INFOYER I German Wiki - Driving in Germany

In Germany there are many highways without speed limits. If you traveling by car in Germany, you must be observed many traffic rules and regulations. Statistically, every second German is in possession of a car. Unfortunately, many cars produce pollutants and these pollute our environment. To protect the environment, the so-called Low Emission Zone with environmental badge in big cities and metropolitan areas was introduced several years ago. But driving a car in Germany is not burdensome for the environment, it is also very costly. When you buying a car, the car must be registered at the Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV). It may also incur charges for the rewriting of the vehicle Briefs and vehicle registration certificate.

Many German traffic laws may differ from those in your home country, therefore it is important to become familiar with the basic rules.

Below we explain some rules:

One major difference exist between the rule: the right of way. Unless otherwise indicated, have vehicles at an intersection, coming from the right of way. Also note that pedestrians have right of way, as soon as they cross a crosswalk. Likewise, they must always pay attention to the cyclists. In Germany, although there are bike paths, but you overlook cyclists very quickly if you turns to the right.
In Germany, there are also rules concerned parking of cars. Unfortunately cars can not be parked anywhere. Parking is allowed in the rule along the roads, unless a traffic sign has the opposite on. In many cities in Germany, there are parking zones. In these parking zones you have to either solve a parking ticket or you can apply as a resident a resident parking permit.

Germany is also known for its congestion (traffic jams), which you should avoid. In your car radio you can switch on the automatic traffic reporting service. Many navigation systems show you around traffic jams and alternative routes.

In Germany there are various road signs to regulate traffic.

For more informations about traffic signs,please click here.

Driving in Germany: Useful informations

  • Speed limits
    • In built-up areas
      • 50 km/h
      • in certain areas of the city just 30 kilometers per hour are allowed
    • Country road
      • 100 km/h
    • Highway
      • Average speed 130 km/h
      • Especially on busy or dangerous sections of highway are special speed limits
  • If you drive a car in Germany, you must always have your driver's license and the vehicle registration for your car, because these are reviewed in roadside by the police
  • Parking
    • For people with disabilities, there are often specially designated parking spaces. There are in an extremely central location in the parking lots. 
    • Also women find often in parking garages and underground garages special parking. These are monitored by cameras generally, thereby increasing safety.
  • Alcohol limit (alcohol consumption)
    • 0.05 %
    • It should be noted that even the smallest amount of drinking affects the driving ability.
  • Children
    • Until the age of 12 and up to a size of 1.50 m, you must ensure an appropriate child seat / booster seat for your child(ren).
  • Driver Age
    • 18 years
  • Obligatory wearing of seat belts
    • front and back
  • Motorcycles
    • Helmets are mandatory for drivers and passengers.
  • Registration
    • All cars in Germany must be registered. The registration can be done at the next registration office. You need your vehicle registration certificate (proof that the car belongs to you) and the Police of your auto insurance. If you bring your car from abroad, check with the admissions office, which documents they need beyond.
  • General Inspection
    • In addition to the registration each car in Germany must do a so-called main investigation. This means that a skilled person must have confirmed that your car is technically safe and comply with the official emissions standards. You get an inspection tag, which were fix on the license plate of your car. The main investigation you can make with different providers such as at an authorized workshop near you. It must be repeated at regular intervals. Both the main study as well as the registration of your car will cost fees.
  • Low Emission zone
    • Please note that in many cities in Germany environmental zones are established in order to reduce air pollution caused by particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide. To drive in the environmental zone you need an adequate environmental badge. This can be obtained for a fee from the regulatory authorities, and other recognized bodies.

Driving in Germany: German Driving License – Rewriting a foreign license

If you possess a driver's license from a country of the European Union, it must not be rewritten and it retains its validity for Germany.

It is different if you own a driving license from a country outside the European Union. The driving license reserves validity for a maximum of 6 months in Germany. This time applies from the beginning of your arrive in Germany. If you are planning to intend for more than 6 months but less than a year to live in Germany, it gives the opportunity to apply an extension for another 6 months for your existing license (Non-EU).

In Germany, foreign driving licenses are different recognized for re-register. This requires distinguishing three groups of exhibition States of foreign driving licenses:

  1. Driving licenses from EU / EEA Member States 
    • Rewriting is not necessary for residence in Germany. The validity of driving licenses remains.
  2. Driving licenses from States in accordance with Annex 11 of driving license regulation ('List States')
    • Rewriting is necessary. Below you will find those States listed whose licenses are recognized in Germany to re-register.
  3. Driving licenses from other states ('third countries')
    • Rewriting is necessary. Although driving licenses from all other countries can principle be rewritten in Germany, but in contrast to those from 'List States' it is necessary to do a theoretical and practical examination at a driving school. The owner is in principle exempt from driver training, but this is advisable in most cases to increase the chances of success.
The written exam includes themes like traffic rules and road signs. The written exam could be performed in several languages. When choosing a driving school, inform in advance what languages are offered. The test is not easy and it is important to learn it. You can buy a textbook named „Learning to drive B“. This is for many a great help. The book cost about 50 €. You can buy the book online or directly at the driving school.