Germany Flag
brandebburg gate
Travels Through Germany Awards Button
Travels Through Germany Cities & States Button
Travels Through Germany - City Cams Button Travels Through Germany - City Cams
Travels Through Germany - Discussion Board Button
Travels Through Germany - Events & Holidays
Travels Through Germany - Information A-Z Button
Travels Through Germany - Language Button
Travels Through Germany - Purchase German Button
Travels Through Germany - Travel Advice
Travels Through Germany - Travels Miscellaneous Button
Travels Through Germany - Travel Tickets Button
Travels through Germany - Hotels Page Travels Through Germany - Advertise Page Travels Through Germany - Awards Travels Through Germany - German Food Travels Through Germany - City Links Travels Through Germany - Discussion Board Travels Through Germany - Events & Holidays Travels Through Germany - Information A-Z Travels Through Germany - Learn German Travels Through Germany - Purchase German Travels Through Germany - Travel Advice Travels Through Germany - Travel Miscellaneous Travels Through Germany - Ticket reservations Travels Through Germany Travels Through Germany - Travel Websites

Are looking to buy or sell something German or from Germany? Why not at Ebay? Click on the button below.

Click here for your favorite eBay items

Jetzt Zeitschrift empfehlen und Prämie aussuchen!

Audible - Hörbücher und Audiomagazine zum Downloa


Try our advertisers below


Günstig fliegen mit Condor
German Kino Plus

Are looking to buy or sell something German or from Germany? Why not at Ebay? Click on the button below.

Click here for your favorite eBay items

Are you going to Germany to live for a while? Try the link below. 

Make Flight Reservations & Purchase Tickets low cost car rental online
Jetzt Zeitschrift empfehlen und Prämie aussuchen!
Bucher Reisen
DKB-Cash - Das kostenlose Girokonto
Neckermann Reisen

Driving in Germany

The Autobahn
Driving in Germany-US Embassy
German Taxis
Driving Abroad
European Driving Regulations
European Driving Regulations (Germany)
Driving Abroad

A favorite saying about Germany is, "There is lots to see here." There are castles, palaces, scenic roads, historical cities, towns and villages; and most can be easily seen from your car. There are also, however, a many rules and regulations to be observed when driving in Germany. 

At first glance, when riding on the Germany freeway (or Autobahn) you will witness BMWs, late model Mercedes, Porsches and countless other sporty automobiles moving at what looks like the speed of light. Many newcomers, when questioned about the excessive speed used by drivers on the German Autobahn, can only shake their head in amazement, while saying, "They go by you so fast, you feel like you’re standing still!"

Rule Nr. 1: Be in possession of a valid drivers license. Usually, foreigners can drive up to one year in Germany before having to get a German license. There is a small fee involved for the translation, but this cost varies as to the origin of the license. There are also certain other requirements. (Learn more about this at the end of the article.)

Rule Nr. 2: Learn the signs and signals. Germany has some forty different warning signals; forty-one prescriptive signs (STOP, directional, informative, etc.); forty-three traffic control devices; thirty-nine additional signs (passenger cars excluded, stop after . . . meters, and no stopping on carriageway or shoulder, to name a few). Then there are those Special Signs: Danger!, Rabies! and so on; and last but not least, there are forty-two Informative Signs telling you such things as: Priority at next intersection, Priority road, and Parking on pavement . Many of the signs and signals are self explanatory, and familiar, while others can lead to confusion and, perhaps, a serious accident if you fail to take the necessary time to learn what they mean.

Once you have your license requirements taken care of and you know the signs—and the signals, you have to take care of the matters involving your car. Whether you’ve brought a car with, or you intend to buy a car in Germany, registration, insurance and inspection are required. (If you’re going to buy a car here there won’t be a problem, unless you’re looking for something extra special. Car dealerships, new and used, are as plentiful as sand on the beach around Germany. Also, a number of manufacturers like Volvo and BMW offer special programs for tourists, expats and diplomats.) What might prove to be a more difficult task, is being able to afford your dream car and its required insurance premium, which varies with motor, speed, type (i.e., convertible), model and year (i.e., late model Porsche verses brand new Fiat Bravo).

Rule Nr. 3: Insurance! Your car must be insured before it can hit the pavement. Car insurance in Germany is as important as car inspections and proof of insurance must be shown, just like your proof of inspection, before your car can be registered. The traditional Doppelkarte (Double card) can be obtained at any insurance office, and there are just as many of these as there are car dealers throughout Germany. You’ll find several insurance offices located near or around the Zulassungsstelle (Auto Registration Office). In the city of Frankfurt am Main, Germany, the registration office and (ASU or TÜV) inspection stations just happen to be located together and are literally surrounded by insurance agents. All of whom are ready and willing to sell any unsuspecting owner more insurance than they probably need. (But isn’t this the way of most insurance agents?)

In Germany, Haftpflichtversicherung (liability Insurance) on your automobile is required. VollKaskoversicherung (comprehensive collision insurance) is required on cars that are financed.. Shop around. Get the insurance that best serves your needs because, in Germany, it pays to be covered.

Lets forge ahead and say you’ve located your dream-mobile, gotten insurance and you’re now ready to put the pedal to the metal. Only, you can’t just yet. At least not before we discuss 

Rule Nr. 4: Register your car before driving it in Germany.

The German government is adamant in their efforts to make sure that every vehicle, whether in use for private or public transportation, is road-worthy. Therefore, your car must passe a series of rigorous inspections before registration. For this, a visit to the Technische Überwachung Verein (TÜV) or to an authorized TÜV mechanic will make sure your car is in its best condition or that it meets the high standards specified by the authorities.

The TÜV Inspection is automatically granted to new cars for a three year period. The inspection is usually arranged by the auto dealer. All you, the new car owner, have to do is pay the inspection cost. Perhaps, if you purchase a really expensive car the dealership may absorb the inspection cost as one of the perks. When purchasing a used car however, the TÜV inspection is the sole responsibility of the prospective owner.

Now would be a good time to discuss the Abgassonderuntersuchung (ASU) or Abgasuntersuchung (AU) Inspections (checking the catalytic converter). Today most vehicles are manufactured with catalytic converters; but this wasn’t always the case, which is why there are two types of inspections: 1.) The ASU Inspection is for cars manufactured without catalytic converters. The inspection is good for 1 year and cost up to 46.00 Marks. 2.) The AU Inspection (also sometimes referred to as the ASU Inspection) is for cars manufactured with converters. This inspection (like the TÜV Inspection for new cars) is good for 3 years, but all used cars must be inspected every 2 years and the inspection cost is 80.00 Marks. Not withstanding, manufactured with or without a catalytic converter, both inspections (ASU and TÜV) must be completed before your car can be registered. Failure to adhere to the rules and regulations governing these inspections or failure to meet inspection dates can result in stiff penalties, which may vary depending on how long overdue the inspection is.

After the inspection is complete registration is done at the Zulassungstelle. When registering your vehicle you must present your Double Insurance Card, showing insurance protection or that you are registered with an insurance agency. You don’t have to show proof of ownership when you have your car inspected, but you must show proof of insurance when registering

Ready! You got your license, insurance, inspections and registration. Its time to hit the road! As we said in the beginning of this article, cruising down the Autobahn can be fun but it can also be hectic and fast. The Autobahn has come far from the start of its humble beginning. When Adolf Hitler first came up with the idea it was called the Schnellstrasse. The Schnellstrasse was intended to be an easy way for Hitler to move his troops from one end of the country to the next. Today the Autobahn (or Schnellstrasse) is used not only to transport military troops but also by neighboring countries as a passageway to import and export produce and products; while, at the same time countless vacationers use it to connect the east with the west (and vice versa).

Rule Nr. 5: Remember the Rules. Traffic laws that govern driving through the city differ somewhat from those on the Autobahn. For instance, passing on the right on a two lane street, avenue or boulevard, in the city is perfectly legal; whereas, passing on the right on the Autobahn is absolutely illegal and punishable by fine or revocation of driving privileges. Of course, the severity of the punishment depends largely on the degree of danger or threat of danger to others. Tailgating or flashing your headlights as you zoom up behind someone you feel would be better off walking to where they’re trying to drive, is also illegal. So are certain gestures involving your hands and fingers (you all know what we mean) or making circling motions in your temple area with your pointing finger (to most Germans this gesture is the same as calling them insane). Road rage. It happens a lot in Germany, so try to avoid infuriating other drivers by allowing them to pass when they show signs of wanting to, or not cutting quickly in front of another car or stepping on your brakes too hard to try to get someone off your tail. Sometimes the simple act of driving the speed limit is enough to cause some drivers to throw a fit and not all drivers are content with raging inside their vehicles, some step out and expect to engage in a physical show of emotion. Remember: Hand gestures, name calling, horn honking, tailgating and flashing headlights are not welcome nor tolerated in Germany.

And yet, it can be fun to open ole Bessy up on a warm spring afternoon or under the clear blue skies of a hot summer day if you just remember to be courteous and follow the rules. But if you should forget, there are speed traps: video equipped unmarked police cars, cameras and now the renown Radar Gun. In unmarked video cars police will sometimes follow a violator, tracking their hazardous or reckless driving pattern, video taping and clocking the drivers speed. (In a recent television show it was reported that up to two hundred violaters a day have their licenses pulled after being caught by these unmarked patrol cars.) Cameras positioned at street lights photograph drivers as they speed through an intersection or run a red light. The photo is usually a frontal view, leaving little room for denial about who was driving at the time of the violation. To add to the German drivers woes, the German police have imported the Radar Gun from America where it is reported to be one of the best devices yet for catching speed demons. Excessive speed in Germany doesn’t just dig deep into your pockets but it also levies points against your license, which in turn can affect your insurance payments; and, depending on how much over the speed limit you were driving or how many points you’ve accumulated, you could lose your driving privileges for several months.

Statistical reports attribute the majority of accidents happening on German roadways to excessive speed; especially during winter and the first days of spring. When you look at Germany, geographically speaking, you’ll see that it is mostly hills, valleys and dense forest. Its terrain can change as easily as its weather. One minute you are traveling down the road, humming to the beat of your favorite tune, following the rays of the sun, when suddenly you find yourself immersed in a fog as thick as pea soup. Your vision is considerably limited, and all within seconds.

Although driving in Germany is faster than in the States, still, it can be fun; provided you drive defensively; particularly, during inclement weather.

The objective is to stay alive. Therefore, driving in Germany may be faster but it doesn’t have to be filled with rage, hostility and speed. Actually, most German car owners hate to have anything happen to their car. In fact, the average German lives with an almost paranoiac fear of having the paint on their car scratched or nicked. Ninety-nine-out-of-one hundred want their car to be the cleanest and the most admired on the road. There’s even an old saying that supposedly describes the love of a German male for his car: "Most German men will fight quicker over damage to their car than they will for honor of their wives."

Keeping that in mind, you might want to relax, take your time and enjoy the ride or practice your patience, . . . and while you’re taking your time, you might want to check out an automobile club. An automobile club can provide additional automotive protection: coverage against vandalism, accident, fire and theft; whether in Germany or while traveling within Europe. A fairly popular club in Germany is the Allgemeiner Deutscher Automobil-Club (ADAC). There are ADAC locations throughout Germany. The club offers a wide range of services and cost for membership varies with the type of membership you desire. A regular membership costs 74.00 Marks per year, while an ADAC Plus membership costs 139.00 Marks per year. There are several other memberships: Severely Disabled, Young Adult or Student and ADAC Associate Membership (37.00 Marks per year). At ADAC you can get your drivers license translated, learn about traffic rules and regulations (if you’re not clear about some of them), you can purchase insurance for you, your family and your car. You can also receive personalized assistance to plan your next vacation (this includes everything from booking hotel accommodations to choosing the quickest or most scenic route to your destination). Emergency banking can be arranged, hospitalization in case of an accident while traveling abroad, air rescue service is available and, if you don’t already have a major credit card you can even apply for one as a member of ADAC. To learn more about the club and its by-laws and the services it provides, or if you just want to receive one of their informative English language brochures, call their international European number: (0180) 510 11 12.

Route planning

MapQuest - MapQuest Tools include maps, driving directions, and road trip planner. Includes both North American and European countries.

Map Machine -- National Geographic

Falk online - Route planning (In German). Can search for specific locations in & within a town.

Driving In Austria

Austria Driving Regulations

Driving Information: Austria

U. S. Embassy - Austria Driving Regulations

Jurgen Schrempp :
And the Making
of an Auto Dynasty


Travels Through Germany
P.O. Box 25043
Philadelphia, Pa 19147

Please e-mail the webmaster with all broken links or suggestions:

Copyright © Travels Through Europe All rights reserved.