To be able to legally drive in Germany, you need to have a valid driving license from your home country or an International Driving Permit. You also need to be 18 years old or older.
When driving, be especially careful with overtaking on Autobahns as cars from behind can approach very quickly. In the case of an accident, make sure you exchange details with the other driver, or wait until police arrive. If you hit a parked car, this still needs to be done. Unlike some other parts of the world, leaving your details behind in a note is generally not acceptable, and you may be charged with leaving the scene of an accident.
Police in Germany will often collect a fine on the spot, and there have been cases of cars being impounded until the fine is paid in the case of police suspecting the driver may leave the country without paying. Be sure to drive sensibly, and carry some cash just in case.
Talking on the phone while driving in Germany is illegal, and seatbelts must be worn at all times.
Children under 12 years of age, or under 5 ft in height must be seated in an appropriate child seat.
Driving while under the influence of alcohol is illegal in Germany, and a driver is regarded as over the legal limit if they have a blood alcohol concentration over 0.05.
German law states that all vehicles must have compulsory third party injury insurance, however your rental supplier should already have comprehensive insurance. In the case of an accident, it must be reported to the insurance provider immediately, and an excess will be due.
The last of the road signs above is a critical one to know to avoid a parking ticket. A sign with a P on it is used to indicate parking, but some of these have this dial sort of indicator above it. With your rental car, you will receive a parking disk which is a blue sign with a movable white dial on it with times. When you park in an area marked with the parking disk it will indicate how long you can park. Before you leave your car you pull out your parking disk, set it to your arrival time and place it on the dashboard of your car.
Please remember: if you’re driving in a city, there will be a lot of bikers everywhere. Be very careful when making a turn!