Getting around by car in Germany may be one of the best ways to travel from World Cup venue to venue and to see the sights.
The country's famous Autobahn motorway network covers over 6,000 miles, and like all other roads is generally well-maintained and sign-posted (with mainly internationally recognisable road signs).
All driving licences from EU member states are recognised in Germany, as are US driver's licences. If you're from the UK and have a licence consisting of a card and a sheet of paper, take both with you - technically the card is not valid without the paper (if in doubt, check with DVLA).
On many parts of the motorway network there is no speed limit - in a country that produces Porsches, Mercedes and BMWs, it's hardly surprising, is it!! However, not all sections of the Autobahn network are derestricted, so watch out for speed limit signs. You will see some that only come into effect at certain times (e.g. overnight) or in particular weather conditions (e.g. if it's wet). Watch out for speed limit signs with the words 'Bei Nässe' (When wet) underneath them, or others displaying a time, e.g. 22h-06h (10pm - 6am), and the word 'Lärmschutz' (Noise protection), which indicates that a speed limit applies during these hours to protect residents from undue traffic noise.
For cars towing trailers or caravans, the motorway limit is 80km/h (48mph).
On main roads in Germany, the normal limit is 100km/h (60mph). In towns and villages it is generally 50km/h (30mph). Beware! Many main roads in the country pass through small villages and the speed limit can suddenly come down from 100km/h to 50km/h, or even lower. Most locals observe these limits religiously, so you will often find cars braking quite hard as they enter such villages. When you leave the village at the other end, there's a sign to tell you that the local limit no longer applies.
Must be worn at all times in front and back. Kids aged 12 and below have to use booster seats. Motorcyclists and passengers must wear helmets.
Drink drive limit
The limit is 0.05 percent blood acohol content.
Must be used whenever the light is poor - expect to see German drivers switching on their lights at the slightest hint of cloud cover. Driving on side lights is not allowed. Motorcyclists must use dipped headlights in daylight.
If you're from the US, you're in for a shock. Petrol, OK gas for you, is a lot more expensive in Europe than it is on your side of the pond (around €1.20 a litre in Oct. 2004). As in most countries, it costs more to fill up on the motorway than elsewhere. Unleaded is 'bleifrei'.
Third-party insurance is obligatory. The German embassy recommends that drivers carry both an insurance certificate and a Green Card.
Hazard warning triangle
Curious, this one! It's not illegal not to carry one, but it is illegal not to use one if you break down! So better put one in the car!
Police have the authority to levy on-the-spot fines for minor motoring offences.