Traffic rules in Germany

Speed limits, traffic and safety rules, alcohol and drugs, fines, accident, tolls, fuel, parking or car rental - everything you need to know.

Update : Nov 2018

Papers

It is compulsory to carry your driver’s license, your car registration papers and your insurance documents at all times when driving a car. European international driver’s licenses are accepted.

The minimum age for driving is 18 years.

Speed limits and controls

If there are no other signs along the road indicating the speed limit, your speed is limited to

  • 50 km/h in built -up areas
  • 100 km/h for cars (without trailers) outside built up areas
  • 130 km/h on the motorways (Richtgeschwindigkeit  – recommended speed)
  • 80 km/h for cars with trailers (including caravans) on any road including motorways

Radar traffic detectors:

In Germany, there are fixed radar traffic detectors all over the country. Sometimes you will see this sign, warning you about the presence of radar control:

Verkehrsschild mit Hinweis auf Radarkontrolle

There are also mobile radar speed checks.

If you exceed the speed limit by 20 km/h or less, you may be fined from 10 to 35 EUR. Above that, the fines increase significantly and you will also receive points against your license in the German car registry.

Fines amounting to 70 EUR imposed in Germany can be executed in other EU-countries. Read more

Traffic rules and Safety

  • Vehicles from other countries which do not have a European registration plate incorporating the country code are required to display a sticker showing their country of origin.
  • A reflective vest, a warning triangle and a first aid box are mandatory for all cars.
  • Not wearing a seat belt carries a fine of 30 €.
  • Children must be at least 12 years old or 150 cm tall to sit in the front seat and/or use a regular seatbelt. Children under the age of 12 or 150 cm, must use an approved child seat. Otherwise, you may be fined up to 70 €.
  • The tyres must have a minimum tread depth of 1,6 mm. Otherwise a fine of 60 € may be imposed.
  • Winter tyres are compulsory in winter weather conditions. All season tyres are also acceptable. The fine for not conforming to this rule is at least 60 €.
  • While driving, mobile phones may only be used in conjunction with a hands free system. ( 60 € fine) . Cyclists can also be fined for using their mobile phones while cycling.
  • Priority is always given to traffic coming from the right unless there is a road sign indicating that you have priority.
  • Motorcyclists must switch on their headlights even in daylight.
  • Motorcyclists must wear helmets.

Alcohol and drugs

Germany has strict rules on drinking and driving. The blood alcohol limit is 0,5 per mill. If your level of alcohol is over the limit, you will be charged with a fine of at least 500 €.

However, if you behave in an unusual manner, you can be fined with a blood alcohol limit of 0,3 per mill or higher.

Beginners beware! For drivers who have had their license for less than 2 years or are under the age of 21, the blood alcohol limit is 0,0 %. The minimum fine is 250 €.

Driving under the influence of drugs is forbidden and choosing to do so will expose you to penalties. The smallest trace of illegal drugs can result in punishment. The police have the authority to order a drug test if they suspect drug abuse.

Toll Roads?

As it stands, there is currently no extra charge for passenger cars on any road.

Trucks with more than twelve tons gross vehicle weight have to pay a toll for the use of the motorways and some highways. 

Petrol/Fuel

The fuel is more expensive along the autobahn than on other roads. Especially free gas stations which do not always accept credit cards.

German English French
Bleifreies Benzin Unleaded gazoline Sans Plomb
Super oder Super Plus 95 or 98 95 or 98
E 10 95 95
Diesel Diesel fuel gazolle
LPG LPG GPL

Parking in Germany

  • The fine for parking without a parking ticket in public space is 10 €. Private parking companies may charge higher rates.
  • If a car is blocking access for the fire service or is illegally using a place reserved for disabled people, the car is usually towed away. The costs for this can be significant.


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