Cars

Kind im Kindersitz

© istockphoto@BrianAJackson

Rhineland-Palatinate has a dense road network. The excellent road infrastructure connects the Rhine-Main, Rhine-Neckar and Rhine Ruhr business regions. It provides fast and easy access to neighbouring France, Luxembourg and Belgium.

We have gathered together a few tips for you about driving in Germany.

 

 

Driving in Germany

Right-hand driving applies in Germany. There are various speed limits depending on the type of street:

In cities the limit is 50 km/h.

  • Certain zones in cities are limited to 30 km/h
  • You can ordinarily drive at 100 km/h on highways
  • There is no generalised speed limit on express motorways (Autobahn) unless otherwise posted. The recommended speed is 130 km/h. However, there are special speed limits on many high-traffic or dangerous motorway segments.
Driving licence

When driving in Germany, you must always have your driving license and the vehicle license for your car with you, because these documents may be verified during traffic checks by police.

Citizens of the EU, Lichtenstein, Norway and Iceland do not need to re-register their driving license.

If you come from a different country, you may use your driving license in Germany for six months. This period begins from the day you register your residence in Germany. At the end of the six months, you need a German driving license. Whether or not you need to pass a driving test in Germany for this depends on the country from which you received your driving license.

You can find information about the validity of foreign driving licenses here:

Validity 

Registering and test your car

All cars in Germany must be registered. You can complete this registration at the nearest registration office. These registration offices are located in the district administration (Kreisverwaltung) or your city administration with registration office. To register you will need your vehicle license proving that the car belongs to you, as well as your automotive insurance policy.

If you bring your car with you from abroad, find out which papers you will need from the registration office at the city or district administration.

To drive a car in Germany, it must pass a general inspection (Hauptuntersuchung). This means that an expert must confirm that your car is safe and meets official emissions standards. You then receive a sticker on your car's license plate. Various providers, such as an authorised garage near you, can perform the general inspection. It must be repeated at regular intervals. Both the general inspection and car registration are fee-based.

www.bus.rlp.de (Unfortunately, this page is only available in German. Our Rhineland-Palatinate Welcome Centre will be happy to help you.)

Car insurance

To be allowed to drive in Germany, you must purchase motor vehicle liability insurance. It is also advisable to have comprehensive insurance or roadside assistance.

• Motor vehicle liability insurance: This insurance is required. Without motor vehicle liability insurance you cannot even register your car. This insurance covers third-party personal and property damage if you cause a car accident or an injury.

• Comprehensive insurance: This is an optional insurance. Partial and full comprehensive insurance are available. Partial comprehensive insurance generally covers the following damage to your vehicle:

o Theft or robbery
o Fire and explosion
o Storm, hail, lightning strike, flooding
o Collisions with certain animals (such as stags or deer)
o Broken glass
o Damage to wiring from a short-circuit

The full comprehensive insurance applies in addition for any collision damage – i.e. also for collisions in which you are at fault – as well as damage caused by vandalism. It is primarily of interest for new vehicles where such losses could be particularly high. The cost of comprehensive insurance depends among other things on the deductible (Selbstbehalt). This is the amount that you must pay yourself in case of a claim. It is generally around €150 for partial comprehensive and €300 to €500 for full comprehensive insurance.

• Roadside assistance (Schutzbrief): With roadside assistance, the provider covers the costs if you have a breakdown or accident, for example, and need towing or a rental car. Often roadside assistance also includes medical transport. You can contract for roadside assistance with vehicle insurance companies and automotive clubs.

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