Driving in Germany

Hey so I was thinking about learning how to drive in Germany. I was reading up on everything you could be fined for on https://www.bussgeld-info.de/ seems to be so many different types of fines. I´m sure its probably the same in Ireland. Anyone know how well German roads are monitored? Are they safe for learner drivers?

Aisling12 :

Hey so I was thinking about learning how to drive in Germany. I was reading up on everything you could be fined for on https://www.bussgeld-info.de/ seems to be so many different types of fines. I´m sure its probably the same in Ireland. Anyone know how well German roads are monitored? Are they safe for learner drivers?

Hi Aisling12,

If you take driving classes in Germany, that alone helps to know how the road rules work in Germany, nevertheless violations and appropriate fines. With regard to your question, "how well German roads are monitored?", I would say, just as well as how laws and regulations must be followed. :-))

I am not quite sure if this answers all your questions. I have to say, your questions are a little confusing.

Kind regards,
B

Driving is never entirely safe, anywhere.
But Germany is safer than most other countries - except maybe on the (thankfully few) portions of the expressway whithout any speed limit.
Speeding is monitored by the many speed cameras (with high associated fines), as is false parking (especially in the cities). Everything else less so.

Here’s the thing, driving freedom in German is a paradox. About half of the Autobahn has no speed limit. So how do they manage that without there being lots of terrible accidents which would occur if it were really a libertarian fantasy of no controls? The answer is that it is only possible in the context of other strict regulations and standards. The driving schools are very comprehensive – and expensive. It usually cost a few thousand Euros to get a driver’s license so foreigners inevitably get one in another EU country and then take advantage of the unified exchange provision amongst EU countries after having immigrated.  If they are just coming for 6 months I think they can simply use their home country license. Few people choose to get the license in Germany when they have other possibilities.

And while fines for driving or parking violations are even higher in some countries like Switzerland, there is little tolerance for reckless driving here. Something like driving in the right hand lane and passing on the left on the Autobahn are sacrosanct. This idea exists in other countries but is regularly ignored. Do so in Germany and then one might get back-sided from someone driving 200 KPH. And there are numerous cameras that take a picture if one drives too fast or runs a red light, so yes, streets are generally well monitored.

Wow I had no idea learning to drive in Germany was so expensive!!

Aisling12 :

Wow I had no idea learning to drive in Germany was so expensive!!

Well now you know. I definitely wouldn't put it on one of my "things to do in Germany list". And living in cities like Berlin, most people really don't need a car. The convenience of public transportation especially if one take advantage of things like monthly passes, usually outweighs the cost and hassle of having a car and finding somewhere to park it.

Aisling12 :

Wow I had no idea learning to drive in Germany was so expensive!!

If you are learning to drive in the UK including the test it will set you back €3000

SimCityAT :

If you are learning to drive in the UK including the test it will set you back €3000

Germany is similar!

I am shocked !!! In Ireland the whole process i.e 12 compulsary lessons, a theory test and a practical test would probably come in all together to 700-800 euro. A lot cheaper! I think I will wait till I move back home whenever that may be, to begin driving

Yes, the cost of the (few) compulsory lessons and both tests (theory and driving) once is also around that, but this is a largely theoretical price, as nobody can really learn driving in those few lessons - most people need a multiple - and more than half fail one of the tests (and re-taking it means more lessons needed).
It’s still much less than the price of a car, though.

I know of a good driving instructor from Frankfurt in case anyone is needing this - Sebastian from Metz Driving School is a very friendly and patient gentleman who helped me becoming accustomed on the German roads.

ALthough I consider my self a good driver (by Indian standards haha!) it is a lot of different rules and style in Germany, and a good idea to have a refresher and make it easier and give more confidence, especially in the city and on the autobahn

Indian_Cricket_Warrior :

I know of a good driving instructor from Frankfurt in case anyone is needing this - Sebastian from Metz Driving School is a very friendly and patient gentleman who helped me becoming accustomed on the German roads.

ALthough I consider my self a good driver (by Indian standards haha!) it is a lot of different rules and style in Germany, and a good idea to have a refresher and make it easier and give more confidence, especially in the city and on the autobahn

This sounds like unallowed advertising and to suggest that an Indian simply needs a refresher course is strange. In fact, after 6 months of residency they need to get a German license and will not have an exchange provision.

Aisling12 :

Wow I had no idea learning to drive in Germany was so expensive!!

Yes, driving license is not cheap. 1300 € to 2500 € is normal. It depends on how good you are.

Well actually I hold a UK driving licence as well, having passed tests both in India and UK, soooo...

And I've just joined - c hill out a bit Tom, just trying to be helpful in the forum and give my experiences

Indian_Cricket_Warrior :

Well actually I hold a UK driving licence as well, having passed tests both in India and UK, soooo...

And I've just joined - c hill out a bit Tom, just trying to be helpful in the forum and give my experiences

Chill out yourself. That is a rather passive-aggressive response to being called out for giving misleading advise. Everyone is welcome to contribute here but at least try to get things right. And if one has a UK driver's license then they also need to get a German one after 6 months of residency but should might still be able to exchange without taking courses and exams - assuming the conditions for EU members still applies until now post-Brexit.

Citizens from the EU/EEA (European Economic Area) can always drive in Germany using their national licence but everyone else will need to get a German driver’s licence after their first six months of residence in Germany.

SimCityAT :

Citizens from the EU/EEA (European Economic Area) can always drive in Germany using their national licence but everyone else will need to get a German driver’s licence after their first six months of residence in Germany.

Not correct! EU citizens, like many others, can use licenses from their home countries – as tourists or for up to 6 months after establishing residency. Or it can often be extended up to 12 months if their residency is limited to this time period. But haven gotten German residency, they have to go in and exchange, or present, their home license for a German one.

For licenses of some countries, or different US States, it can mean a direct exchange without having to take any exams or schooling. For some it means taking all or part of the normal courses and exams. EU citizens should be able to exchange with no requirements but they cannot legally just keep driving in Germany after this time if they are a resident without a German license.  I have researched and posted about this in the past.

For Americans from States that even have an exchange provision with Germany, they have up to 3 years after getting residency to make the exchange or else they have to do all of the schooling and exams. After 6 months they could not legally drive just with their American license after getting residency but they have longer to do the exchange. I know an American living here for about 8 years who never bothered as he never bought a car. He still managed to rent cars within the first few years just showing his American license and the car rental places just assumed he was a tourist. Luckily, he didn’t have an accident because he would have had some trouble for not having gotten a German license in time although he maintained validity of his US one.

Well I've been living in Germany for 2 years or so and I've not had to exchange for a German licence and have been using my English one to rent cars and for refresher driving lessons.

In practice no one checks so I think you'll be fine using another EU licence.

Indian_Cricket_Warrior :

Well I've been living in Germany for 2 years or so and I've not had to exchange for a German licence and have been using my English one to rent cars and for refresher driving lessons.

In practice no one checks so I think you'll be fine using another EU licence.

Its EU law, yes you will have to change your UK license now due to Brexit, but you have until the end of the year.

Ew not good..don´t mean to be contoversial but am not a fan of Brexit

Brexit was a very bad idea I am afraid it will negatively impact the German-British relationship.  I suppose I will have to look into upgrading my UK driving licence, although I think it is very likely that they come up with some agreeement by the end of the year that makes UK licences valid in Germany and EU licences valid in UK

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If you drive without a valid license and get caught, you will have to pay a fine. That is probably bearable.
But if you cause an accident, the (compulsory) car insurance that covers the damage will NOT pay without you having a valid license!
Such damage might include a damaged car, emergency and medical expense of its passengers, police and fire brigade operations, other damages, etc. and can easily run in the hundreds of thousands of Euros. If you cannot settle that from your own pocket, you might well end up in jail.
This is a risk you should not take!
Go and get a German driving license if you intend to stay in Germany for longer than six months. Or don't drive!

I have to post a correction and apology. I was mistaken about EU licenses having to be exchanged.

It seems they are in fact valid for driving in Germany after getting residency under certain conditions.  If they have to be replaced due to expiration, being lost, stolen or damaged after getting residency then it has to be exchanged for a German license and not one from the person’s home country. If an EU citizen lives more than 2 years in another country and their home country license has a life-long validity and required by the country of residency. Or if one has a driving violation in their country of residence, then they have to obtain a local license. The details of the last 2 conditions are not so clear to me; like what level of traffic offense; a parking ticket or speeding a few KM over the limit? The information is found here:

https://europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/v … dex_en.htm

Here is another link with related information:

https://europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/v … dex_de.htm

TominStuttgart :

I have to post a correction and apology. I was mistaken about EU licenses having to be exchanged.

It seems they are in fact valid for driving in Germany after getting residency under certain conditions.  If they have to be replaced due to expiration, being lost, stolen or damaged after getting residency then it has to be exchanged for a German license and not one from the person’s home country. If an EU citizen lives more than 2 years in another country and their home country license has a life-long validity and required by the country of residency. Or if one has a driving violation in their country of residence, then they have to obtain a local license. The details of the last 2 conditions are not so clear to me; like what level of traffic offense; a parking ticket or speeding a few KM over the limit? The information is found here:

https://europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/v … dex_en.htm

Here is another link with related information:

https://europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/v … dex_de.htm

I would add that the link I provided above is showing EU regulations and not specifically German ones. Sometimes there are differences or even what seems like contradictions. I looked at the German Immigration website and found the following link with just a short notice saying;
“Validation of your driving license: You can drive in Germany for up to six months with a foreign driving license. You may be required to acquire a German driving license after six months.”

https://www.bamf.de/EN/Themen/Migration … -node.html

This is not very specific since there are lots of conditions where one does eventually have to exchange for a German license even for EU citizens. I found a further site that gives much more detail and the legal basis but only in German:

http://www.verkehrsportal.de/fuehrersch … schein.php

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