Driving in Germany



When driving in Germany, remember that German law requires all automobiles to have a portable red reflective triangle and a first aid kit in the trunk. The German Autobahn (motorway) is an engineering masterpiece known for its sheer sophistication.

The Autobahn, which incidentally is toll-free, is known for being fast and certain parts having no speed limits. The names of the roads consist of an "A" followed by up to three digits. Road signs in blue and white colour text are similar to the UK while "B" roads referring to Bundestrasse have roads signs in an orange and black text. Remember, even numbered roads connect east to west directions and odd numbers connect north to south directions. 

Driving License

If you have an EU driving license, you can use it without any limitations. If your license was issued in a country outside the EU, you could use it for six months from your entry date. This can be extended by another six months. If you plan to stay in Germany for more than one year, then it is recommended that you get a German Driver's license. A written exam, a driving test or both will be necessary. You may also exchange your license for a German one. 

Other Documentation 

When driving in Germany, you will be required to carry some proof of third party liability coverage for all damage or injury to another person, car or object. The Law does not make collision or comprehensive insurance mandatory. Additionally, carry all your legal documents including a photo ID. 


You must be 18 years of age to drive in Germany and over 21 to be able to rent a car. Seatbelts are mandatory for passengers travelling in front as well as in the rear. Failing to wear a seatbelt attracts a 30€ on-the-spot fine for each person in a car not wearing a seat belt. Children less than 12 years of age must be seated in the back seat fastened with a seat belt.

Some other "rules of the road" on the very organised Autobahns are. The far left lane is the "fast lane". It must be used only to pass other slower vehicles which are keeping right. Never enter the autobahn and dive right into the fast lane. Keep right! If you happen to be in the fast lane or one of the faster lanes on multi-lane autobahns, and there is a vehicle is approaching you from behind with his/her left turn signal on, you must move over to the right when safe and use your turn signals. If you pass anyone on the right side, and a Polizei is around you will get a traffic ticket, except in heavy stop-and-go traffic.

Before using the fast lane to pass another car make sure the vehicle is far away. Keep an eye on your rear view mirror to keep track of the speed at which vehicles are approaching. When caught as the last vehicle in a traffic jam on the autobahn, turn on your hazards (4-way flashers) to warn approaching drivers that your vehicle is stationary. In poor weather conditions like heavy rain/fog/snow or other conditions that severely limit your visibility, turn on your exterior lights and particularly your rear fog light.


Traffic offences in Germany are taken very seriously. There is a computerised system in which one accumulates points according to the number of offences one commits. The penalty in most cases is an on the spot fine. In other cases, the receipt for the fine is mailed to the driver. Drinking and driving laws are strict, and blood alcohol limit is 50mg. If you exceed this limit, you will be liable to pay a fine and face license suspension for up to three months for the first offence.

Speed Limits:

Built up areas - 50kph

Two-lane highways - 100kph

Expressways or motorways - up to 130 kph.

Autobahn - no speed limits (recommended 130 kph).

Speed limits vary with weather conditions. Should you exceed the limit by more than 40 kph, you could lose your licenses for up to three months and be liable for a hefty fine. 

In Case of an Accident

If alone and involved in an accident, do not leave the scene for at least 30 minutes. If there are others involved, you must exchange personal and insurance information. There are severe financial penalties for those who leave the scene of an accident. The amount depends on whether there is a personal injury to others or extensive property damage for which you could be incarcerated or lose your license.