What is the Road Traffic Act?
The Road Traffic Act governs the behaviour of all road users (e.g. car drivers, cyclists, pedestrians). The golden rule is mutual consideration. If you are going to use the roads in Germany, you should learn about some key aspects beforehand. Here you will find some important information that you must consider when using the roads.
In Germany, they drive on the right and the rule is ‘right before left’. This means cars coming from the right have right of way unless a sign indicates otherwise. The speed limit in Germany is 50 km/h inside built-up areas and 100 km/h outside built-up areas unless speed limit signs indicate otherwise. A speed of 130 km/h is recommended for on the motorways.
If you exceed the specified speed limit, you may be fined or even lose your driver’s licence. This also applies to drivers who drive under the influence of alcohol. You can find out more information on the General German Automobile Club (Allgemeine Deutsche Automobil-Club e. V., or ADAC) website.
What are my obligations as a motorist?
Do you want to drive in Germany and use your own car? Then you must meet the following obligations. You must register your car with the registration office responsible for your place of residence.
You must also take out a car insurance policy and take your vehicle regularly for general inspection (“Hauptuntersuchung”). During this inspection, your car’s safety features and exhaust emissions, for example, will be checked. If your car fails the inspection, you are required to have the fault(s) remedied. In our region, the Technical Monitoring Agency for the North (TÜV NORD AG) is responsible for this.
When driving a car, you must always carry your driver’s licence and the vehicle registration certificate with you.
How do I obtain a valid driver’s licence in Germany?
If you don’t already have a driver’s licence, you can obtain one in Germany through a driving school. You have to pay for the driving lessons and the driving tests. You must be 18 years of age, resident in Germany and you must pass an eyesight test.
If you have already obtained a driver’s licence in your home country, the requirements for it being recognised depend on your citizenship.
If you are a citizen of an EU country, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland, you do not need to re-register your driver’s licence and are permitted to drive in Germany based on your current licence.
If you are a citizen of another country, you must re-register your licence within a period of 6 months from the date you register your residence in Germany. You must apply to the traffic office responsible for your place of residence.