Germany Driving Advice and Car Hire Info

Driving In Germany

Germany drives on the right and you can driving using the photo licence of most countries for an indefinite period. If your licence is not written in roman alphabet, an International Driving permit would be useful.All vehicles must carry reflective jackets for all occupants, a warning triangle ,headlamp beam  for right hand drive vehicles and a First aid kit. The maximum level of alcohol in the blood is 0.05%  but zero for drivers who have held a licence less than two years and for drivers aged under 21 years. Speed limits range from a ‘recommended’ 130kmh on autobahn/motorways to 100kmh on other roads and 50kmh in urban areas. See below for more on autobahn speed limits.

Germany has an excellent system of autobahn/motorways which are toll free, except for heavy goods vehicles. Main routes are usually multi lane roads and you should generally drive on the right and overtake on the left. In most areas, there is a speed limit of 130kmh in force on the autobahn network but some rural stretches are not subject to any speed limit. These are indicated by a white circular sign with 4 thin diagonal black lines across it. German drivers tend to be polite and generally they aren’t aggressive drivers. However, if you stray into the ‘fast’ lane on an unrestricted speed road you should expect BMWs, Audi’s, Mercedes and Porsches to come flying up behind you at very high speed. If you or your car isn’t equipped to play with the big boys, stay out of the fast lane! Average speed travelled on autobahns with no speed limit is around 150KMH.

Another sensible aspect of driving on autobahns is that the areas where lorries can overtake is often restricted, especially on 2 lane roads. This means that the situation where two slow moving trucks block the road for miles is usually avoided. In terms of hazards -In Winter, snow tyres may be needed in certain areas so check this with the rental company before you take the car out. Expect the usual rush hour congestion and potential complicated one-way systems in large cities. Rural roads may be narrow and can be blocked by snow in winter. Routes in mountain areas can be steep, narrow and winding. Generally though, Germany is one of the best and safest countries to drive abroad in. Roads are usually in good condition, are well signed and driving standards are good and road rules are sensible too.

For more information on driving on German Autobahns and the potential to rent high performance vehicles in the country see my ‘Once in a Lifetime’ page.

Many travellers drive in Germany during a longer road trip taking in other European countries. Below are some destinations which could be driven in a day from main German cities-

Munich- Berlin– 590km, estimated travel time, 5.5 hours,

Munich -Paris -850km, estimated travel time, 8 hours,

Munich -Vienna -408km, estimated travel time, 4.5 hours ,

Munich -Prague -382km, estimated travel time, 4.0 hours,

Berlin -Warsaw -592km, estimated travel time, 7.0 hours,

Berlin -Amsterdam-665km, estimated travel time, 6.5 hours

Berlin –Hamburg 290 km, estimated travel time, 3 hours,

Hamburg-Copenhagen 338 km, estimated travel time, 4 hours,

Munich-Frankfurt 393 km, estimated travel time, 3.5 hours,

Berlin-Frankfurt 553 km, estimated travel time, 5 hours,

Berlin -Prague– 362 km, estimated travel time, 3 hours 45,

Although I try and keep the information in the site updated as much as possible, in a rapidly moving world, situations can change daily. Therefore please use the site as an approximate guide, and in conjunction with other resources in order to form your view on driving conditions, roads, safety etc.

Germany Car Rental –
Not surprisingly all the major companies operate in Germany -Sixt, Hertz, Europcar, Alamo, National,Avis, Budget, Thrifty, Enterprise,  Dollar all have outlets across the country.It will also feature on all Car rental broker sites and Web discount sites . There will also be hundreds of small local companies in towns across Germany.

We currently have no local car rental partners in Germany. If you are a local car rental company who would like to feature on please check details on our Partnering page or contact us on

Germany Self Driving Rules-
You’ll generally be allowed to drive the car across international borders though there may be restrictions on taking higher spec vehicles into Eastern Europe.

Leave a Reply