The wearing of front and rear seatbelts is compulsory when fitted.
Children under 12 or 1.5 metres tall are not allowed to travel unless using an appropriate seat restraint or booster cushion.
Drink Driving Limits
50mg/100ml (UK 80mg/100ml)
Minimum Driving Age
The minimum driving age using a full UK licence is 17
Urban kph (mph)
Open Road kph (mph)
Motorway kph (mph)
Although the autobahns in Germany are not subject to an overall speed limit (the blue speed limit signs, usually showing 130, are suggested maximum speeds), many stretches of autobahn are covered by signed speed limits, which are mostly closely observed by the Germans.
Radar traps are frequent and heavy on-the-spot fines can be levied.
Dipped headlights must be used in poor daytime visibility. Motorcycles must use dipped headlights during the day at all times.
Fog lights are required for driving at night and day with fog and mist, strong rain or snow. With a visual range of less than 50m through fog, rain or snow, fog lights have to be switched on and a speed limit of 50kph applies to all vehicles.
All grades of unleaded petrol, diesel and LPG are available as well as lead substitute additive. Leaded no longer exists. It is allowed to carry petrol in a can. Credit and debit cards are widely accepted, although they probably won't work at automatic pumps, which are often the only pumps open out-of-hours.
There are no tolls on German Autobahns.
Parking is not allowed up to 5m in front of/behind a crossing, up to 10m in front of traffic lights, up to 15m in front of/behind stop signs and exits.
Parking is allowed only on the right side of the road except on one-way streets where both sides are valid. Parking spaces with meters are usually free of charge at night.
On-the-spot fines are issued. Just about every possible driving offence can be subject to a fine, even running out of fuel on the Autobahn! Ensure an official receipt is issued by the officer collecting the fine.
The use of hand-held phones by a driver is prohibited generally but is allowed with the vehicle stationary and the engine switched off. Fines for using a hand-held unit whilst driving are €30. The use of hands-free phones is allowed.
Dial 112 anywhere in the EU to reach the emergency services.
On the German Motorways Road Patrol Assistance can be called free of charge from the emergency telephones. The breakdown services can also be contacted directly:
Other Useful Information
More and more towns are adopting the ‘priorité à droite’ (priority to traffic coming from the right). If there is no yellow diamond at a road junction, you MUST give way to traffic from the right, even if you are on the major road. As it used to do in France years ago this is causing accidents, especially in the rain. It is used as a way to slow traffic down in built up areas.
Buses leaving stops have priority.
Priority has to be given to pedestrians.
You are permitted to overtake trams on either side on one-way streets; but if you encounter a tram on a two-way street, it must be overtaken on the right. You must avoid overtaking trams when their occupants are either climbing aboard or alighting.
Do not overtake school buses when they are at a stand-still and have their red lights flashing.
In case of a road accident the police must always be called regardless if injuries have occurred or not.
In the event of a breakdown the warning hazard lights should be switched on and a warning triangle has to be positioned at a sufficient distance (on a motorway about 150m) behind the vehicle.
Useful Words and Phrases
Four Lane Motorway
Turn On Headlights
Note 1: UK registered vehicles displaying Euro-plates (circle of 12 stars above the national identifier on blue background) no longer need a GB sticker when driving in European Union countries. Countries outside the EU still require national identification.
Note 2: Regardless of local requirements it is always a wise precaution to carry a spare set of vehicle bulbs and adjust headlamp beams for driving on the right. A spare bulb kit will not prevent a fine if you are travelling with faulty lights, but it may avoid the cost and inconvenience of a garage call out. On some cars it is inadvisable or impossible for anyone other than a qualified technician to change a headlamp bulb or lamp unit e.g. high intensity discharge (HID) headlamps and carrying spare bulbs is not an option. However, it is recommended that spare bulbs are carried for any lights which may be easily and/or safely replaced by the owner/driver. Do not forget to ensure that you also carry any tools that might be required to change the various bulbs.
Disclaimer EUroadlegal has made every effort to ensure that the information contained on this page is accurate and up-to-date. In most instances the information has been collated from either an official document from the country concerned or from two or more reliable sources. EUroadlegal cannot be held responsible for any actions resulting from the adherence to or ignoring of the information contained on this page. If you would like to contribute by adding, removing or modifying the data on this page based on your own experience, please us.