Driving in Germany

Everything that a driver and car owner in Germany needs to know before taking to the roads: road rules, breakdown and accident recovery, and the essential safety equipment which you need to carry with you...

Many of the basic rules of the road in Germany are very similar to those across the rest of Europe. Germany imposes severe penalties on those not adhering to these regulations.

There are a number of resources for official information and aid on all driving related matters:

  • The Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Affairs (Bundesministerium für Verkehr, Bau und Stadtenwicklung, BMVBS) provides information on road traffic regulations in Germany as well as information on fines, driving licences and motor vehicle regulations.
    Tel: 01888 3000
    : 01888 300 3428
  • The overseeing body for technical requirements and vehicle inspection is the Technische Überwachungs-Verein, TÜV). In the new Federal States (formerly East Germany) this is done by DEKRA, which is identical to the TÜV.
  • For a comprehensive guide (in English) to German road signs and regulations: Click here
  • For the German Highway Code: Click here (in German)
  • ADAC Germany's national vehicle breakdown and recovery service
    Tel: 0180 222 2222

What to Carry in the Car

It is obligatory to carry certain items in a car at all times and failure to do so may result in a fine if the vehicle is stopped by the police. However, the rules can vary from one Federal State to another. Typically, the following must be carried:

  • Documentation (vehicle registration, insurance, driving licence)
  • A first aid kit (Pkw-Verbandkasten)
  • A warning triangle (Warndreieck)
  • A spare wheel, inflated and the tools necessary to change it
  • Reflective waistcoats (reflektierende Unfallweste) are obligatory for company vehicles and are recommended, but not obligatory, for privately owned cars
  • Headlight converters (stickers) if driving a right hand vehicle not already converted to left hand
  • For an up-to-date list of recommended and compulsory requirements for drivers in Europe see the Royal Automobile Club (RAC): Click here