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Driving in Germany

Learn more about driving in Germany

Driving in Germany is very straightforward, although parking regulations can be rigidly enforced, so we’ve included a section below to help you understand them.

You should also be aware that, contrary to popular belief, speed limits do apply on many sections of the autobahn, but these are clearly signed.

It’s also worth learning about the overtaking rules, for example on some roads where there’s more than one lane and traffic is heavy it’s fine to overtake on the right – plus you must also always overtake trams on the right and only indicate when you’re leaving a roundabout.

There are plenty of road signs telling you what to do and after a little while you’ll be well-versed in German driving customs.

Germany by motorcycle - Hamburg

German driving laws

  • Children under 12 and less than 1.5m in height can only travel in the front seats of a vehicle if they are using an approved child seat that is appropriate for their age and size
  • It is prohibited for child seats to be used in the front seats if the airbag has not been deactivated
  • As in the UK, wearing seatbelts is a legal requirement
  • Drivers must carry a reflective vest
  • Every vehicle with 4 wheels must carry a warning triangle
  • Every vehicle must carry a first aid kit
  • It is compulsory for dipped headlights to be used in daytime in cases of in bad weather
  • Motorists can be fined for such things as exceeding speed limits, using abusive language and making gestures or signs
  • It is prohibited to drive with only sidelights at night
Driving in Germany - driving laws

Speed limits

  • Built up areas: 31mph or 50km/h
  • Outside built up areas: 62mph or 100km/h
  • Dual carriageways and motorways: 80mph or 130km/h
  • There is a minimum speed limit of 37mph or 60km/h on motorways.
  • When visibility is less than 50m, the maximum speed limit is 31 mph or 50km/h
Driving in Germany - speed limits

Essential items

  • GB sticker, unless the registration plates have the GB logo on them
  • Registration and insurance documents
  • Headlight converters
  • Motorcyclists must wear a crash helmet and use dipped headlights at all times
  • All drivers in Germany must have 3rd party insurance or above
Driving in Germany - essential items, motorcycle

Additional information

  • For a guide to German road signs, download our PDF
  • At crossroads and junctions, traffic coming from the right has priority
  • All road users must give way to fire engines, ambulances and police vehicles which have blue flashing lights, irrespective of whether there is an audible warning signal or not
  • Traffic in a roundabout has right of way, except when signs indicate otherwise. Drivers must not indicate as they enter a roundabout; they must, however, use their indicators before leaving the roundabout
Driving in Germany - additional information

Parking information

  • A vehicle is considered parked if it remains in the same place for more than 3 minutes
  • Parking is prohibited within 5m of public crossings, 10m of traffic lights and 15m of a public transport station
  • Parking is only allowed on the right, except in one way streets
  • Parking is prohibited facing oncoming traffic
Driving in Germany - parking info

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