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.
Germany Driving Laws: Minimum Age and Rules Pertaining to Children
The minimum driving age in Germany is 18, but drivers aged 24 and younger will face a daily "young driver surcharge." Many suppliers have more stringent rental car age requirements, with the minimum age being 21, so be sure to check with your reservations agent before booking a car rental in Germany for a young driver.
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.
Driving Insurance and Other Safety Rules
Insurance and other rental documents must be kept in the vehicle at all times.
Driving with insurance is mandatory in Germany, although insurance can be covered when you pay with most major credit cards, or purchased in addition to your rental, when you book with Auto Europe.
Fluorescent vests, road triangles, and flares must be carried in the vehicle, to be used in the event of car-trouble. All rental car suppliers provide these safety items at no additional cost.
When driving in Germany, seat belts are required by law. Failure to securely fasten your seat belt can result in fines starting at €30 EUR, per un-belted passenger.
Talking or texting while operating a motor vehicle is strictly prohibited in Germany, and violators will be subject to steep fines.
Avoid passing other drivers in the right hand lane, as it is also prohibited anywhere in Germany.
Like the United States, driving under the influence is not tolerated in Germany. The Legal BAC in Germany is 0.05%, but if caught in an accident the legal BAC is reduced to 0.03%. In addition to fines upwards of €3,000 EUR, exceeding the legal limit can lead to your license being revoked and potential jail time. Don't risk it.
Other Germany Driving Rules
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 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."
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.