If you come to Germany you might want to rent a car to travel around - so it's important to know the traffic rules which differ to other countries. Many people are keen on driving the Autobahn without speed limits but not all roads are free of speed restrictions.

On German motorways about 50% are unlimited so you are allowed to drive as fast as the circumstances (traffic, weather) allow. On those parts 130 km/h is the recommended speed but not a limit. The other half of the motorways are limited to anything from 80 to 130 km/h. These limits are enforced and if caught speeding foreigners will have to pay immediately (or leave valuables if found without cash). You need to watch out for signs regulating the traffic from 10pm to 6am at night.  In any case you should follow the limit signs as radar traps are frequent especially in the eastern part of Germany. Go on reading for more driving facts like the alcohol restrictions or car rental basics.

Caution Note for Foreign drivers.  Be sure to study maps and know your routes well before driving.  Compared to other highways in the world, some stretches of the autobahn do not provide any convenient opportunities to turn around if you are driving in the wrong direction. However do not feel pressed, the next exit is normally no further than 10 km away and you can easily turn there. (In some rare cases this distance can stretched to slightly above 20 km).

Be prepared to pull over as soon as possible to review routes if the GPS navigation system provides questionable instructions.   Such systems have sent drivers in the wrong direction. This advice is only valid on normal road. Pulling over on a motorway just to find your way is forbidden. Head for the next rest area instead.

GPS has also been known to lead drivers onto pedestrian-only paths.  Yes,  European roads can get small.  To the foreign driver, this similarity of small roads and certain non-automobile paths, may result in awkward moments.

 Driving in Germany is on the right side of the road. On Autobahnen, one must take the right lane and is only allowed to use the left for overtaking. Overtaking on the right lane is not permitted. For people who come from countries with strict speed limits, the difference in speed can be quite substantial on the Autobahn. 100 mph are not considered fast and speeds up to 150 mph are regularly encountered.

One important point: Contrary to what Lonely Planet says, flashing your lights is not illegal. It is, if done in the right way, a perfectly legal way to tell the driver in front of you you want to overtake. Remember, only once and always keep your distance.

One important point is that Germany is a pretty densely populated country so do not expect empty roads.