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Road Rules and Traffic Regulations in Germany - Driving Nuances

1. All roads in Germany are toll free. Payments should be made only when entering the territory of special ecological zones (Umweltzone) that are located in the center of some large cities. Drivers will also need to pay for entering two large tunnels - Warnowtunnel and Herrentunnel.
2. Motorists, who expect to travel in the territory of ecological zones, must obtain a special «Plakette» sticker (the label is attached to the inner part of the windshield). It gives the right to enter the territory of Umweltzone zones in all cities of the country.
3. The stickers can be bought in special centers of technical inspection. The cost of such a sticker ranges from 5 to 15 euro, depending on the brand of a car (precisely, depending on the pollution produced by a particular car).
4. It is permitted to travel through the territory of cities without the Plakette label, but in this case it is strictly prohibited to enter the territory of ecological zones. Any attempt to travel in the Umweltzone territory without the sticker is due to a fine of 40 euro.
5. The cost of driving in the Warnowtunnel tunnel is about 3.5 euro for cars and about 4.5 euro for trucks and trailers. The ride through the Herrentunnel tunnel will cost motorists a lot cheaper – approximately 1.5 euro for cars, and around 2.5 euro for trucks and trailers.
6. There is a lack of parking space in major cities of the country. Moreover, in many streets only local residents are allowed to park their cars (Anliegerfrei). Parking in a wrong place will result in a large fine, and parking against the traffic is considered one of the most serious violations of traffic regulations.
7. In order to use some free public parking, you will need a special Parkscheibe disc, which can be purchased at petrol stations. The disc is secured under the windshield and before you leave the car, you will need to mark the time of arrival to the parking lot on it. The disk must be clearly visible.

Nuances of Car Rental in Germany

To save on your rental, we advise to book your car in advance. You will save the most if you do this several weeks or even several months prior to your trip. Rental offices in Germany usually raise rental prices over time, based on the number of cars left available for the accounting period.

When looking for an exotic car (cabriolet, minivan or limousine), we advise to check in the rental offices located at airports, as they usually provide much wider choice comparing to offices in urban areas.

Upon receipt of invoices, bills and documents for your car at the rental location, please compare the obtained data with your voucher. Quite often, employees of rental offices in Germany try to add optional charges or services without informing customers.

It is very important to pick up your car at the rental office in Germany in a correct way. Prior to leaving the office, carefully inspect the car for various defects, and ensure that all the discovered defects are mentioned in your rental documents. In case of a non-compliance found, place a demand for correction to the rental officer.

You can always check our car actual rental offers in Germany. Simply use the search form at the top of the page. We guarantee that you will not find better prices anywhere else!
8. The Parkschein type of parking is also very common in the country. When entering their territory, you will need to take a special card or a plastic coin, and when you’re about to leave the cost of parking is paid through a special machine. Typically, these machines are located near the exits for pedestrians.
9. Different types of roads have different speed limits. For instance, the maximum speed of driving in a town or village is 50 km/h. The maximum permitted speed outside any settlements is 100 km/h. When driving on a highway, there is no limit, but the recommended speed is 130 km/h.
10. Drivers should also not forget that there is the low speed limit of 60 km/h when driving on a highway (autobahn). Vehicles with snow chains have another limit - 50 km/h.
11. Driving in a drunken state is a serious violation. For persons over 21 years, the maximum level of alcohol in blood is 0.5 ‰. There is no punishment provided for this level of alcohol only if a driver acted properly on the road.
12. If the content of alcohol in blood exceeds 0.5 ‰, then the driver will be fined the amount of 500 euro as the first warning. The second violation of this type will result in a fine of 1000€ and a driving ban for a period of 90 days. Finally, drivers who get caught for the third time will have to pay a fine of 1,500 euro and will not be permitted to drive for 3 months.
13. If the content of alcohol in blood exceeds 1.1 ‰, in addition to a large fine drivers may face imprisonment for up to six months, and a driving ban for 5 years. Drivers under 21 years who have a driving experience of less than two years are not permitted to drink alcohol at all.
14. When driving, motorists should always use low beams. It must be turned on in case of rain, snow and fog. Driving with only fender lights turned on is not allowed - this is one of the most serious violations of traffic regulations.
15. Children under 12 years old can be transported in a vehicle only if it contains a special child seat and seat belts that fully comply with height and weight of a child. Children under 3 years and children whose height is less than 150 cm can only travel in the back of a car.
16. If the abovementioned rules are not followed, this will result in a fine of 40 euro (for transportation of one child) and 50 euro (if several children are transported).
17. While moving, all passengers must have their seat belts fastened. This applies to passengers who sit in the back seat of a car. The penalty for violating this rule is 30 euro.
18. Drivers, who often make and receive phone calls while driving, will need to purchase a headset. The use of a cell phone during the movement without a headset is also the reason for a fine of 40 euro.
19. The fine issued for a minor traffic regulations violation can be paid to a police officer. If there’s no cash, the payment can be made by a credit card. If a driver does not pay the fine for some reason, his car can be confiscated.
20. Do not try to reduce the fines by filling a claim to court. In this case, their size may increase substantially. The reason for this fact is that the court takes into account the level of income of the violator when calculating the amount of fines.
21. Local petrol stations sell non-ethylated gasoline and diesel fuel. The most popular type of gasoline is E10 (containing 10% ethanol), but it is suitable not for all types of vehicles.
22. Driving on local roads on snow tires is not permitted, as well as driving on summer tires in winter. In winter period, riding on some mountain roads is permitted only for vehicles equipped with snow chains. Such roads are marked with special warning signs.
23. In addition to the required set of documents, drivers should have a first aid kit, spare bulbs and a warning triangle.
24. Drivers with GPS-navigators should deactivate the function that specifies the location of surveillance cameras on roads. The use of this software is also included in the number of serious violations of traffic regulations. It is also prohibited to use radar detectors. The fine for this violation is 75 euro.
25. In addition to monetary penalties drivers get points for serious violations of the traffic rules. These points are recorded in the police database. When a driver gets a certain number of points, he/she may be suspended from driving a vehicle.
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