Driving in Germany with a US license: You need to know this


The German “Autobahn” is a federal controlled-access highway system in Germany. It’s a federal motorway system that made Germany famous.

What everyone knows and enjoys is the special thrill to drive your Mercedes or BMW rental car at 150 mph on a busy highway. It’s like going on a thrill ride at Six Flags, but there is a real danger here, and there are rules.

German autobahns have no federally mandated speed limit for some classes of vehicles, however limits are posted and enforced in areas that are urbanized, substandard, accident-prone, or under construction. Authorities recommend a speed of 130 km (81 mph) as a non-binding guideline.


Driving on US freeways is easy and cars flow on several lanes, sometimes cars passing to your left and to your right. This is an absolute no go in Germany.

Passing a car to the right is a major traffic infraction close to a misdemeanor in the United States. There are severe fines in place. The no passing on the right rule is in place in all EU countries and in most of Europe. It applies not only to freeways, but is in place when driving on any highway.

For those speaking German check out www.kfz-auskunft.de This information portal may get you some additional insight.