German Driving Laws: What You Need To Know When Travelling During The Euro 2024

Issue 99

The prospect of driving abroad can fill many with trepidation, with 76% of British motorists confessing to nerves when driving on the continent.

However, with UK fans having allocations of up to 10,000 tickets and many more soaking up the atmosphere in fan zones, some drivers will be looking to face their fears when travelling to Euro 2024 in Germany.

England’s group games are concentrated within the north-west of the country – in the cities of Gelsenkirchen, Frankfurt and Cologne – so driving may be a suitable way of navigating between games while sampling some of the local culture in the process.

With this in mind, travelling fans will want to brush up on German driving laws.

Luxury car retailer, Jardine Motors, have compiled a list of their top driving tips for Deutschland – from licensing and insurance requirements to safe driving on the autobahn.


License and Insurance Requirements

First and foremost, British drivers should ensure they have the appropriate documentation before driving abroad. This is crucial as you’ll need to present these if you’re stopped and ask for proof. This includes:

– A valid Great Britain and Northern Ireland driving license.

– UK passport.

– Vehicle registration certificate.

– Motor insurance certificate.

– Travel insurance documents.

Car insurance is mandatory in Germany, so be sure to confirm your coverage extends to driving abroad. Clarifying this with your insurance provider before departure can help avoid any last-minute complications.

You may also be wondering whether you need an International Driving Permit (IDP) as required in some countries. At present, Germany does not require foreign travellers to acquire international driving permits. However, neighbouring countries such as Austria do, so you’ll need to consider this depending on your means of getting to Deutschland.

Does the autobahn really have no speed limit?

Myths of Germany’s limitless autobahn may inspire excitement and trepidation in equal measure. The autobahn is one of the German road network’s most iconic features – a series of motorways born in the 1920s famous for its stretches without general speed limits.

While it’s true that many sections of the autobahn allow for unrestricted speeds, it’s essential to note that many specific zones might have speed limits posted, just as in the UK.

Wary drivers can rest assured that German driving licenses are some of the most difficult and expensive driving certifications to obtain, with the general standard of driving being very high across the country. The road network is also consistently praised for its unmatched safety record.

Here are some key considerations for safety and success:

– Tourist drivers should remain in the right lane whenever possible. Much like British motorways, drivers must remain on the inside lanes unless overtaking.

– Fill up before long stretches. Germany is famous for its on-the-spot fines for most driving offences, and this includes running out of fuel.

– The adage ‘Mirrors and Signals’ rings true. With some vehicles travelling more than 100mph, ensure to check your mirrors fastidiously before indicating as early as possible to alert other drivers of your intentions.

– Don’t be afraid to take a break. Long autobahn stretches can be mentally taxing and demand a high level of concentration. Service stations will be positioned at regular intervals for you to refresh and stretch your legs.

Other Top Tips for Driving in Germany

Driving in a new country can be both thrilling and challenging. Here are some additional tips to enhance the driving experience for football fans travelling to Germany:

Familiarise yourself: Before setting off, you’ll want to acquaint yourself with your hire vehicle – be it a hot hatchback or a used Mercedes. Remember, German cars are left-hand drive, so you’ll be looking left at roundabouts and using your right hand to change gear. Opting for an automatic transmission car may help you here.

Fuel up before autobahn stretches: While service areas are frequent along the autobahn, it’s advisable to fuel up before embarking on longer stretches, especially if driving during off-peak hours.

Stay on the right, pass on the left: The golden rule on the autobahn is to stay on the right unless overtaking. This ensures a smooth flow of traffic and contributes to overall road safety.

Signs and symbols: While some road signs are universal, others have variations from the norm, and some are completely unique to Germany. Make sure to brush up on these before departure. The RAC have compiled a useful overview here. Some basic working knowledge of German can be helpful, too, for translating signs and traffic alerts.

Learn speed limits: Remember all speed limits will be in kph as opposed to mph, so it’s wise to acquaint yourself with the metric equivalents for road signs and your speedometer. 130 kph (80mph) is generally an advisory speed for autobahn driving.

Adapt to local driving etiquette: Germans are known for their disciplined driving habits. Follow the rules, be courteous to other drivers and maintain a safe following distance – you should always be able to see the bottom of the tyres of the car in front.

Be prepared for toll roads: While Germany does not have a widespread toll system like some other European countries, there are specific tolls for using certain tunnels, bridges, and mountain passes. Research your route to be aware of any tolls you might encounter.


As football enthusiasts rev up their preparation for the 2024 European Championships in Germany, taking the time to understand the country’s various driving laws and road culture is essential.

From the famous autobahn to deciphering road signs and adapting to local driving etiquette, being well-informed will not only ensure a safe journey but can also contribute to an unforgettable Deutschland driving experience.

Sign-up to our newsletter

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.