Driving in Germany

Many German traffic regulations may differ from those in your home country, so it is essential to familiarize yourself with the basic rules and to get acquainted with the international road signs. One main difference is the rule on right of way. Unless otherwise posted, vehicles entering an intersection from the right have the right of way. Also be aware that pedestrians have the right of way as soon as they step into a crosswalk. And beware of cyclists riding on the bike paths, particularly when you are making a right turn.
Your first impression may lead you to believe that Germans can park anywhere they please, even on the sidewalk. In fact, parking rules are a bit more regulated than it seems at first sight.
Parking is generally permitted along the streets, unless there is a sign to the contrary. Signs will show whether parking or waiting is allowed or not, and whether you must park with two or four wheels on the sidewalk, or with a Parkscheibe: a cardboard disc, available at gas stations, which you must use in marked areas of limited but un-metered parking to indicate at what time you parked.

Driving the Autobahn

You have almost certainly heard a great deal about the legendary German Autobahn … and are either champing at the bit to get yourself onto this high-speed race course or facing the prospect with great trepidation.

While many stretches of the Autobahn have no speed limits, other areas do, and you are obligated by law to observe these limits. Remember: You can lose your license for a month or more if you are caught driving more than 30 km/h above the speed limit. Authorities are particularly strict about you keeping to the speed limit in road construction sites and many sections of the Autobahn post temporary speed limits during particularly bad weather, at times as low as 60 km/h.

On the unrestricted segments of the network, you will see most cars cruising along at 120-160 km/h, with some high-powered vehicles exceeding these speeds, while government traffic experts recommend 130 km/h as a safe speed on unrestricted sections.

 

Traffic Regulations

Many German traffic regulations may differ from those in your home country, so it is essential to familiarize yourself with the basic rules and to get acquainted with the international road signs. One main difference is the rule on right of way. Unless otherwise posted, vehicles entering an intersection from the right have right of way. Also be aware that pedestrians have right of way as soon as they step onto a zebra crossing. Beware of cyclists riding on the bike paths, particularly when you are making a right turn; they, too, have right of way.

Your first impression may lead you to believe that Germans park anywhere they please, even on the sidewalk. In fact, parking is generally permitted along the streets, unless there is a sign to the contrary. Signs will show whether parking or waiting is allowed or not, and whether you must park with two or four wheels on the sidewalk, or with a Parkscheibe: a cardboard disc, available at filling stations, which you must use in marked areas of limited but un-metered parking to indicate at what time you parked. In some districts of Frankfurt, such as Sachsenhausen reserve parking for locals (Anwohnerparken). If you live in the district you can apply for a Bewohnerparkausweis. It costs you €50 for two years and can be applied for online. If you are uncertain of the details, as the website is in German, write an email to bewohnerparken@stadt-frankfurt.de, or go to the Ordnungsamt responsible (Am Römerhof 19, 60486 Frankfurt), taking a credit-card, your vehicle papers and proof of residence with you.

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