If you wish to drive in Germany, you should inquire whether your driver's license will be recognized there. More information in this article.
If you are a citizen of the EU-EEA, your can freely drive in Germany with your national driver's license.
If you're a national from outside the EU-EEA, you can drive in Germany with your national driving license for a period up to six months, with a possible extension of six additional months if your stay does not exceed one year in total. You may be required to provide an official translation of your driver's license plus a certification of permission to drive ("Zertifizierung der Fahrerlaubnis"). Check with your national embassy or consulate in Germany to find out more about special requirements to drive in in the country. After a year, and if your country has signed agreements with Germany on driver's license exchange, you must exchange your national driver's license for a German driver's license.
Driver's license exchange
To exchange your national driver's license for a German driver's license ("Führerschein"), you must go to the local administrative department or town hall's driving licence office and provide a valid ID, an original proof of residence in Germany plus a photocopy (visa, residence permit etc.), a passport-sized photo (signed on the back), your original national driver's license plus a photocopy, an official translation into German of your national license and a photocopy, confirmation from the Office for Foreigners ("Landeseinwohneramt") of the duration of residency in Germany ("Aufenthaltserlaubnis"). An eye test is sometimes performed. Fees for the driver's license exchange apply. A few weeks are necessary to get one's German driver's license.
If you are a citizen from outside the EU-EEA and in the case you cannot exchange your national driver's license for a German driver's license, you will have to take driving tests (both practical and theoretical) after a year in Germany.
For more information about driving in Germany, please visit the German Ministry of Transport website.
Regarding driving rules, be aware that using a mobile phone is not allowed except engine off or with a hands-free kit. All passengers must fasten their seatbelts. The speed limit is set at 50 km/h in built-up area, but there some sections are limited to 30 km/h. Outside built-up areas, speed limit is set at 80 km/h or 100 km/h depending on the roads. German highways are free but often in poor condition. There are no speed limits but it is strongly advised not to exceed 130 km/h. Most degraded sections are limited to 100 km/h or 120 km/h.
Good to know:
In Germany, it is compulsory to insure your vehicle. A technical inspection must be performed regularly.
Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Affairs www.bmvi.de