Euro 2024: Travel experts share six German laws holidaymakers need to be aware of ahead of football tournament to avoid huge fines

Travel experts have shared six German laws holidaymakers need to be aware of if they are travelling to the country for the Euros 2024 football tournament

Many will be heading off to Germany in the coming month as the Euro 2024 football tournament kicks off on 14 June. However, if you are heading to the country there are some laws you need to be aware of or you could face a fine of up to €1,500.

Experts at Lotus Car Rental have provided six German driving laws to watch out for. Many of these laws differ from the highway code in the UK and breaking them can result in a steep fine as well as points on your licence. In some cases, you may even be banned from driving in Germany. 

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Listed below are the six German laws that will stop you from paying a penalty.

Travel experts have shared six German laws holidaymakers need to be aware of if they are travelling to the country for the Euros 2024 football tournament. (Photo: Getty Images)Travel experts have shared six German laws holidaymakers need to be aware of if they are travelling to the country for the Euros 2024 football tournament. (Photo: Getty Images)
Travel experts have shared six German laws holidaymakers need to be aware of if they are travelling to the country for the Euros 2024 football tournament. (Photo: Getty Images) | Getty Images

Speed limits 

Similar to the UK, Brits need to make sure they’re sticking to the speed limit in other countries, such as Germany. It may be tempting to put your foot down, but make sure you’re not going faster than 100 km/h on main roads and 50 km/h in urban areas. 

On the autobahn, there are areas where there are no speed limits, and they are marked with circular white signs with four black diagonal lines. Some of the motorway has a 130 km/h advisory speed limit for all vehicles under 3.5 tonnes. Unlike most countries, Germany also has a minimum speed limit. Make sure you don’t drive slower than 60 km/h in the slow lane, 90 km/h in the middle lane, and 110 km/h in the fast lane.

According to Germany’s driving laws and regulations, if you go over or under the speed limit, you can find yourself paying a fine of €30-€800 depending on how much over/under you are, as well as facing a driving ban of up to 3 months.

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Traffic lights

In Germany, traffic lights are a little different. Before the light turns green, a yellow signal will come on at the same time as the red for a second. This gives drivers a chance to get ready before the green light comes on. 

You cannot make a right turn on a red light unless you encounter a specific situation where a green arrow pointing right alongside the red light permits right turns, provided you give way to other vehicles and pedestrians. One more light sign to be aware of, if you’re at a railway crossing and see a red flashing light, this means a train’s approaching so it’s vital you stop until the light stops flashing. 

Parking 

During your trip, chances are you’ll need to park your car somewhere. Therefore, it’s beneficial to know the parking regulations in Germany so that you don’t fall victim to on-the-spot fines and potential vehicle confiscation.

A vehicle is considered parked if it remains stationary for more than 3 minutes. Avoid parking within 10m of traffic lights, in bike lanes, areas marked with no-parking signs, obstructing building entrances, within 15 meters of a bus stop, or within 5 meters of pedestrian crossings.

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If you do find yourself parking illegally, you could be taking home a €5- 70 fine. Different violations result in different fines though, so if you find yourself parking on a motorway, you could end up with a €70 fine, compared to a €10-30 fine for parking near intersections.

However, this initial fine is just the beginning. Failure to pay within the specified timeframe could lead to additional penalties and an increased fine. If you depart Germany with an unpaid fine, you risk being barred from re-entering Germany or other EU countries on your next visit.

Stay on top of child safety 

Seatbelts must be worn at all times by both the driver and passengers. Failure to do so will land each person with a €30 fine on the spot. 

If you’re travelling with children you must remember the following laws for child safety in Germany:

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  • Children aged under three cannot travel without a child seat.
  • Children aged three or over must travel in the rear seats.
  • Any child under the age of 12 and less than 1.5m tall must use a child seat or restraint.
  • If a child seat or restraint is not available, and the child is over three, they may use a standard seatbelt.
  • All child seats and safety equipment must conform to European standards.

Licence and documentation

Make sure you have a full and valid UK driving licence before setting off in Germany. Make sure you keep this with you at all times alongside your proof of insurance, passport and your V5C certificate, which proves ownership of your car. 

Safety on the roads in Germany is a big deal, as well as these essential documents, drivers are also required to carry the following safety items in the car at all times or risk paying a fine. These are:

  • Warning triangle (compulsory in all vehicles with four wheels or more)
  • Reflective safety jackets
  • First aid kit
  • Beam deflectors
  • Safety helmet if riding a motorcycle

Drink driving 

If you're feeling joyful because England secured a victory or disappointed due to an unfavourable outcome, be mindful not to indulge in drinks at the pub and then drive. Drink driving restrictions are even tighter than the UK with a maximum level of blood alcohol volume of 0.05%. Ignoring this rule can lead to a €250 fine and two penalty points.

There is also a zero-tolerance rule in effect for drivers who have less than two years of experience or are under 21. If the police pull you over and suspect you of driving under the influence, they can ask you to take a breath test. If you refuse, you will be required to undergo a blood test instead.

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