sweden it is a lawful requirement for all vehicles to have a yearly car service in order to be fitted with winter tyres from the 1st of December to the 31st of March, or from whenever the first snowfall is. The roads can become very icy and so specialist deep tread tyres with adequate grip are a necessity to minimise the risk of road collisions.
In some European countries a dedicated car kit is a legal requirement. Whilst this isn't the case for Sweden, carrying a high visibility vest, warning triangle, spare tyre, warm clothes and a first aid kit is certainly sensible—particularly if you are driving in the northern region of the country where it's common to experience deep snow drifts and treacherous conditions. These conditions can often lead to flat tyres and breakdowns.
Checking Tire Tread
Checking the depth of the tyre tread is hugely important and often something people forget to do, yet it's one of the best ways to improve the safety rating of your vehicle. Bring with you a 20 cents Australian coin and insert it into the tyre tread, if you can see the 20 cents symbol, then you need to change the tyres. Not only will they fail to grip icy roads, but during wet weather they increase the risk of aquaplaning which is where water builds up under the tyre and essentially raises the car from the road and greatly reduces control for the driver.
Insuring the Car, Not the Person
Unlike many countries, in Sweden it is the car that is insured, not the individual. Therefore it's imperative that you don't assume that your own car insurance in Australia will cover you in Sweden. This method of insuring the car is great if you plan on visiting in a group, as it allows multiple people access to driving without the need for separate insurance contracts. Just be sure to check the insurance of any vehicles you use, be it a hire vehicle or a one that belongs to a friend. You should also check the condition of the vehicle, such as the structural integrity or the body, engine and the wheels, or your insurance may be void.