Driving in Germany is generally considered to be a pleasure because of the excellent roads there. However despite what you may have heard there are actually many sections of the autobahns which do have speed limits. Germany also has the second largest road system in the world. Cars are generally manual unless otherwise specified.
Vehicles entering an intersection from the right have right of way unless otherwise stated. Traffic entering the motorways must yield to traffic which is already on the motorways. If you break down on the autobahns there are emergency phones located every two miles. Passing cars on the right is strictly prohibited.
Germany uses a priority roads system to define right of way and this is marked by a diamond sign in yellow with a white border. Traffic on these roads has priority over traffic on all other roads.
You cannot turn red on right unless indicated to do so by a green arrow. Some cities use self regulating traffic lights which work by detecting whether you car is on a sensor, so make sure you are positioned correctly ahead of the intersection for this to work. Traffic police show blinking signs which say Polizei Halt if they want to stop you.
First aid kits and warning triangles should be carried in all cars. You must use your headlights at night and in bad weather and it is illegal to only use your parking lights at those times. Having some cash on you at all times is recommended as fines can be requested on the spot with your vehicle potentially impounded for non compliance.
If police decide to pull you over they use a traffic paddle to indicate to you while their car will say 'Polizei bitte folgen'.
Every accident must be immediately reported to the police even if it is small. Wait for the police to arrive and get the other driver’s names, address and insurance details. Drivers must return to the scene of any serious accident or road death until the police arrive. The police will give you an accident report which is required by your rental company. They can charge you a small fine of 25 Euros if you are in stationary traffic and 40 Euros if you are in moving traffic.
It is mandatory to for all passengers to wear seatbelts in the front seat and back seats. There is a 30 Euro on the spot fine for those not doing so. Children under 12 years old or less than one and a half meters tall may not sit in the front seat unless they are in an approved child safety seat. However child seats should not be used in the front if there is an airbag.
The European highways start with the prefix E, while federal roads are B roads.
1.416 Euros for 98 unleaded, 1.331 for 95 unleaded and 1.112 for Diesel. If you are coming from America expect to spend four times what you usually do on fuel.
You are allowed 0.05% of alcohol in your blood. However the limit is zero for those under 21 who have had their licence for less than two years.
Your driving licence and passport (or photo ID) as well as a green insurance certificate (green card) called a Zulassungsbescheinigung. Drivers must have third party liability insurance which is included with all Rhino cars.
Yes, you should not need to have an international driving licence, though it can be helpful if you have an accident. You can use EU licences, and if your licence is non EU you can use it for six months from your entry date. However if you have a foreign licence which is not in English you should have an official translation of the licence.
- Motorway - Autobahn
- The pleasure of driving – Fahrvergnügen
- German Driver's Licence - Führerschein
- Petrol – Benzin
- Green card found in all rental cars - Zulassungsbescheinigung
- Diesel – Diesel
- Please follow police - Polizei bitte folgen
- Unleaded – Bleifrei
- Local traffic office - Straßenverkehrsamt
- Road construction - Baustellen
- Petrol station – Tankstellen
- Fines - Verwarnungsgeld
- Fill up - Volltanken
- Self service - Selbstbedienung or SB-Tanken
- Country Lanes – Feldweg
- Warning triangle - Warndreieck
- Parkscheibe - a cardboard disc which you can buy at petrol stations. It is to be used in marked areas of limited but un-metered parking to indicate your time of parking.
There are no toll fees for passenger vehicles using the autobahns, though trucks may have to pay a toll.
50 kilometres per hour in built up areas
90 kilometres per hour on rural roads
80 -130 kilometres on motorways, though there are some sections which are free of speed limits.
Speed limits are enforced by unmarked police cars and radar traps as well as cameras. If you get a ticket it will be sent to your rental agency.
The conversion from kilometers to miles per hour is one kilometer = 0.62 miles per hour. Therefore the speed limit is 30 miles per hour.
The minimum age to drive is 18, though to hire a car you should be 21.
The emergency services are on 112. The American Embassy can be contacted on http://germany.usembassy.de/email/feedback.htm.
In Germany parking your vehicle is defined as leaving it unattended for more than three minutes. Parking is generally allowed in the streets unless there is a sign telling you not to do it. When you do so there must be a gap of at least three metres between your car and the lane line or the middle of the road. There are also signs which show whether you can have two or four wheels on the pavement. You cannot park within 15 metres of a bus stop or street car sign, within 5 metres of an intersection, or within 50 metres of a railway crossing sign.