Germany Driving Guide 2021
Germany is a unique beautiful country. Explore all of it by driving when you get your International Driving Permit.
Germany is one of the top places with top-notch tourist attractions that is a must-visit when traveling around Europe. This country offers a variety of distinct experiences to meet all kinds of expectations and suit all possible tastes. Whatever you are looking for: a great architecture, a scenic view, glamorous events, exciting nightlife, amazing, and delicious cuisine and the best beer ever – Germany has it all.
The best way to tour comfortably and enjoyably around Germany is to have your source of transportation. But first, you have to have an International Driver’s Permit (IDP) to rent a car. Explore and read about it below to find out more about the country, the do’s and don’ts when driving in Germany, the requirements for renting a car, and also the top iconic tourist destinations you can enjoy while experiencing Germany.
Germany has always been the heart of Europe. There is so much to enjoy during a trip to this country from the unique culture shaped from historical influences, amazing cuisine, and architecture. Thus, making it a country that is a must-visit for tourists exploring Europe.
Current Border Updates and Status
The current pandemic has baffled tourism in every country as of 2020. The economy has gone down, businesses getting shut from temporarily to permanently—and it made everyone hopeless. Although despite the rising cases in Europe as of November 2020, Germany has undergone a lockdown and new rules and restrictions to slow down the spread of the virus.
Regardless, Germany still has its borders open to the following:
- EU Member States
- United Kingdom
- Selected Third Countries
- And Others Traveling for Essential Purposes
If you want to stay in the loop about the Travel Restrictions in Germany, check IDA’s Travel Restrictions page.
Requirements to Enter Germatop-notch
Travel to Germany is only slightly stricter than the usual as compared to the other countries. It still needs the basic requirement such as a visa for those who want to travel or enter the country. If you are an EU national, you are not required to provide a visa. Moreover, those states that do not require a visa are not allowed to stay in the federal territory within 90 days per year.
They are also not allowed to get employed within this period.
Special Visa Requirements
Unlike other countries that have started issuing special visas for incoming tourists or travelers, Germany still imposes the same visa requirements. Therefore, there are no special visas or requirements that are introduced.
Current Quarantine Regulations
As per response to COVID, quarantine protocols are strictly enforced for the safety of those living within Germany. If you are coming from a risk area for the last 14 days, you need to do the following:
- Proceed directly to your destination
- Self-isolate until a negative test result is provided to show unto authorities
- Email or phone competent authorities
General Information About Germany
Where Is Germany Located?
Germany is in Western and Central Europe. It borders the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, and France on the west; Switzerland and Austria on the south; the Czech Republic and Poland on the east; Denmark on the north; and the Baltic Sea on the northeast. It is a country with a landscape of forests, rivers, mountain ranges, and North Sea beaches. Germany's location at the heart of Europe has shaped its history both for good and bad.
What Are The Languages They Speak?
German is the official language of Germany, with mohe people speaking it as their first language. Other languages spoken by the Germans are Sorbian and North Frisian, Danish, Romani, Turkish and Kurdish. English is also widely spoken in the country, having 56% of the country’s population speaking the language. With, this, you won’t have to worry about the language barrier when you visit this country since most Germans know how to speak the English language.
What Is Their Land Area?
Germany is the seventh largest country in Europe. It covers an overall area of 349,360 square kilometers (data retrieved as of 2018) with a population of over 83 million. Most of Germany’s lands are used for Agriculture.
Agriculture remains the biggest land user in the country with over 52 percent of the land area. With that, Germany is also a leading producer of food and agricultural products. Europe's second largest aseventh-largestucer is behind France, with agricultural production amounting to 53.1 billion EUR in 2017. Furthermore, it is not just tourist attractions that Germany can offer but also good quality products. Since Germany has a lot to offer, it is best to plan ahead your tour and make the best out of your time in the country.
What Is Their History?
Being Europe’s largest ,economy, Germany played a big role in the continent’s economic, political, and defense organizations. After Adolf Hitler losignificantin WWII, the emergence of Cold War has paved the way for two German states to be formed in 1949, namely the western Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) and the eastern German Democratic Republic (GDR). As France was heavily defeated in the Franco-Prussian War and Napoleon III being overthrown by the french rebellion, the events caused southern German states to support Prussia and somehow brought about the reunification of Germany.
The reunification brought problems, especially in Germany’s economy. Some due to the European economy’s structural problems, others to the costs and consequences of unification itself. Despite the past problems, Germany is now one of the most visited countries due to its rich culture and aesthetic tourist attractions.
What Is Their Government?
Germany practices the federal system. It is made up of 16 states. Each of these states has its own parliament and state leader, known as a Minister-President (the city-states of Berlin, Hamburg, and Bremen have mayors). Every state has its police force, health, and education system. This is due to the fact that Germany grew out of the highly decentralized roman-German Empire, in which small fiefdoms had their councils and could even coin their own money.
What Are Some Tourism and Population Facts About Germany That Every Tourist Must Know?
In 2020, Germany has an estimated population of 83,78,3,942 people, and that is 1.07% of the world’s total population, according to the United Nations (UN) data. Known for its scenic tourist attractions and its delicious cuisine, about 39.6 million people visited the country in 2019 only. With its culture, natural beauty, historic sites and small towns, riches of forests and mountains, this country does not disappoint.
Why Should You Visit Germany?
With over 2,100 castles, 1,500 flavors of beer, and a variety of tourist attractions, one should not miss out on a trip to Germany. The combination of old-world charm and modern urban cities makes it an ideal destination for travelers. With a wide array of food, accommodations, and drink options, Germany is traditionally less expensive to travel than its other European counterparts.
International Driver’s Permit in Germany
International Driver’s Permit or IDP is a translation of the domestic license that allows the owner to drive or rent a motor vehicle in Germany. An IDP is significant to ensure your safety and avoid getting in trouble when all you want to do is enjoy and get the most out of touring Germany. Other important information found below is for you to know about using an IDP in Germany.
Is a Local Driver’s License Valid in Germany?
Driving with a local driver’s license is valid in Germany for six months as long as it is not expired. If it is issued by a country outside the European Union or EA/ European Economic Area or EEA and you wish to stay in Germany for more than six months, you have to obtain a German driving license. You also have to bring your IDP together with your local driver’s license and other must requirements when driving in Germany for you to avoid getting in trouble with the authorities.
Does an IDP Replace a Native Driver’s License?
An IDP serves as your ticket to exploring the roads of over 150 countries including Germany. But it does not replace your native driver’s license. It is just a translation to 12 of the UN recognized languages of your local driver’s license that you can use when driving in the foreign countries.
Who Can Apply for an IDP?
Anyone who has a local driver’s license and is 18 years old and above can apply for an IDP wherever you are across the globe. Applying for an IDP will not be stressed as it is very easy and less hassle. You just need to apply online and submit a valid copy of your current driver's license and a passport size image of yourself.
When Can I Apply for an IDP?
Anytime! You can apply for your IDP whenever you want to. After the submission of your application has been received, it will take 2 hours for it to be reviewed and approved then you will be emailed the digital copy of your IDP. Usually it takes 7-15 days to receive your physical license if you are US-based and 30 days internationally.
Do I Need an IDP to Drive in Germany?
An International Driver’s Permit is not necessarily required while driving in Germany when your local driver’s license is in English language. Most rental car agencies only want to see your US or Canadian driver’s license. But it is highly advisable to get one so as to avoid misunderstandings and miscommunications that will hinder your trip in Germany. If you plan to drive outside of Germany, you may need to obtain an IDP that is valid for over 150 countries.
Who Needs an IDP?
If you intend on driving your own car or renting a car in a foreign country, you must obtain an IDP. Even if it is not required to get an International Driver’s Permit in Germany, it is highly advised to get one so as to avoid possible road troubles of German authorities do ask for one.. Furthermore, if you plan to stay and drive in Germany for more than six months, you have to secure a German license for authorities to acknowledge that you are good to drive in the country.
When Will I Use IDP?
You have to always bring your IDP for as long as you are driving in Germany. There is always the possibility of authorities conducting checkpoints in roads and will somehow look for your local driver’s license as well as your IDP and other required documents when driving. You have to always check your license’s validity to avoid getting fined by the local authorities of Germany.
Follow the rules and regulations while driving in Germany. What usually happens, in case you presumably did something wrong on German roads, is that you will receive an official letter explaining your wrongdoing, setting the fine and requesting whatever needs to be done. The best recommendation is just to accept them to note down your data since you will not succeed in that tense situation to convince the officer.
How Long Is an IDP Valid?
An IDP issued by the International Driver’s Association has validation of 1 upto 3 years. It depends on how long you want it to be valid in your application. The longer the validity, the higher it costs. You can also always renew your IDP once it expires by doing the same steps as your first application.
Where do I Get an International Driver’s License/Permit in Germany?
You can get an International Driver’s Permit/License wherever you are. Even in Germany. Just access the International Driver’s Association website which is internationaldriversassociation.com. Once you have submitted your application, the IDP team will review it and if it’s approved, the digital copy will be emailed to you in 2 hours. Since IDP does international shipping, you can avail yours even if you're already in Germany or not. Plain and simple!
What Do I Do When I Lose My IDP?
The International Driver’s Association offers a free replacement of your IDP from them. You just have to provide the specific requirements needed for it to be replaced such as your IDP number and name. You will only pay for the shipping cost of your physical copy of an IDP if you ask for a replacement.
Can I Use My Digital Copy if I Lost the Physical Copy of My IDP?
No, the authorities in Germany do not acknowledge digital copies of your IDP. Once you lose it, you have to quickly apply for its replacement to continue driving on German roads. The International Driver’s Association processes for a replacement within 24 hours after your application and ships the physical copy instantly.
When I Visit Another Foreign Country After Germany, Is My IDP Still Valid?
Yes, as long as it has not reached its validity date, it is still valid and is acknowledged by authorities. You can drive and enjoy other countries as long as you have your IDP and your local driver’s license as well. An IDP issued by the International Driver’s Association is valid in over 150 countries thus obtaining it is not a waste of your money.
Renting a Car in Germany
Have you ever imagined exploring Germany in your own comfort? Like driving along the German roads and witnessing the picturesque view that comes along with it? But the question is, do you have a car already? If not, then here are some useful information for you on renting a car in Germany.
Where to Rent a Car?
Visiting Germany would be less hassle and more enjoyable if you have your own source of transportation. Most tourists opt to rent a car for their own convenience and comfort during their trip. You can find a lot of car rental companies online such as Europcar. They have this loyalty program with customers who rent regularly with them that attracts tourists to rent with them.
Another car rental company is Sixt. One of the best rental companies that offers vehicles with an average of 3 months old. They offer many optional products that will provide benefits for different types of situations you might encounter. It is very easy to rent a car in Germany and as long as you are qualified and you have the requirements needed.
What Documents Are Needed to Rent a Car?
The important documents you need to rent a car in Germany is your local driver’s license and your government-issued document such as your passport. Though it is not necessary for you to have an International Driver’s Permit while driving in Germany today, it is highly advised to obtain one because some of the car rental companies might look for it when you are about to rent a car. It can come in handy as a complement to your local driver’s license and your passport.
What Vehicle Types Can You Rent?
Different rental companies offer different vehicles for rent that you can choose to assure you to get the most out of your trip to Germany. You have the usual choices of a diesel or gas model, plus various sizes (compact, medium, SUV, etc.) and models. Automatics are more expensive and may only be available if you choose to rent a bigger and pricier car.
It is advised to rent the smallest and least-expensive manual “stick-shift” transmission of a car not just to save money but because smaller cars are easy to handle in Germany’s narrow, winding roads. If more than two adults are traveling, it can be worth it to move up to a larger class of car. Passengers can travel in comfort without having to sacrifice luggage space.
What Are the Age Requirements?
Some rental companies require a minimum age of 18 for you to rent a car from them. Some also would require a minimum age of 21 or even older. Age is just one of the requirements in renting a car, another is having a local driver’s license. There are some rental companies that require Underage Driving Free for all drivers under 21 years old. Violating the age requirement is a criminal offense that can result in an expensive fine.
On What Basis Is the Rental Fee Based on?
Basic rental rates can vary from company to company and country to country. The cheapest car rental fee you will find in one country can be the most expensive one in another country. Basic rates mostly include unlimited mileage, Value-Added Tax (VAT), legally required third party liability insurance and other add-ons. Emergency roadside assistance is usually in the cost of your rental to cover mechanical failure.
Rental companies usually charge extra if you plan to drive in the winter season for the snow tires. Other add-ons such as child seats, GPS, and drop-off and pick-up can influence the rental fee you have to pay. Aside from the rental fee, you also have to consider other driving costs such as fuel, toll, and parking when budgeting for your trip.
Is Insurance Included in the Fee for Renting Cars?
Your biggest potential extra cost when renting a car is insurance. It is very important to rent a car with insurance in Germany. Your rental contract includes third-party liability insurance fees in the rental fee. This means that the rental agency will pay any claims to other parties in case of an accident. However, you are responsible for any damage to or theft of the rental vehicle.
How Can I Get a Budget-Friendly Rental Car Deal?
First things first, you have to set your budget. Before renting a car for your trip, you have to calculate the possible rental fee and extra costs that you have to spend. Then compare prices from different car rental agencies. Comparing different rates can give you an idea of what to choose that will satisfy your estimated budget.
You may also rent a car in airport car-rental locations. However, airports charge rental agencies concession fees to operate on their property, and those costs get passed along to you. It's super convenient to hop off the plane and go right away to the rental car agency, but that convenience comes at a price.
The Road Rules in Germany
It is very important to know and understand the rules and regulations especially the road rules, in a country you are about to visit. Doing so would ease your trip and prevent any troubles with the authorities. Here are some important must know rules while driving in Germany:
What Are the Most Important Rules While Driving in Germany?
Road Rules and Regulations when driving in Germany applies not just to the locals but also to tourists. You must be at least 18 years old to be able to drive in German roads. Carrying required documents when driving is a must. Here are other important rules and reminders to guide you:
Always Bring the Compulsory Equipment When Driving in Germany
In Germany there are a few things that must be kept in cars at all times. These include a first aid kit, and visibility vests in case of breakdown or accident, a warning triangle, beam deflectors and safety helmet if riding a motorcycle.
Don’t Drive Under the Influence
Driving under influence is strictly prohibited. Drink driving restrictions in GErmany allows a maximum level of blood alcohol volume of 0.05%. But there is a zero tolerance rule in effect for drivers who have less than two years experience or are under 21. Violating the restriction can get you a penalty of imprisonment for up to one year or a fine.
Avoid Running the Red Light
Do not run a red light! Red light runners often cause the most severe accidents in the roads. Running a red light would get you fined and your license would be suspended.
Don’t Use Your Phone While Driving
If ever you need to use your phone for an important phone call or other reasons, you may use a hands-free mobile phone when driving if it does not impede your ability to hear traffic sounds. It is illegal to drive while using headphones. The authorities will fine you if you are caught doing this restriction.
Refrain From Overtaking on the Right
Overtaking on the right is only permissible in stationary traffic. Unsafe passing for existing traffic conditions; passing in violation of road signs, outside lane markings with endangerment will get you a €250 fine and a license suspension.
Don Not Leave if There is An Accident
If ever you are involved in an accident, do not leave the scene. It is illegal for you to leave without getting help or offering assistance. If it's just your car in the accident, you must wait there for at least 30 minutes. Any driver involved in an accident must stop, secure the scene of the accident and call the police.
Always Drive on the Right Side of the Road
Some countries drive on the right or left side of the road. While driving in Germany, you have to be on the right side. Violating this may not just cause you a hefty fee but also possible severe accidents on the road.
What Are the General Standards of Driving?
Germany is very strict when it comes to their road rules. It is very important to observe general standards of driving to ease your trip and prevent troubles to come in your way. Here are some reminders to take note when driving in Germany:
You must be capable of driving safely. Don’t use an unregistered vehicle. Your car must be fully-functioning and must be in good condition before hitting the road. Check if the brakes and horns are functional. Ensure that your mirrors, number plate, car lights, side windows are clean. Checking it up will avoid possible accidents tour trip.
When driving, you have to observe and follow road rules. Do not forget to wear your seatbelt for your safety. Be alert and pay attention to the road. Do not use your phone while your car is running. Always be aware of the road signs so as to guide you in your journey.
When you arrive at your destination, park in the designated parking spots only. Be mindful of the parking rates. Park in well-lit areas at night. Always lock and secure your personal belongings before leaving your car unattended.
What Is the Speed Limit in German Roads?
Germany is the only European country that does not have a general speed limit. Instead, it has this federal controlled-access highway system called “Autobahn.” It is widely known for having no federally mandated speed limit for some classes of vehicles. However, limits are posted (and enforced) in urbanized, substandard, accident-prone, or under construction areas.
It has no mandated speed limit but rather a “recommendation” of speed 130 kilometers per hour (81 mph). Unless no signs are stating otherwise, the following speed limits apply when driving in Germany: 130 km/h for motorways, 100 km/h for main roads and 50 km/h for urban areas.
Many parts of the Autobahn have no speed limit, which is indicated by a circular white sign with five diagonal black lines. You can drive as fast as you feel safe, but just be aware that cars can appear suddenly behind you, so take extra care when overtaking. Whenever a child, elderly, or handicapped person is near the road, drivers are required to remove their foot from the accelerator and be prepared to stop.
Always wear your seatbelt
Seatbelts must be worn at all times by the driver and the passenger when driving in Germany. Failure to abide by this rule shall result in a fine. Children under the age of 3 cannot travel without a car seat. Children ages 3 or over must travel in the rear seats. Even if it is not required for the passengers at the back to wear seatbelts, it is still advisable to do so. So as for safety purposes especially on busy roads where most accidents tend to happen.
What Are Their Driving Directions?
Driving throughout Germany is a wonderful experience, in large part because of the excellent roads and the scenic routes they transport you over. Thanks to the superb network of highways (autobahns) and railways that crisscross this central European country, Germany's cities and towns, big and small, are easy to access. You won’t have any problem visiting the top-notch tourists spot in Germany.
What Are the Traffic Road Signs?
If you are driving in Germany for the first time, there isn’t a great difference from most of mainland Europe and that’s true of road signs in Germany also. However, it is always good to know more about it before hitting the roads to make sure you know the different types of road signs while driving in Germany.
Most of the road signs when driving in Germany are the same as in other countries. These are some examples that you will see in the roads of Germany.
- For the Warning Road Signs: traffic light ahead, roadworks ahead warning, poor road surface ahead, and etc.
- For Priority Road Signs: stop, priority road ahead, roundabout ahead and etc.
- For the Mandatory Road Signs: speed limit, pass on right only, mandatory lane for buses, and etc.
Whether you are renting a car in Germany or driving your own car, pay attention to the road signs in Germany for a safe journey.
What Is the Right of Way When Driving in Germany?
Germany uses a hierarchical system to assign intersections’ right of way when driving in Germany. A police officer directing traffic overrides all the traffic signals or controls. Officers often use obvious motions such as waving and pointing to direct traffic. However, if an officer is not motioning, then the position of the officer determines if you must stop or can proceed.
Driving in roundabouts in Germany is the usual solution for intersection design both in rural and within urban street networks. The vehicle entering the roundabout when driving in Germany has the right of way unless signs indicate they don't.
Signs are the most common right of way when driving in Germany. Germany uses “priority roads” signs to assign right of way. Be aware that right of way signs are also usually posted at signalized intersections; however, the signal takes precedence over the signs unless the signal is not operating, which the signs then govern.
What Is the Legal Driving Age in Germany?,
The legal age for you to drive in Germany is 18. You also must have a local driver’s license. You are not permitted to drive if you are below the age of 18 even if tyour home country’slegal driving age is lower. You are obligated to carry your driver’s license with you at all times when driving in Germany. If you are caught without it you risk being fined.
Is There a Law About Overtaking?
Overtaking in Germany is allowed but there are rules that you must abide by to not cause an accident. Overtaking is prohibited at pedestrian crosswalks when there is a solid white line on your side, or on the approach to a railway crossing. Overtaking on your right is prohibited except if it is a multilane road.
In Germany the sign that indicates ‘no overtaking’ means you cannot overtake a vehicle with more than two wheels. So if you’re in a car then feel free to overtake a motorbike, but don’t overtake a car, lorry, or other four-wheeled vehicles. If two or more lanes are traveling in the same direction and traffic has built up it is ok to overtake on the inside.
To avoid road accidents, do not speed up if you are overtaken. You must allow plenty of space for the passing vehicle to complete their maneuver. Speeding up just to wouldn’t be passed by the over taker is illegal.
What Side of the Road Will You Drive in Germany?
There is always this question on what side of the road will you drive in Germany, right or left?. Driving at the designated side of the road that Germany allows can prevent accidents. Like most countries in Europe and all over the world, when driving in Germany, you have to be on the right side of the road and sit at the left side of the car. Only British Isles and Gibraltar drive on the left side of the road in Europe.
Is Radar Detection on Electronic Devices Allowed?
The answer is no. Radar detectors are mostly illegal in European countries such as Germany. Now several countries, including Germany, are not allowing GPS navigational devices that have speed camera detection software. If you are caught with this device function in your car, even if it is turned off, you will be fined and your license shall be confiscated. Nowadays, GPS maps can now be updated without this function.
Are Dogs Allowed to Ride a Car in Germany?
Germany has about 10 laws for dogs for one law for humans. You must know that to enable your dog to come along on your trip, you must need a harness for your dog. For large dogs, ADAC recommends a crate or carrier in the back of the car, along with a partition to reduce damage to passenger backrests. As for smaller dogs, ADAC recommends harnesses made with large belts, sturdy metal attachments and two tie-ins.
Where Should I Properly Park My Car?
You will surely have to take a break from a trip and park somewhere along the road. And of course, you definitely don’t want to fall foul of Germany’s parking regulations. If you are hit with a parking violation and refuse to pay, your vehicle can be confiscated.
In Germany, a vehicle is considered as parked if it is not moving or stationary for more than 3 minutes. You are not allowed to park within 10m of traffic lights, closer than 5m to pedestrian crossings, on a bike lane, and by the curbside facing oncoming traffic. Following these rules should make driving in Germany smooth and worth it. Before you hit the road, make sure to remember all the road regulations because the last thing you want to ruin your trip is to get pulled-off by the authorities.
Driving Etiquette in Germany
Unfortunate circumstances come into play whenever and wherever. It can’t be avoided. From minor to major car problems, it can happen on the road. You will also have to communicate to locals so be courteous and be polite.
What if a Car Breaks Down?
Despite vehicle advances, it can’t be prevented that your car may break down while you are on the road. If your car breaks down when you are still on the road, steer clear your vehicle first as far as out of the travel lane as possible. Call for police and other rescue responders immediately. If you can pull over to the side of the road, exit through the passenger-side door, away from traffic, then stand far away - behind the guardrail, if possible.
If you are on a highway and you can’t get off the road, do not get out of the car. Contact emergency services and turn on your hazard lights and keep your seatbelt on. Most heavily traveled highways are also heavily patrolled, and a nice highway patrol officer will come along before you know it.
What if a Police Officer Stops You?
Police officers often conduct checkpoints in German roads. While driving in Germany, if you are somehow pulled off by a police officer, pull over as soon as possible. Lower your speed and stop at a certain place where the police officer might have some questions for you. Communicate and answer the police officer’s questions politely. If they ask you to come with them, hear their reasons first and ask about your violation that you needed to go together with them.
Aside from checkpoints, police officers will pull you over if you violated the road rules. The officer may want to take a quick inspection of the legal requirements you need to bring such as your international driver’s license to drive in Germany and your local driver’s license. Don’t speed up when you’re being pulled over. Evading police officers might get you in trouble and somehow be fined for it, and I know for sure that you would not want that.
What if You Ask for Driving Directions?
Most German people are well-mannered and disciplined so you’re going to have no problem talking to them about directions while on your trip or driving in Germany. Even if they are that kind of people, you also have to do your part in order to have a peaceful conversation. Losing your cool or raising your voice is considered rudeness and thoughtlessness in Germany.
You can ask anyone for directions. You just have to make sure that you approach them nicely and politely. How they will respond to your questions will depend on what approach you will use while talking to them. If you step out of line, don't be surprised or offended if someone corrects your behavior, which is very common in the German culture.
What if There Are Checkpoints?
When approaching a checkpoint, slow down your car’s speed. The checkpoint may be in an area where security forces are being targeted and therefore those manning it may be cautious and vigilant. It can be done legally or illegally. Ensure you do nothing to give them the impression that you are a threat to them. You have to be always polite and alert.
When you have a conversation with the authority conducting the checkpoint, talk nicely. Avoid confrontation. They will likely check for your driver’s license and other required documents while driving in Germany. If the search is conducted using a dog, the driver should remain in the car and the vehicle doors must be kept closed. If the inspection is done, thank the officer and continue your trip.
How Safe Is It to Drive in Germany Late at Night?
Driving in Germany is safe. But every large city also has its crime issues. There are no street lamps on Autobahn or the country roads. The good news is that the autobahns are so well-made that you will not outrun your lights if you follow their recommended speed limits.
All in all, the German road system at night is the equal or superior to any in the world for safety. However, there will be more cars that are speeding way too fast on some lightly traveled autobahns at night that do not have speed limits. The safe thing to do is stay on your lane and remember to apply all the road regulations.
What if I Get Involved in an Accident While on the Road?
If the unfortunate event happens, like getting involved in an accident, stop immediately. This also applies if you are not involved in the accident but are a witness. Secure the accident site by switching on your hazard flashes. If anyone is injured, you should call for an ambulance and a police officer. If nobody is injured and the vehicles can be moved safely, you should mark the location of the vehicle or take a picture of it and move out of the traffic.
As a tourist, it is in your best interest to then call the police to the scene (if you haven't already) and have them take a report (dial 110 or use an emergency phone). Exchange information with the other drivers, including your driver's license. This ensures that all the proper legal requirements are satisfied and helps protect you from future problems.
Are German Safe Drivers?
Germany is home to Europe’s safest drivers. You have to learn theory of driving real hard, practice a lot under professional guidance, under all conditions (night driving, Autobahn, parking , safety, first aid, providing help in traffic emergencies, etc.). This is generally a tough program and it is not uncommon to fail the german driving test on the first go or even in the second. Passing the driver’s license questions in Germany is not a piece of cake.
The authorities implement very strict rules and somehow Germans follow it diligently. German drivers are good because they have to be; after all, you have to trust those around you to have confidence and aptitude behind the wheel when you're doing 250 km/h on the open Autobahn.
Driving Situations and Conditions
Germans are well-disciplined when it comes to driving. It doesn’t seem that driving in Germany is more dangerous than driving in other European countries. Locals tend to follow the driving rules strictly. Furthermore, be disciplined enough to follow road rules to avoid any possible accidents that might happen.
How Frequent Are Vehicle Accidents in Germany?
According to Germany’s Federal Statistics Office, in 2018, a total of 3,275 people died in road accidents in Germany. It is 95 more than the previous year. This rise in fatalities is the first increase after two years of decline. A further 396,000 people were injured in traffic accidents in 2018, an increase of 5,706 cases.
Germans take it seriously while driving in Germany. They obey the rules and never pass on the right. When they pass on the left, they then move back to a slower lane if a faster car moves up from behind. The drivers are paying attention. There's no eating, texting, coffee drinking, or other stuff that is commonly seen in other countries.
What Are the Common Vehicles Used in Germany?
As much as it’s a luxurious country, Germans also like to drive luxurious cars. Germans have always had this close relationship with their cars and just for means of transportation. For them, driving symbolizes freedom. It has always been a part of their personality.
With around 46 million cars registered for use on German roads, over two-thirds of adults in Germany own a car. According to data retrieved a statistics ranking shows that 15.9% of the German population drove Volkswagen. There are also Germans who drive SUVs, economy vehicles, and minivans on the road.
What Is the Unit to Measure Speed in Germany?
When driving in Germany, Speed limits are imposed in roads to ensure and prevent road accidents. There are two units of measurement in measuring speed, namely MPH (miles per hour) and KPH (kilometers per hour) that is used by different countries all over the world. Germany’s speed limit is measured by KPH. Currently, only about 9% of the world uses miles per hour as a unit of measure, with the best-known among them being the USA and its dependencies.
Germany remains as the only European Union member state with no speed limit on its highways. Keeping in mind the measuring unit of speed in Germany is very important as some sign on the road may have no label on it. A speedometer is used to measure the speed of your vehicle. Once the speed of your vehicle that is indicated in the speedometer went over the speed limit when driving in Germany, you are likely to be pulled off by a traffic officer.
Does Germany Have Busy Streets?
Road conditions in Germany are generally excellent but you should also exercise caution while driving in Germany’s old roads. In Germany, the schools are only half-day and most of the people work on half-days too that diverts into some traffic. Their streets are really narrow, not because there’s some kind of crazy urban style, but because they were defined in times where traffic was smaller and slower than today. Another aspect is that original buildings are being preserved. This means they cannot be demolished to open a new wider street.
Berlin has 3 of the most congested roads in Germany. Drivers need a lot of patience on the B96 between Lichtenrade and Kreuzberg, on the B2 between Spandau and Tiergarten, and on the entire A100 urban motorway, as calculated by traffic data provider Inrix. The busiest times in the capital are Thursday evening and Friday, just before the start of the weekend.
What Kind of Driving Culture Does Germany Have?
Most people in Germany think driving as a relaxing pastime. Since, this country takes it’s driving seriously, Germans follow road rules more consistently and drive more confidently. German driving tests are also not that easy. They are more attentive towards turning signals, pedestrians and cyclists. They know how to drive manual cars and generally understand things like "the left lane is for passing” better than any other country.
Is Driving in Germany Hard?
The roads of Germany are easy to drive since it is well maintained. The road sign when driving Germany is also logical thus, you won’t have any problem with it. Even if you don’t speak their native language, which is German, road signs will get you to the city center and park there if you wanted to take a break from your trip. After touring across the country, road signs will get you back to the Autobahn of your choice.
Things to Do in Germany
Germany is more than a country. With Big, bold, and bursting landscape and culture, Germany is a country that simply cannot be ignored. Today it’s a place full of mountains, lakes and rivers, financial powerhouses and edgy cultural experiments. Every moment of your trip in Germany will surely be worth it.
Can I Drive as a Tourist in Germany?
Of course, you can! Though it is not required to have an international driver’s license in Germany, you should always remember to bring the following:
- Your local driver’s license
- An IDP
- Other necessary documents such as a passport
Thus, you will have no problem visiting different tourist attractions in Germany when you secure the documents mentioned above, everytime you hit the German road.
Is Driving With a US License in Germany allowed?
US driver’s license holders are allowed to drive in Germany for no more than six months. If they wish to continue driving in Germany with a US driver’s license, they need to obtain a German license. However, they may legally drive in Germany for up to 364 days in Germany on their U.S. driver's licenses. They just have to go to their local driver’s registration office and notify them about their decision to continue to drive on their U.S. license until their departure (up to 364 days, as stated above).
Can a Tourist Buy a Car in Germany?
Yes, you can. If you want to buy a car from a Dealership or from private all you need is cash and some Identity( ID card or passport ). The problem would arise in the registration of the car. For a “normal” registration, a permanent place in Germany would have to be defined where the vehicle is normally located, and a person with a permanent address in Germany.
Of course, vehicle tax would have to be paid, and the mandatory insurance would have to be upheld. For immediate export, a vehicle can also receive temporary plates. Also, here, vehicle tax and insurance (short time) would have to be provided.
Can a Foreigner Apply for Driving Jobs in Germany?
It depends on the company you are about to apply to. But for starters, foreigners who wish to apply for driving jobs in Germany must have to secure a work visa and a German license first by passing the german driving test. Getting driving jobs in the country must be challenging, but it is not entirely impossible.
Can a Foreigner Obtain a German License?
The answer is yes. You need to go to the nearest driving school to ask for the detailed process and cost estimates. Some countries can convert their original license to a German one or using the same (if they have an EU Driving license). If you’re a non-EU person, you’ll have to pass the German driving test, the written and practical test both in German and English, the specific costs will be decided by the individual driving school. You also must have your residency to get permission to pass a driving test in Germany.
Is It Possible to Apply for a Residency in Germany as a Driver?
If you wish to relocate to Germany and work in Germany, you must secure a residency permit and work visa. Citizens from some countries such as the USA, Canada, and Australia are allowed to enter Germany without a visa. They may also apply for a residence permit while in the country. If you don’t come from any of these countries, a visa can be issued by a German embassy. It may also be possible to directly apply for a residence permit at the embassy or consulate in your home country.
Can I Stay and Drive in Germany for More Than 12 Months?
You can drive for more than 12 months in Germany, but you have to obtain a German driver’s license. To apply for a German driving license, you’ll need to visit your local vehicle license office. Though Germany’s driving license questions are not easy to pass, it is still better to go for it. Here is the list of requirements needed when driving in Germany for you to get your German driver’s license:
- One photograph, 35 x 45mm
- A valid driving license from your country of origin
- Your IDP
- Your passport or German ID card if you’re a German citizen
- Recent proof that you’ve had your vision tested.
- Proof that you’ve completed a first aid course.
- Confirmation that you’re resident in Germany (residency permit)
- A base fee of EUR 40
The Top Road Trip Destinations in Germany
Germany is one of the countries mentioned when it comes to top-class architecture. An estimate of 25,000 castles can be found in Germany. Middle Age castles and palaces built by the European nobility are among the most important must-visit the German architectural history.
Germany is not only famous for its architecture, but it is also known for its top class landscapes, cuisine, culture, and history. Furthermore, it is a must-visit for anyone’s top-class travel. With your rented car, experience, and enjoy the whole of Germany.
What Are the Top Spots in Germany?
If you want an accessible airport to fly in and out of Germany, it is better to start your Munich trip. Munich is the third biggest city in Germany and is a top-rated destination in Germany. Learn more about the top spots in Germany as you read on.
Oktoberfest is a celebration of great local beers, awesome people, and it’s all anchored in a traditional Bavarian culture that happens annually from mid-September to early October. It is held in Theresienwiese in Munich. It is attended by millions of people from around the world.
From Munich International airport, a 38-minute drive would get you to Theresienwiese in Munich.
- Take Nordallee and Zentralallee to A92 in Freising.
- Follow A92 and A9 to Schenkendorfstraße/B2R in München. Take exit 76-München-Schwabing from A9.
- Continue on B2R. Take Landsberger Str. to Bavariaring.
If you love heights, Roof Climb is for you. Make sure you have a head for heights when you join the roof climb for amazing views of the Munich skyline as well as the park. Then you can hire a pedal boat or rowboat and enjoy the lakeside views in the Olympic Lake. To cap off your Olympiapark tour, simply find a nice spot in the park as you marvel at your surroundings. There are a lot of activities that you can do in Olympiapark, and these are just some of them.
From Theresienwiese in Germany.
- Head north on Bavariaring toward Beethovenstraße.
- Take Landsberger Str., B2R and Landshuter Allee to Toni-Merkens-Weg.
- Slight right onto Toni-Merkens-Weg.
Enjoy and delve into the view while you are driving. The Romantic Road is a 285-mile drive that starts at Würzburg and ends at Füssen. The average span of days to finish the mile-long road is about three (3) days. The top sights you will see include the fantasy, neo-Romanesque Schloss Neuschwanstein castle, and wall-enclosed medieval town Rothenburg ob der Tauber.
From Würzburg, Germany.
- Head north on Salvatorstraße toward Hermann-Schell-Straße.
- Take A7 to L1060 in Ellwangen (Jagst). Take exit 113-Ellwangen from A7.
- Continue on L1060. Drive to B25 in Möttingen.
Also known as Black Forest High Road, the oldest and one of the best known themed drives in Germany. It is a picturesque 60 km stretch connecting Baden-Baden and Freudenstadt. As you drive along, you’ll witness jaw-dropping views of the dark forest, Rhine plains, and the majestic Vosges Mountains.
From Stuttgart, Germany.
- Continue to Wildparkstraße. Take the B14 exit from B14.
- Follow A81 to B462 in Zimmern ob Rottweil. Take exit 34-Rottweil from A81.
- Continue on B462. Take Aichhalder Loch and B294 to Hinterer Bahnhof in Hausach.
Let’s go to the capital city of Germany, Berlin! One historical attraction of Berlin is the Berlin Wall. Its official purpose was to keep Western “fascists” from entering East Germany and undermining the socialist state. To this day, the Berlin Wall remains one of the most powerful and enduring symbols of the Cold War.
From Central Berlin, Germany.
- Take Oranienburger Str. and Tucholskystraße to Torstraße.
- Turn right onto Torstraße.
- Turn left onto Gartenstraße.
Also located in Berlin, it is the city’s most famous landmark. The iconic structure offers many insights into Berlin’s history and is the city’s first Neoclassical structure. A symbol of Berlin and German division during the Cold War is now a national symbol of peace and unity.
From the Berlin Wall.
- Head southeast on Gartenstraße toward Invalidenstraße.
- Continue on Invalidenstraße. Take Luisenstraße to Unter den Linden.
- Turn right onto Unter den Linden.
The Cologne Cathedral can’t be forgotten when you visit Germany. A sublime example of gothic architecture. It was once the world’s tallest building until 1890. You can walk around the Cathedral and dive into the atmosphere it radiates. It is also one of the most important places of pilgrimage in Europe.
From Cologne Central Station.
- Head west on Trankgasse.
- The destination will be on the left.
The Mercedes-Benz Museum
With your International Driver’s License, you can explore anything while driving in Germany. One is the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart. At the heart of the exhibits are 160 vehicles: some of the first-ever built, auto racing legends, and prototype cars of the future. You don't need to be car crazy to have a good time here; this is a must visit for automobile lovers.
From Central Stuttgart, Germany.must-visit4 to Cannstatter Str.
- Head northeast on Charlottenpl./B14 toward Konrad-Adenauer-Straß.
- Take Mercedesstraße to your destination.
Can You Drive to These Spots?
Germany is known for its excellent transport system. The German Autobahn or expressways are superbly engineered and offer rapid travel across the country. Germans also have great respect for their rules when driving in Germany. With that, you will have no problem driving in Germany.
Rental companies also offer unlimited mileage for the car you are renting. This option will allow you to travel in your rented car as far as you want in Germany. Renting a car will give you flexibility when traveling. Furthermore, you can stop as much as you like, drive at your own pace, and simply enjoy the freedom of a road trip! And since there's no baggage limit, you can take almost the entire house with you.
As stated above, you have to remember that it is essential to secure an International Driver’s Permit or IDP in driving around Germany or even in other countries today. It serves as supplementary or supporting documentation to your local driver’s license and your passport. Also some authorities might ask for it, so it is better to be prepared and secure and have an International Driver’s Perm, it for Germany. ,
Germany does not require you to get an IDP if your local driver’s license is in English or issued by an EU country. Still, it is highly advisable to get one when you have a plan to drive along the German roads. It is valid in over 150 countries so you should not worry about its cost because for sure it is worth the price.
A few reminders would be to always bring your local driver’s license, your international driver’s permit for Germany, and your passport. You also must bring with you any other supporting documents while driving in Germany. As German authorities are strict when it comes to road regulations, avoiding road problems would benefit you.
Taking a road trip and exploring the best out of Stuttgart and the rest of Germany would be your best choice yet. So, to avoid encountering problems during your trip, you will need to secure an International Driver’s License or Permit to present to the German authorities as a translation for your local driver’s license. As it caters to the whole world, just visit the International Drivers Association, and you can find instructions on how to apply for an IDP. Enjoy and discover Germany together with the International Drivers Association.