Foreign visitors who will not be establishing residency in Germany are permitted to use their domestic driving permits confirmed by their International driver licenses for as long as they are in Germany. If a foreign visitor will be establishing residency in Germany, he is permitted to drive with his original driver license for six months from the date when permanent residency is established; as a rule in practice, it is generally assumed to be the date of entering the country.

General German road traffic rules:

  • The minimum driving age in Germany is 18 years.
  • Traffic drives on the right side of the road and passes is on the left side.
  • Drivers and all passengers must wear seatbelts.
  • Children under 3 years may not be transported in a car without child seat. Children younger than 12 years or shorter than 1.5 meters may not be ridden in the front seat unless they are in an approved child safety seat. If an active airbag is in a front seat, child safety seat may not be used.
  • The third-party liability insurance is obligatory.
  • Vehicles must carry a warning triangle and a super-duper highway first aid kit.
  • Registration or rental papers are mandatory at all times while driving.
  • Traffic on public highways has priority over private drives, forest and farm paths, and dirt roads.
  • If two public roads cross at an uncontrolled intersection, then right-of-way is always given to traffic approaching from the right.
  • Emergency vehicles with a flashing blue light and siren sounding always have the right-of-way.
  • Buses leaving marked bus stops have the right-of-way.
  • The speed limits are: within urban areas – 50 km/h; outside urban areas – 60-100 km/h; on autobahns and expressways – 80-130 km/h.
  • When a bus is stopped at a bus stop with its hazard lights flashing, traffic in both directions may only overtake at a speed no more than 7 km/h.
  • Overtaking is not permitted at pedestrian crosswalks; on the approach to a railway crossing; when there is a solid white line on your side of the road. When passing, it is not permitted to exceed the speed limit.
  • Legal blood-alcohol level is 0.03%.
  • It is not permitted to park vehicles: within 5 meters on either side of an intersection; within 15 meters on either side of a bus or tram stop; within 5 meters on either side of a Railway crossing inside an urban area; on a marked bike lane.
  • It is required to be at least 3 meters between parked vehicle and the middle of the street or the nearest lane’s line.
  • It is not permitted to stand: on narrow roads; on and within 5 meters approaching a pedestrian crosswalk; on railway crossings in adjacent to turn lanes; within a roundabout; within 10 meters in front of Stop and Yield signs; on the Autobahn; at a taxi stand marked with a Taxi stand sign.
  • Right turns on red is permitted at intersections with the green arrow sign.

Traffic laws for driving on the German Autobahn:

  • Bicycles, mopeds, pedestrians, and vehicles with a maximum speed less than 60 km/h (36 mph) may not to drive on the Autobahn.
  • Passing on the right is strictly prohibited! Slower vehicles must move on the right side of the road.
  • Stopping, parking, U-turns, and backing-up are strictly prohibited, including on shoulders and ramps except for emergencies.
  • Entering and exiting is permitted only at marked interchanges.
  • Vehicles entering the Autobahn must yield to traffic already on the Autobahn.
  • On Autobahn sections with three lanes, lorries over 3.5 tones and vehicles with a trailers may not use the far left lane.
  • In a case of a breakdown or accident, if possible, a vehicle must be moved to the shoulder and warning triangle be placed 200 meters behind the vehicle.  
  • It is illegal to run out of fuel on the Autobahn.

In Germany, a vehicle is considered "parked" if a driver leaves this vehicle or a car stands for longer than 3 minutes. Parking on the street is the most common in Germany.  On-street parking is usually permitted everywhere unless specifically prohibited by a sign or general regulation. The parking sign indicates where parking is permitted. As a rule, additional signs indicate when parking is permitted, who is permitted to park, and what is required: a parking permit, voucher, or disc.

Germany Road Traffic Signs

Germany Road Traffic Marking

 Driving Overseas - Short Information