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Driving in Germany

Driving in GermanyLike many tourists who wish to visit and tour the different areas of Germany, you may wish to hire a car and explore the country independently. However it is advisable that you understand the driving rules in Germany which differ from the UK.Though you may be fluent in UK driving, from the Highway Code to RAC breakdown cover, it’s worth remembering that you’re going into a completely different nation where laws and regulations will be different to what you’re familiar with.

Requirements

  • ¬≠You need a valid driving licence to hire a car. If you are a citizen of a European Union, your driving license is valid. You will also need an official German translation.
  • Official ID such as your passport.
  • You must be 18 years old to drive (and some rental companies may require you to be older than this) alongside having your license for between 1-3 years, again, depending on the rental company.
  • Seatbelts are required from all passengers and drivers in both the front and back of the car. Also booster and baby seats are mandatory for children under 12 years old.
  • German law insists that all cars should be equipped with a triangular caution sign (which you place for oncoming traffic to see when you are broken down) and a first aid kit.

Speed Limits

  • 50 km/h in the City
  • 100 km/h on Open Roads
  • 130 km/h on the Highways (this is a recommended maximum speed limit as most autobahns do not have an actual limit).

Safety on the Autobahns

Due to the excessive speeds that can take place on the Autobahns, always be very aware and never go above the 130 km/h recommended speed. Also never enter the far left lane on the autobahn as the traffic here can reach speeds on 161 km/h which can be very dangerous and potentially harmful.

Fines and Penalties

When driving within an area with a speed limit, the law is very strict and must be adhered to. Automatic cameras are used extensively along these roads. If you receive a fine, this will be posted to the rental company of which you are expected to pay.

You can also get fines by going through a red light or passing on the right, using abusive language, exceeding speed limits, making derogatory signs and running out of petrol on the motorway. All these can be on-the-spot fines or require a deposit; if you refuse to pay, your vehicle may be confiscated.

If you are caught drink driving, you will lose your license immediately for one month if you are caught above the 80 mg level. On the second and third time, you will lose your license for three months at a time. Alongside the revoking of your license, you will also get points on your license, ranging from one to four depending on the severity of the case. Even with a small amount of alcohol in your blood stream, you can receive a fine of 250 euros.

Remember:

Drivers must give way to the right (give way to vehicles and cyclists coming from the right) except on streets marked as priority roads.