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driving in germany...is there anything special i need to know?

driving in germany...is there anything special i need to know?

Feb 5th, 2006, 11:04 AM
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driving in germany...is there anything special i need to know?

we'll be driving from munich thru nuremburg and dresden and, lastly,on to berlin in the first part of april...

is there anything specifically about driving in germany which differentiates itself from italy, spain or france?

please share your experience of driving in germany, particularly this route...

thanks in advance.

subcon is offline  
Feb 5th, 2006, 12:13 PM
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About the same as the rest of Europe except that the signs are in German. There's the old joke of a French couple driving in Germany, and the driver asks the navigator in an exasperated voice: "Why can't you find this goddamn town of Umleitung?"
Michael is online now  
Feb 5th, 2006, 12:22 PM
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Similar joke about trying to find the steet called "Einbahnstraße". (which means one way street)

Not sure about Italy, Spain, or France, but in Germany you need to be aware of changes in speed limit on local streets, especially as you approach villages. Learn what the various speed limit change signes mean.

Autobahn exits are very well marked so getting around in Germany is very easy. Word for exit is Ausfahrt, entrance is Einfahrt.

J62 is online now  
Feb 5th, 2006, 12:26 PM
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Speed limit in towns is always 50km/h unless otherwise marked.
logos999 is offline  
Feb 5th, 2006, 12:41 PM
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Speed limit on roads outside towns: 100 km/h unless otherwise indicated

Speed limit on Autobahnen: none unless otherwise indicated (which is often nowadays).
Please be aware that the legally suggested speed is 130 km/h on Autobahnen. It really helps others on the road if you try to maintain that speed and going slower is not necessarily called for.

Please also be aware that it is mandatory to keep right on the Autobahn if at all possible. That means that even if you should be travelling at 200 km/h, you should switch lanes to the right until you hit traffic (well, a bit before the hit ).
Many of my fellow countrymen seem to be ignorant of this rule nowadays, but following the rule is essential to ensure safe driving at high speeds.

It is also vital that you never overtake on the right hand side. Travelling at high speeds needs some focus. It only works if one can be pretty certain that there is no danger to the right hand side when switching lanes to the right is necessary as a faster driver approaches from behind and has the right of way.

Right turns on red are prohibited, unless there is a small green arrow affixed to the traffic light. This indicates that you may turn right after coming to a full stop on the line of sight.
hsv is offline  
Feb 5th, 2006, 12:45 PM
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Fahrt doesn't mean what you think.
Robespierre is offline  
Feb 5th, 2006, 12:48 PM
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I'd suggest that you be familiar with the smaller towns on the way to your destination--or, even better, have the navigator keep an open map on his/her lap so that you can keep track of your progress. As I recall, the signage on the autobahn would list small towns on the way, but not usually the major town for which one is heading.
Pegontheroad is offline  
Feb 5th, 2006, 01:07 PM
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You might want to take a look at this site:


What CAN be confusing are the markings on the streets in the towns when it comes to where you can, and cannot, park.
Intrepid1 is offline  
Feb 5th, 2006, 03:24 PM
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Compared to Latin countries, German drivers on the whole stick to the rule of the road and except others to do so. They expect you especially to observe the right of way (priority) at junctions etc - they tend to assert their right and expect other traffic to give way. Also remember that in build-up areas, pedestrians at crossings have absolute right of way. If they step on the road you must stop (as in UK) and not ignore or drive around pedestrians as in Italy. Also Germans cherish their cars and keep them spotless, and don't look kindly to even a tiny nudge while you try to park. Even if you are in a rental car and fully covered, you want to avoid unpleasantness and having to complete an accident report form.
Alec is offline  
Feb 5th, 2006, 04:16 PM
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The Germans are the most skilled drivers in the world (IMHO)--and they expect all drivers to obey the rules of the road and to use common sense. Speed limits around the city areas and increased traffic have decreased autobahn speeds--BUT you should always be scanning your rear view mirror. A Porshe doing 180 mph covers a lot of ground QUICK!

As others have reminded, always stay to the right--and signal when changing lanes. And if you are driving very fast, be particularly alert when topping a crest in the roadway. Some of the worst crashes occur when traffic is suddenly stopped or slowed for some reason.

Have fun--enjoy driving on the best road system in the world.


Jinx Hoover
_jinx_ is offline  
Feb 5th, 2006, 04:28 PM
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My experiences are a bit different than others. I lived and drove in Germany for 6 years. I found German drivers to be more correct (legalistic) than those in Italy and France. On the other hand they were less forgiving if you had to make a last minute lane change.

I use to joke that if you made a mistake that they had to run into you. How else were you going to learn if they did not run into you?

I loved living in Germany but driving in Germany was no particular joy due to the aggressiveness of the drivers.

Regards, Gary
Gary_Mc is offline  
Feb 5th, 2006, 05:44 PM
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Yeah, that guy Bahnhof is almost as famous as Einbahn.
Robespierre is offline  
Feb 5th, 2006, 07:02 PM
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I remember a joke from when I lived in Germany. A G.I. in a phone booth saying", "I'm at the corner of Umleitung and Einbahnstrasse."

"When I first saw signs that said "Einbahnstrasse," I figured that meant "Main street."
Pegontheroad is offline  
Feb 5th, 2006, 07:11 PM
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Germany has been trying to crack down on aggressive driving. When we rented our car we got a pamphlet that said, for example, it is now illegal to make any sort of rude gesture at another driver or to flash your lights at a car ahead of you to try to get them to move aside.
RufusTFirefly is offline  
Feb 5th, 2006, 07:15 PM
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Oh, and although some stretches (not all) of the Autobahns have no set speed limits, you must drive at a speed appropriate for the road, traffic, and weather conditions--don't know how that is decided exactly. But I'd guess if it was a rain slick highway with lots of traffic, it might be frowned upon to drive at 150 mph.

Also, there is a recommend maximum speed on the Autobahn for the stretches without a set speed limit. If you are involved in an accident while driving over that recommended speed, there is a presumption of some negligence on your part. Similar to the rule for the black and yellow cautionary speed signs you see in the USA on curvey roads, Interstate on/off ramps, etc.
RufusTFirefly is offline  
Feb 5th, 2006, 07:22 PM
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driving in Germany... I remember very narrow streets not only in gothic parts of old towns, but also in quite modern suburbs, which should have been designed better, I also remember the joy of legally (!)speeding to work in the morning from the Alpine village to work in Munich, particularly if I had to wait until 100 cows or so went through the village street (therwise quite civilised) to pasture. I also remember not believing my luck when I was told that I could rent a Mercedes 300 E something with all possible and impossible (I admit I was a bit scared of this car and its 300 pages instruction manual in German) bells and whistles: that car never let me park to close to any bushes - it screamed bloody murder. The cost - a couple of years ago was sligtly less than $1000 a month - about $ 60 LESS than Volkswagen Golf - go figure.
Balm is offline  
Feb 5th, 2006, 08:07 PM
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This really happened. I flew from NY to London, met a friend and took the train to Dover. Then the ferry to Ostende and the train to Woflsburg; all without a night's rest. My friend had arrived in London a day or two earlier, so had some rest. The train was going through Köln, where we had to transfer, so each time the train stopped, I sort of tried to wake up to see where we were. I asked my friend, who replied that the town had something with "Aus" but couldn't quite remeber it or pronounce it. When we got off, my friend cried out "That's the town", pointing to the Ausgang sign.
Michael is online now  
Feb 5th, 2006, 11:05 PM
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on the autobahn.. keep right.. keep right.. keep right
lincasanova is offline  
Feb 6th, 2006, 01:20 AM
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German drivers might *possibly* be the world's best, but many of the drivers on German roads these days aren't German. And we've found that in recent years, Germany's autobahns have more foreign heavy rigs on them day and night than any other country in Europe and those truckers are NOT always the most considerate drivers (many drivers going 80 kph will have no remorse about hogging the left lane because the truck in the right lane is only going 75 kph). They're also chewing up the autobahns, with the result that road works are a constant annoyance on the most used autobahns. So if you use Mappy etc to plan your driving itineraries, take their calculations with a grain of salt.
BTilke is offline  
Feb 6th, 2006, 02:38 AM
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thanks to all (particularly useful was the website) who responded...

it appears as tho most of it is common sense as in the latin countries. now all i have to do is convince my wife that riding with her eyes open is a good idea for sightseeing along the way...
subcon is offline  

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