Driving In Germany - New Laws 2017

Driving In Germany - New Laws 2017

Germany is a popular driving destination for tourists. Drivers from all over the world flock here to drive on the legendary Autobahn. But, if you want to drive in Germany, it's vital that you know the rules of the road. And, like any other country, the laws are always changing. Keep reading to learn about the new laws introduced for driving in Germany, leaving you to drive carefree on the world's most famous motorways.

General road rules in Germany

The rules for driving in Germany are generally the same as in the rest of the European Union (with the exception of the UK). Vehicles drive on the right-hand side of the road. All drivers must carry their licence, vehicle registration, and insurance documentation. As in many other countries, all passengers and drivers must wear their seatbelt at all times, and any small children must be in a child seat.

At intersections or junctions, diamond-shaped signs with a white border and yellow centre let you know if you have right of way. On busy roads without any of these signs, drivers should allow any car turning right on the road to enter. 

Like in many other places, such as the United States, drivers going faster than the speed of traffic should move into the left lane to overtake. 

Speed limits

The reason the German Autobahn are so famous is that there are no speed limits on many parts of the road. In fact, there is no national speed limit in Germany. On any road that has two lanes of traffic travelling in either direction and where there is no signposted speed limit, drivers can generally go as fast as they like. There is a recommended speed limit of 130km/h (80mph), but this is not enforced.

Whilst these stretches of road have made the Autobahn known around the world, more than half of the Autobahn roads do have a speed limit. Drivers of large trucks or vehicles with trailers are subject to a national 80km/h (around 49mph). Aditionally, even on roads with no speed limits, drivers who travel at excessive speeds may be held responsible for damages caused in an accident.

Drinking and driving

Besides the Autobahn, beer may be what Germany is best known for! Visitors may be surprised to learn that Germany has some of the strictest drink driving laws in the EU. These laws can be complex, and punishments and fines vary depending on the situation. Let's take a look at some of the drink driving regulations in Germany.

Legal limit

Many EU countries have a legal limit of 0.05% blood alcohol content (BAC). Germany is stricter. Although the legal drinking age is 16 for beer and wine and Germans can get their driving licence at 18, drivers under the age of 21 cannot drink at all. The same rule applies for drivers who have had their licence for less than two years. For professional drivers, such as taxi drivers or commercial truck drivers, the limit is also 0.00% BAC while on the job.

If you decide to have a beer or two before hitting the road in Germany, be cautious. If you're involved in an accident or commit any other traffic offence (such as speeding), your blood alcohol content must be 0.03%. If it is over this limit, you could be charged with driving under the influence in addition to any other charges.

In normal circumstances, the legal limit for drivers in Germany is 0.05% BAC, the same standard used in most EU countries.


The penalties for driving under the influence in Germany are severe. Any drink driving offence will result in a fine of at least 500 EUR and loss of your licence for at least a month. If your BAC was higher than 0.11%, you can lose your driving licence for at least six months.

For those caught driving with a BAC of 0.16% or higher, the penalties get worse. Drivers over this limit can not only lose their licence for a year and face large fines, they will also have to pass a psychological assessment and prove they have been sober for a year in order to get their licence back.


As you can see from this guide, people have many misconceptions about driving in Germany. German roads are not the lawless, dangerous highways many think they are. In fact, Germany has many regulations designed to keep their famous Autobahn safe for tourists and citizens alike to enjoy.

Make sure your bulbs are in perfect working condition before you set off on your drive.

Shop car bulbs here.