Although traffic in the major German cities can be very busy and a daunting experience at first, driving in the countryside is usually delightful, with relatively little traffic on many roads.
Driving on the right hand side of the road may be a new experience for some visitors as may well be the use of kilometres to measure distance - one good thing about using a rental car is that it will be adapted to local conditions with the steering on the leftPersons under the age of 18 years are not allowed to drive in Germany even though they may hold a driving licence issued in another country. hand side and the speedometer marked in kilometres per hour.
The availability of rentals cars is very good throughout Germany and there is usually no problem in arranging for a hire car to be left at a different location from where it was originally rented.
The speed limits in Germany are:
On Autobahns (Equivalent to British Motorways or Divided Highways designated as Auto-routes) the recommended limit is 130 kilometres per hour. This equates to about 80 miles per hour. Although about half the Autobahns carry no other limit the recommended always applies and whilst this means that a driver will not suffer any penalty for exceeding this limit, he would be held at least partly responsible for any accident he may be involved in, even if speed may not have been the direct cause of the accident.
On other roads not showing any lower restriction the limit is 100 kilometres per hour. That's 62 miles per hour
In towns the limit is 50 kilometres per hour, or 31 miles per hour.
The police can impose on-the-spot fines, although currently only to a maximum of 50 Euros.
Drivers face severe penalties if found driving with more than 50mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood. This is lower than in Britain where the limit is 80mg per 100ml.
Persons under the age of 18 years are not allowed to drive in Germany even though they may hold a driving licence issued in another country.
The wearing of seat belts is compulsory and children must be 12 years old or over to occupy a front passenger seat, unless in an approved design of car safety seat. Even then car seats must not be used where air bags are fitted.
Before driving off in a hire car you should check that you have the green insurance certificate for the vehicle. This certificate must be produced upon demand to a police officer or in the case of an accident involving the vehicle. You will also need it if you travel outside of Germany.
It is best to make sure that he vehicle contains all the required equipment for use in an emergency, including a warning triangle, first aid kit spare wheel and jack.
When driving in German towns generally is the rule that traffic emerging from the right at a junction has priority. Many drivers have been caught out over this. A sign exhibiting a yellow diamond usually indicates that the road you are on has the priority, a black diagonal line through the diamond indicates that the priority section has ended and the priority to traffic from the right once again applies. A number of different signs are used to indicate where the simple priority to traffic from the right rule is modified, these are usually self explanatory.
A feature of many German Autobahns is the sue of high sound barriers when passing close to urban areas, these can be disconcerting at times and by obscuring the view make the journey extremely tedious for passengers.
Mobile 'phones must not be used in a car unless parked off the road with the engine turned off.
These notes are intended only to draw attention to some of the rules and regulations that apply to driving in Germany. They are not an exhaustive or complete set of regulations and may be superseded by changes in the law at any time. The publishers can accept no responsibility for any problem that may arise because drivers have failed to satisfy all the relevant legislation in any country in which they may use a vehicle hired through this site. It remains the responsibility of the driver to satisfy himself or herself that they are aware of all the relevant legislation that affects their conduct and the driving of vehicles in any country in which they may find themselves.
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