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Driving Guide for Germany

It is necessary to drive with a high level of concentration in Germany. Operating a motor vehicle in Germany can be an exhilarating experience if you have the proper knowledge. Without any information about German driving laws, you will quickly find yourself in compromising situations. Use this guide to ensure you have a safe and successful trip to Germany.

Driver’s License

Type of License

Requirements

EU license

All European Union licenses are valid in Germany

Non EU license

Are valid if they are in the German language

Must be supplemented by an IDP (if not in German language)

Some countries do not need and IDP*

All Motorists

Must be at least 18 years old

Must have a valid and current driving license

*it is strongly recommended to have an International Driving Permit (IDP)
If you do not have an EU license or you license is in a language other than German, you should travel with an IDP. If you are from the United Kingdom, click here for more information about obtaining the IDP. You must also travel with your current license to supplement the IDP.

 Speed Limits

Type of Road

Speed Limit (km/h)

Urban roads/built up areas

50

Rural roads/minor highways

100

Major Highway (Autobahn)

130 (suggested)

The most exhilarating driving experience in the world is on the German Autobahn. There is no required speed limit, but only a suggestion of 130 kilometers per hour. It is important to only drive at a speed that you still have full control of your automobile. Safety is more important that speed. You can only be ticketed for driving too slow in the left lanes or for overtaking cars on the right hand side.   
In all other areas, make sure you are obeying the posted speed limit. The authorities are very serious about the posted speed limit in locations other than the Autobahn. If you do not know the speed limit, you should follow the general guidelines above.

Rules of the Road

Category

Description

Basic rules

Drive on the RIGHT side of the road

Yield to traffic on the right at intersections

Only pass cars on the left hand side

The driver

Absolute sobriety for the first 3 of driving 

Max blood alcohol content (BAC) = .05%

Can only use a hands free mobile phone device

Cannot drive with headphones

All passengers

Must wear a seat belt

Cannot sit in the front seat if shorter than 150 cm

Other rules

Radar detecting devices are prohibited

Headlights are required in tunnels and poor visibility times

Headlights are recommended for use at all times

It is also important to know the road signs in Germany. The more prepared you are, the less surprises you will encounter. The Germany police are able to levy fines on the spot. If you need to pay a moving violation, you should ask for a receipt to guarantee you are paying the correct fine.

Parking in Country

Day

Hours

Price

Every day (street)

9:00 – 18:00 (or later)

0.50 - 1.50 EUR/hour

Every day (garages)

All day

1.00 – 3.00 EUR/hour

10.00 – 25.00 EUR/day

Every day (park and ride)

All day

1.50 – 3.00 EUR/day

Sunday (some cities)

All day

FREE

(1.00 EUR = 0.90 GBP, 1.40 USD)
It is possible to park on the streets in Germany, but spots are limited. Although street parking is available, it is easier to park in a garage or at a park and ride. The park and ride is good if you want to spend a long time in the city. You can park away from the center and ride the public transportation. This is by far the cheapest parking option. As expected, the rates for parking increase as distance to the center decreases. In other words, the parking is most expensive in the city center. The above table is a general guide and the parking rates for each city are subject to change.
*Information on this page is accurate as of May 25, 2011