You may have heard good things about driving in Germany. Things like the highway does not have any speed limits. That may actually scare you. It depends on whether you have a need for speed…
Or you may be heard scary things. Like how you are used to the Right Hand Drive and you are worried.
But rest assured, German cars have earned themselves a pretty good reputation, so you are definitely safe in them.
General LHD info
Cars in Germany are Left Hand Drive (LHD), but it’s not too different from RHD. The accelerator is still on the right, brake in the centre. Just that your gear is now on your right. The slowest lane is now on your rightmost lane on the autobahn, and overtaking lane is on your left.
If you are used to driving continental cars in Asia, the left and right signal as well as windscreen wiper is still on the same side. But if you are used to driving Korean or Japanese cars, the signals might be on the opposite side.
In general when you are on the road, be careful of your sides. i.e. try not to go too much to the right. When we go from RHD to LHD, our perception change and you have to be mindful and not nick the side of you car because of that. Adjust your mirrors such that you can see the road markings in your side mirrors.
Speed limit at urban area is generally 50km/h, and residential areas 30km/h. There will usually be signs to remind you. We accidentally went over the limit a little, and the fine was around 30€.
The autobahn has some stretches that has speed limits, adhere to them and you will be fine. Some stretches are without speed limits, so go wild on the accelerator.
We relied greatly on the parkopedia app, which showed accurate information about parking rates, or even where to find free parking. It was a lifesaver, especially when you are on a budget/find it unworthy to splurge on parking unnecessarily.
But there is street parking available that is sometimes not on the app. Or you might wonder what it means.
If you a see this sign, it means you are good to park for free for 2 hours if you display the parking disc. Most rentals come with one, but we didn’t find it until the end of the trip.
Information from angelikasgerman:
The arrow on the disc points to the arrival time (Ankunftszeit).
The discs are set to only show every 30 minutes, so if you between 3.01 to 3.29, you set the arrow to point to 3.30.
So, if you park in an area where you can stay for two hours, if you’re lucky, you can stay a max of 2 hours and 29 minutes.
If you’d like, you can print your own here. Just in case the rental company doesn’t provide one and you don’t want to spend on it. But remember: If you do make your own, it MUST have the correct size, font and blue color. Do not print it a bit smaller or when the blue ink is almost empty – you risk being fined!
Driving in Germany isn’t that hard. Neither is it the easiest thing in the world. Do ample research on road signs if you have not been a frequent driver when traveling, or even back home. Most accidents happen to those infrequent drivers due to the lack of experience, but that should not deter you from having fun. After all that is what the license is for.
Do your due diligence and make sure you are not on the road when you are feeling tired. Take a break and stay safe!