Information about Car Rental and Driving in Germany
Driving Overview | Tips for Driving | Driving Laws | Germany Map
Germany was the first country in the world to develop a national system of superhighways, and for many years Germany's Autobahn system was a model for other nations. After unification, Autobahns in the eastern part of the country were significantly upgraded. Today Germany has nearly 6,000mi/9660km of Autobahns and an extremely well developed network of lesser highways. This makes driving a rental car in Germany exceptionally easy and pleasant, and the German network is interconnected with networks in neighboring countries. Germany is about 500mi/805km long (from north to south) and 400mi/644km wide in its longest dimensions.
Speed limits in Germany are as follows: City 31mph/50kph, Open Roads 62mph/100kph and on the highways 81mph/130kph is recommended but most autobahns have no speed limit. It is particularly important to obey the speed limits when piloting your rental car through the city of Munich, downtown Berlin or along Frankfurt's roadways as there is typically congestion in and around these large urban centers.
Rules of the Road
Traffic travels on the right and streetcars do not have the right of way. They should be passed on the right on a two way street and on either side on a one-way street. Avoid the far left lane on the autobahn as speeds can often exceed 100mph/161kph.
Most gas stations are open from 8am to 8pm. There are stations open 24 hours in some major cities and on the autobahn.
There are no toll highways in Germany.
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.
Tips for Driving Your Rental Car in Germany
Germany is one of the most culturally rich and diverse countries in
Western Europe, and a perfect destination for the adventurous at heart -
eager to explore a mix of must-see tourist hotspots and the less
traveled hidden vistas. Rather than vacation within the confines of a
tour bus on a set schedule, cruise through Germany, fueled by curiosity
and wonder, as you navigate through city streets in Munich or lush
forested mountains bordering Austria.
- Stay in the Right Lane when Possible
It's safe to assume that if you've heard of Germany, you've also heard of the famed Autobahn highway system that connects nearly every German destination. The majority of the Autobahn has only "advised" speed limits, a prospect which can be as terrifying as it is exciting. It is recommended that, when driving through the unrestricted speed zones of the Autobahn, you stay in the right lane, as the left lanes are used for passing only.
- Use your Blinkers
German drivers don't slouch when it comes to using turn-signals, and nor should you, especially when driving on speed limit-less expressways, where a turn signal can prevent a collision with other vehicles changing lanes. When changing lanes yourself, remember in Germany, like the rest of Europe, passing on the right is illegal and frowned upon.
- Expect less Space when Passing
Due to more stringent driver's license testing standards in Germany, it is common for locals to drive much more aggressively than visitors from the United States are accustomed to. Because of this, the amount of space between cars can become uncomfortably slim when passing others or when being passed yourself. By knowing this before you start your trip you'll be able to keep your cool - this is normal when driving in Germany.
- Stay off your Cell Phone
Use of handheld cellular devices is strictly prohibited while driving in Germany, and if caught you may face steep fines. Hands-free devices are permitted, but it is still recommended to avoid the distractions of cellular devices unless completely necessary.
- Wear a Seat Belt at all Times
Seatbelts save lives, and that's a fact, so remember to buckle-up before hitting the road. Much like the rest of the western world, wearing a seatbelt while driving in Germany is mandatory, and violators will be fined a minimum of €30 EUR, per un-belted passenger.
Germany Driving Laws
When driving in Germany,
understanding the traffic laws is of the utmost importance, and will
help you enjoy a more care-free travel experience. Below you will find
all the pertinent information regarding Germany's driving rules and regulations, and how to avoid tickets and fines.
- Children under 12 years of age or under 5 feet tall, must be seated in the back.
- Booster seats are required for children riding in the back seat up to age 12, although height/weight restrictions do apply in specific cases and vary from supplier to supplier.
- Vehicles must not be parked opposite the flow of traffic, parking fines of approx. €35 EUR will apply for illegally parked vehicles.
- Running a red light, or stop sign, can result in fines ranging from €90 EUR to €360 EUR.
- In Germany there are suggested speed limits and mandatory speed limits, depending on what stretch of road you are traveling on. This is especially important to note when driving the Autobahn in Germany. Suggested speed limits are contained within blue square signs; where as mandatory speed limits are contained within red circular signs.
- Insurance and other related documents must be kept in the vehicle at all times.
- In the unfortunate event that you do receive a traffic ticket in Germany, get in contact with the car rental supplier as soon as possible and arrange a payment method. Many travelers have reported a steady flow of letters with increased fines if the tickets are left unpaid for extended periods of time. In most situations the rental supplier will auto-deduct the ticket amount from the credit card on file, as well as an "administration fee."
Whether you want to discover the German arts (some of the world's greatest composers have hailed from Germany, as well as literary greats) or have come to experience the out-of-this world beer, Auto Europe's Germany map will make it easier to explore the country to your heart's content. Germany is Europe's second most populated country, making it a popular destination for travelers from around the world and a great place to visit in Europe any time of year. Because of its large size, it can be a challenge for travelers to find their way from one destination to the next, but with our Germany map, you have exactly what you need to make your trip to Germany go smoothly. We have been helping travelers make German vacations special for more than 60 years - trust Auto Europe to point you in the right direction with these useful maps of Germany.