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What do I need to drive in Germany?

Compulsory items include:

Recommended items:

What documents do you need to carry?

  • A full UK driving licence (you will need both the photo and paper counterpart. If you don’t have a photo license you should carry your passport or we recommend an International Driving Permit)
  • Evidence of motor insurance – third party cover is compulsory. Green Card recommended.
  • The vehicle’s registration document or a Vehicle on Hire Certificate – originals not photocopies.

Useful driving information

  • You must be 18 or over to drive in Germany
  • Wearing a seatbelt is compulsory, the same as the UK
  • No motorways tolls
  • You can’t use radar detection devices for speed cameras.
  • Children under 12 or less than 1.5m must be restrained with appropriate devices. The used of rear facing bay seats in the front of the car is prohibited unless the passenger airbag is disabled.
  • It is recommended that you use dipped headlights or running lights at all times. In bad weather conditions it is compulsory to do so.
  • Flashing yellow lights at junctions mean you have to stop.
  • You can’t overtake a school bus if it is slowing down and getting ready to stop.
  • Certain cities have “green zones” where you need to have a permit to drive. These cost around 5-10 euros for the life of the car and can be purchased at repair centres or car dealerships. You’ll need to show your V5 registration document.
  • In built up areas you must give way to traffic from the right unless there is a sign with a yellow diamond on a white background.

German road and motorway speed limits

Police treat speeding very seriously, we advise all drivers to know the speed limits for roads while driving in Germany.

These limits apply to private vehicles with or without a trailer:

  • Towns: 50 km/h (20-30 km/h in certain areas
  • Secondary rural roads: 100 km/h on most roads
  • Motorways: 130 km/h

Local speed variations apply so please be aware of road signs and restrictions.

Drink-drive alcohol limits

  • Standard drivers: 0.5 g/l
  • New drivers: 0.0 g/l (a new driver is someone under 21 or having held a license for less than 2 years)
  • Professional drivers: 0.0 g/l

If you have a blood level exceeding 0.5 you will face penalties of fines and being banned from driving in Germany.

Drivers aged 21 or under and professional drivers have a zero limit – you cannot drink any alcohol and drive.

Emergency numbers

If you need to contact the emergency services you’ll need to dial 112.


Whilst we endeavour to keep this information updated, the rules and regulations related to driving in Europe may change without notice and this information may contain technical inaccuracies. We cannot be held responsible for information which may become out of date or liability for incorrect information.

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