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Tips for Driving in Germany

By: Tracy Whitelaw - Updated: 27 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
Tips For Driving In Germany

The scenery in Germany makes driving there an absolute delight. Many people choose to do driving holidays in Germany, or may simple pass through on their way to other destinations. Whatever the reason for your drive in Germany, there are a number of essential tips that you must be aware of before driving there. They will keep you safe and should help you navigate happily through some beautiful locations.

Essential Items for Driving in Germany

In order to drive legally in Germany, you must have your full UK licence and be at least 18 years of age. Similar to many other countries in Europe, Germany has a legal driving age of 18, so you can’t drive there aged 17, even if you have a full UK licence. Doing so may lead to your car being impounded which can turn into a real nightmare, especially if you don’t speak the language. All passengers in a car in Germany are required by law to wear seatbelts and if you fail to ensure both your front and rear passengers are wearing them, you could be given an on-the-spot fine of around 30Euros.

Children under the age of 12 aren’t allowed to ride in the front of the vehicle, so make sure they are safely belted up in the back. All cars should carry a reflective warning triangle in the boot and also a first aid kit. It is illegal not to have these essential items in your car, so buy them before you leave – they’re handy to have anyway.

Speeding Laws in Germany

Many people have heard of the German Autobahn, believing that it’s a completely speed limit free area where people can drive as fast as they want. The general rule for the Autobahn is that there are no limits, but it’s accepted that around 130 km/h is the recommended maximum speed.

  • Motorway Speeds –No limit generally, but 130 km/h recommended speed
  • Built-Up Areas – 50 km/h
  • All other Areas (unless signed) – 100 km/h

The Autobahn can be one of the most exciting and terrifying roads for new drivers in Germany. The mix of slow moving heavy vehicles with extremely fast cars means it’s mandatory that you’re alert and focused when driving there. Pile-ups happen on the Autobahn partly due to the high speeds there, so leave a sensible distance between yourself and the car in front. Also, use defensive driving skills at all times to keep yourself and your passengers safe.Generally in Germany, the police there rely on a radar detection system that will record your details and send you out your fine at a later date. It’s rare to be stopped on the road, but that doesn’t mean you haven’t been caught. Stricter policies are continually being implemented in Germany, especially when alcohol or drugs are also involved, so stay safe and sensible on the roads.

Road Rules in Germany

There are a number of important road rules in Germany that locals are well aware of, but visitors often overlook. It’s important to learn these before you go to prevent yourself from a potential accident when driving in Germany.

  • No rule that prohibits passing at an intersection – Check your blindspot
  • Blinking yellow lights at an interaction means stop
  • Watch out for traffic calming zones – shown by a sign with a pedestrian and child playing with a ball
  • Only drive on snow covered roads if you have winter tires
  • Slow down when buses have stopped. You may pass them, but only at a very low speed
  • Watch out for different parking signs. It can be expensive to recover your car if it’s towed. Learn the signs before leaving or take a sign book with you

Accident Laws in Germany

If you are involved in an accident in Germany, it is illegal to leave the scene without getting help or offering assistance. If someone has been injured you must call an ambulance (112) or if you’re able, you should provide medical assistance. If you have personally been involved in an accident, you must remain there for at least 30 minutes if you’re alone. If you have hit another vehicle or a pedestrian, or they have hit you, you need to be able to provide your insurance details and your personal information also.

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