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National Transport
German Traffic Signs & Signals (Page 2 of 2)

This page last updated January 31, 2018

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Parking signs

In this section are all signs related to parking, both prohibition signs against parking as well as signs indicating where parking is allowed.

Sign 283 Sign 286 Sign 290-1 Sign 290-2
No stopping
Stopping or standing on the roadway on the same side where this sign is posted is prohibited
No parking
Prohibits leaving your vehicle or otherwise stopping on the roadway on the same side where this sign is posted for more than 3 minutes except for passenger boarding/discharging and loading/unloading
Parking restriction zone
Posted at entrances to a neighborhood or area where parking is prohibited on all streets in the area until the "End of parking restriction zone" sign is reached
End of parking restriction zone
 

Sign 283-20 Sign 283-30 Sign 283-10
No stopping (end)
This sign marks the end of a no stopping area (i.e. no stopping prior to this sign
on the same side of the street where it is posted)
No stopping
Stopping or standing on the roadway is prohibited in either direction on the same side where this sign is posted
No stopping (start)
This sign marks the beginning of a no stopping area (i.e. no stopping beyond this sign
on the same side of the street where it is posted)

Sign 286-20 Sign 286-30 Sign 286-10
No parking (end)
This sign marks the end of a no parking area 
(i.e. no parking prior to this sign on the same side of the street where it is posted)
No parking
Parking on the roadway is 
prohibited in either direction on the same side where this sign is posted
No parking (start)
This sign marks the beginning of a no parking area 
(i.e. no parking beyond this sign on the same side of the street where it is posted)

SIDEBAR: Understanding parking sign arrows

Sign 283
Sign 1060-31
Sign 286
Sign 1060-31
Sign 229
Sign 1050-31
Tow-away zone
Tow-away zone
No stopping on shoulder No parking on shoulder Taxi stand
This area is reserved for taxis only-- other vehicles may not stop here; the supplemental sign indicates the number of taxis allowed to wait here
Tow-away zone
Illegally parking vehicles will be tower at the owner's expense

Sign 314 Sign 314-1 Sign 314-2
Parking area
Marks an area where parking is permitted; also used to give directions to parking areas
Parking management zone
Posted at entrances to a neighborhood or area where parking is permitted on all streets in the area with the use of a parking disc or voucher as indicated by a supplemental sign; effective until the "End of parking management zone sign" is reached
 
End of parking management zone


Sign 314
Sign 1040-32
Sign 314
Sign 1044-10
Sign 314
Sign 1010-58
Sign 314
Sign 1010-12
Restricted parking
You must use a parking disc to park here and you may only park for the length of time indicated
Restricted parking
You may park here only if you have an official handicapped permit
Parking for indicated vehicles
Parking only for the vehicle class shown on the sign (i.e. parking only for passenger vehicles)
Parking for indicated vehicles
Parking for vehicles with trailers allowed; vehicles may remain parked for longer than 14 days

Sign 314-50 Sign 314
Sign 314
Sign 1000-10
Sign 314
Sign 1000-20
Parking garage Indexed parking facility
Marks or gives directions to a numbered parking facility (e.g. parking lot #8)
 
Directions to parking


Sign 314-20 Sign 314-30 Sign 314-10
Parking area (end)
This sign marks the end of a parking area
Parking area
This sign indicates parking is allowed in both directions from the sign
Parking area (start)
This sign marks the start of a parking area

Sign 314
Sign 1053-38
Sign 314
Sign 1053-39
Perpendicular parking
This sign indicates that parking spaces are
perpendicular to the roadway
Angle parking
This sign indicates that parking spaces are
at an angle to the roadway

Sign 315-55Sign 315-50 Sign 315-65Sign 315-60
Parking on sidewalk allowed
This sign indicates that parallel parking half on the sidewalk and half in the street is permitted on the right or left side of the street respectively
Parking on sidewalk allowed
This sign indicates that parallel parking completely on the sidewalk is permitted on the right or left side of the street respectively

Sign 315-75Sign 315-70 Sign 315-85Sign 315-80
Parking on sidewalk allowed
This sign indicates that perpendicular parking half on the sidewalk and half in the street is permitted on the right or left side of the street respectively
Parking on sidewalk allowed
This sign indicates that perpendicular parking completely on the sidewalk is permitted on the right or left side of the street respectively

Sign 317 Sign 316 Sign 316-50
Hiker's parking
Indicates an area where you may park and hike a circuit trail
Park & ride
Indicates a facility where you may park your vehicle and transfer to public transportation
Commuter carpool parking
Indicates a roadside parking lot for use by carpoolers
 

Service signs

Below are signs that are used to give directions to motorist services on or near the road. These signs are especially used along the Autobahn. Service signs are a symbol in a white field on a blue square or rectangle.

Sign 365-52 Sign 365-52
Filling station Filling station w/ unleaded gasoline
(Obsolete)
This sign is now obsolete as all stations have unleaded fuel, but it may still appear on older signs
 


Sign 365-65
Sign 365-53 Sign 365-54 Sign 365-65
Electric vehicle
charging station
Filling station w/ liquefied petroleum gas Filling station w/ compressed natural gas Hydrogen station


Sign 365-56
Sign 365-57
Sign 365-55

Sign 365-62
Restaurant
Snack bar 
Hotel
Auto repair shop


Sign 365-58
Sign 365-59
Sign 363

Sign 365-61
Restrooms/toilets
Autobahn chapel
Police station
Tourist information


Sign 365-50
Sign 365-51Sign 365-51
Sign 358
Telephone Emergency telephone First aid station

Sign 365-67
Sign 365-68
Sign 365-69

Sign 368
Motor home park Motor home and
travel trailer park
Campground Traffic information radio
(Obsolete)
This sign shows the name and frequency of a radio station giving local traffic information; the letter at the bottom indicates the traffic reporting region that the station covers
 

Information and guide signs

Below are signs that give directions or other information.

Sign 310 Sign 311 Sign 311-51 Sign 385
Entering urban area
Posted at the entrance to a built-up area and indicates that the 50 km/h speed limit and other urban traffic regulations begins
Leaving urban area
This is usually the backside of the "Entering town area sign" and indicates the end of urban traffic regulations and the return to the 100 km/h rural speed limit; the top section shows the distance to the next town
Leaving urban area
Same as the sign to the left except that the white top section indicates that the next town is in the same municipality as the one you are leaving
Place name
Marks small towns that do not require the "Entering urban area" sign; this sign is also used occasionally to mark other places of interest

Sign 401 Sign 405 Sign 410
Federal Highway route number Autobahn route number European route number

Sign 415-10
Sign 415-20
Sign 418-10 Sign 419-20 Sign 432-10
Federal Highway direction marker
Shows the direction and distance to major destinations; posted at the junction
Secondary road direction marker
Shows the direction and distance to major destinations; posted at the junction
Secondary road direction marker
Shows the direction to minor destinations; posted at the junction
Local direction marker
Shows the direction to an important local destination; posted at the junction

Sign 438 Sign 439 Sign 439
Advance direction sign
Gives advance notice of directions at an 
approaching intersection
Advance direction sign
Gives advance notice of directions as well as the lane configuration at an 
approaching intersection (e.g. left lane must turn left)
Advance direction sign
Gives advance notice of directions at an approaching roundabout; note the "do not enter" for the leg at the 2 o'clock position

Sign 434-50Sign 434-51 Sign 434-52Sign 434-53
Consolidated direction sign
Shows route information for all directions at this junction (single board or multiple panels)
Abbreviated consolidated direction sign
Shows route information for all directions at this junction (used in urban areas)

Sign 430-20 Sign 440 Sign 441
Direction to Autobahn
Shows the direction to the indicated Autobahn and destination
Autobahn entrance direction sign
Shows direction information for Autobahn entrance ramps ahead
Autobahn entrance direction sign
Shows direction information for Autobahn entrance ramps ahead as well as the lane configuration at those intersections (e.g. right lane must turn right)

Sign 448 Sign 448 Sign 449
Autobahn exit initial approach sign
Located 1000 meters (nominally) before Autobahn exits and shows the interchange number and name
 Autobahn junction initial approach sign
Located 2000 meters (nominally) before the junction of two Autobahns and shows the interchange number and name
 Autobahn interchange advance directional sign
Located 500 meters before Autobahn exits and at both 1000 meters and 500 meters before Autobahn junctions; shows a schematic of the interchange and lists additional destinations

 

Sign 406-50Sign 406-51 Sign 450-52Sign 450-51Sign 450-50 Sign 332
Autobahn interchange number
Shown on the initial interchange approach sign and on the first interchange countdown marker; interchanges are numbered sequentially-- if a new interchange is added, a letter suffix is used to preserve the numbering system
 Autobahn interchange countdown markers
Located at 300 meters (three stripes), 200 meters (two stripes), and 100 meters (one stripe) before the interchange; the interchange number sign is typically mounted above the 300 meter marker
 Autobahn exit
This sign is placed just prior to the exit; it is sometimes placed in the center median

 

Sign 448-50 Sign 450-52Sign 450-54Sign 450-53 Sign 332-1
Expressway interchange initial approach sign
Located 1000 meters (nominally) before exits and shows the interchange name
  Expressway interchange countdown markers
Located at 300 meters (three stripes), 200 meters (two stripes), and 100 meters (one stripe) before the interchange
 Expressway exit
This sign is placed just prior to the exit; it is sometimes placed in the center median
 

Sign 332-1-20 Sign 333
Sign 333.1
Sign 333.1-20
Sign 448.1
Sign 1010-15
Expressway exit
Shows an exit for local destinations
Exit
Marks an exit ramp from the Autobahn or expressway
Truck stop
This sign indicates that there is an off-Autobahn truck stop at the indicated exit (typically the next exit) with the services indicated by the pictograms

Sign 453
Sign 453-50
Autobahn distance board
Placed after most entrances and lists the distance to major cities along the route; distances to major destinations via intersecting Autobahns are listed at the bottom with the corresponding route number
Expressway distance board
Placed after most entrances and lists the distance to major cities along the route

Sign 460-30Red dot detour
Sign 460-50
Sign 1000-23
Sign 422-50
Sign 1000-34
Sign 455.1-50
Sign 1000-13
Provisional Autobahn detour
These signs mark pre-posted detour routes for use in the event that an Autobahn must be closed or as an optional route to bypass congestion-- follow the same-numbered route to return to the next Autobahn entrance; the "red dot" detour is used in some areas to mark a specific special detour due to Autobahn construction or an especially congested area-- the red dot (or sometimes a red circle) is more easily discernable at a distance making the detour easier to follow
Route through roundabout
Instead of an integrated arrow on the main sign, detour routes through a roundabout are instead (and rather inexplicably) indicated with a white supplemental sign (the other two sign categories that use these are also shown here; more detail on them is below); note that this is a new sign and is the official sign for this purpose, but there are many older or improvised implementations that put the roundabout arrow on the main sign instead; in addition, the white signs are sometimes used in an unsanctioned combination with signs other than those shown here

Sign 466 Sign 467.1-20Sign 467.1-30 Sign 467.2
Provisional detour schematic
Used to direct Autobahn traffic to the next sequential provisional detour route when traffic cannot return to the Autobahn at the next entrance
Alternate route
Indicates a recommended alternate route on the Autobahn system for specific vehicles or destinations in order to avoid congestion
End of alternate route

Sign 422-11 Sign 442-13 Sign 422-32 Sign 442-22
Sign 421-20
Sign 421-11
Sign 421-22
Routing for designated vehicles
Vehicle types shown on the sign must follow the route as indicated; white supplemental signs (shown above) are used for directions through a roundabout
Routing for designated vehicles
Vehicle types shown on the sign turn here

Sign 457.1
Sign 1004-30
Sign 454-20 Sign 455.1-20 Sign 457.2
Sign 455.2
Detour approach
Indicates that a detour/diversion is about to start; often accompanied by a supplemental sign indicating the distance to the start of the detour
 Detour direction sign
These are being phased-out in favor of the sign to the right
Detour direction sign
Follow these signs to remain on the detour route; white supplemental signs (shown above) are used for directions through a roundabout; this sign can also be used at the start of a detour in lieu of the "detour approach" sign to the left
End of detour

Sign 458 Sign 458-11 Sign 590-10Sign 590-11
Detour route schematic
Indicates that the road ahead is closed and graphically shows the detour route (e.g. turn left in 80 meters and follow the road to A-Dorf and B-Dorf to return back to the route to Stuttgart)
Routing schematic for designated vehicles
Indicates that the specified vehicle type is prohibited ahead and indicates that there's a posted detour route (e.g. no vehicles over 3.5t on the road ahead, so follow the posted route 80 meters ahead on the left)
Complicated traffic route
Shows special routing required to go in the direction indicated (e.g. there's no left turn ahead, so follow the route shown instead)

Sign 386.1-53 Sign 386.3 Sign 386.3-50
River name
Shows the name of the river the road is crossing
Scenic area
Denotes a scenic or tourist area along or near the road
Iron Curtain marker
Marks the location where Germany and Europe was divided prior to 1989

Sign 386.2
Sign 386.2-53
Sign 386.2-12 Sign 386.2-52
Tourist route
Marks one of the several themed tourist roads
Tourist route direction marker
Shows the direction to follow to stay on the indicated tourist route
Tourist route
Shows addiitonal route information about the route (in this example, which direction the route is headed)

Sign 386.1 Sign 386.1-22 Sign 386.1-50
Tourist attractions
Used to give directions to tourist attractions
Tourist attraction direction marker
Shows the direction to the indicated tourist destination
Tourist attraction
Shows addiitonal route information about the attraction (in this example, the town it's located in)

Sign 357 Sign 357
Sign 1010-10
Sign 357-50Sign 357-51Sign 357-52
Dead end street Dead end street
Children are allowed to play in the street
Dead end street
However, there is a through path for
pedestrians and/or bicycles

Sign 365-63 Sign 365-64 Sign 1000-22 Sign 354Sign 354-10
Pedestrian underpass
Marks the entrance to an underpass, subway, or tunnel that pedestrians must use to cross under the road
Pedestrian overpass
Marks the entrance to a bridge or overpass that pedestrians must use to cross over the road
 
Pedestrians must cross street
Posted where the sidewalk is closed (i.e. for construction) and directs pedestrians to use the sidewalk across the street in the direction indicated
Water protection area
Posted in environmentally sensitive areas; reminds drivers of vehicles carrying water-hazardous cargo to be extra careful

Sign 224 Sign 224-51
Sign 393
Bus or streetcar stop
Parking within 15 meters of this sign is prohibited; do not pass streetcars stopped on the street to board or discharge passengers; yield to buses leaving the stop
School bus stop
Watch for children during the times indicated
National speed limits information
Posted at international borders and informs drivers of the general speed limits

Sign 392 Sign 391 Sign 390 Sign 390-2
Customs post Toll road
Motorists using this road must pay a toll

 
Truck toll road
Vehicles over 3.5 tonnes must pay the federal toll to use this road
End truck toll road

Sign 437
Sign 437
Sign 437
Sign 394 Lights on Lights off
Street name signs
These signs may be mounted on a pole or on the side of a building
Streetlight does not stay on all night
Applied to lamp posts with a streetlight that turns off during the night; if you park near this street lamp at night, you must leave your parking lights on; the time that the light turns off may be marked in the red area
Turn headlights on
Posted before tunnels to remind drivers to switch-on their headlights
Turn headlights off
Posted after tunnels to remind drivers to switch-off their headlights
 

Miscellaneous signs

Sign 620-41Sign 620-40 Sign 620-51Sign 620-50 Signs 625-10Signs 625-20 Sign 626-31
Reflector guide posts
Posted every 50 meters along the roadside, left and right sides respectively; a blue reflector on the backside is used to deter wildlife crossing at night
Reflector guide posts
Posted on the roadside at an intersection with a driveway or side road
Curve markers
Posted on the outside of a curve and point in the direction to travel
Obstruction marker
This sign is posted on the edge of an object or island in the roadway that you may pass on either side

Sign 626-20Sign 605-20Sign 605-21 Sign 605-11Sign 605-10Sign 626-10
Sign 605-24

Sign 605-14
Obstruction marker/channelizing device (left)
This sign is posted on the edge of an object or island in or adjacent to the roadway that you must pass to the right of; these are also 
used as a channelizing device in construction areas
Obstruction marker/channelizing device (right)
This sign is posted on the edge of an object or island in or adjacent to the roadway that you must pass to the left of; these are also used as a channelizing device in construction areas
Obstruction marker/ channelizing device
Includes flashing lights and integrated keep right/left sign

Sign 615Sign 616-30 Sign 610-40 Sign 600-30
Mobile lane closure board
Used in construction areas to temporarily close lanes; pass by on the side indicated
Traffic cone
Barricade
 


Sign 600-60 Sign 627-50Sign 627-50 Sign 630-10Sign 630-20
Bollard
Placed at the entrance to pedestrian areas and bike paths to prevent unauthorized vehicle entry
Reduced clearance
Marks the edges of an overpass or other structure with reduced vertical and/or horizontal clearance
Parking hazard
Mounted on the back of vehicles and trailers that may slow or stop on roadways (e.g. maintenance vehicles)

NATO bridge sign
NATO bridge sign
NATO bridge sign
NATO bridge sign
NATO bridge sign
Catholic church services Protestant church services Combined church services
NATO military bridge classification signs
Posted near bridges and viaducts and indicates the safe load-carrying capacity of the bridge for military vehicles
Church services
Posted near the entrances to towns and lists scheduled Sunday church services; the gold church denotes Catholic Masses while the purple church denotes Protestant services

Shut off engineShut off engine Nature protection areaNature protection areaNature protection area
Shut off engine
These signs remind drivers to shut off their engine to reduce pollution while stopped at a traffic signal or railway crossing
Nature reserve

School bus marker Autobahn kilometer marker Sign 630-20
School bus
Mounted on the front and back of a vehicle that is carrying school children; use extreme caution when passing a stopped bus displaying this sign
Autobahn kilometer marker Self-driving car reference sign
This sign is installed on several Autobahns and is used as a reference point for self-driving cars; human drivers can ignore these

Construction project signConstruction project sign Fire hydrant reference signWater utility reference signGas utility reference sign
Construction project information
These signs are posted at the beginning of
major construction zones and give information
about the project
Utility reference signs
While not technically traffic signs, these signs are often found on sign posts or buildings next to streets; these mark the location of various underground utility manholes and access points located in the street
 

Additional sign symbols

Here are some common additional symbols you may see on signs in Germany.

Airport Railway stationDeutsche Bahn Car train Multimodal terminal
Airport Railway station Car train Multimodal terminal

Ferry or harbor Hospital Industrial area
Ferry or harbor Hospital Industrial district

Sports park StadiumSoccer stadium Handicapped-accessible restroom
Sports park Stadium Handicapped-accessible
restroom/toilet

Museum War cemetery
Castle Museum War cemetery
 

Additional sign information

In the past two decades, electronic sign systems have been installed on Autobahns and expressways. These signs are capable of displaying facsimiles of official traffic signs and carry the same authority as their static counterparts. Common signs include speed limits and congestion warnings. When mounted overhead, these signs have added flexibility as they can be used to assign speed limits to specific lanes or to display lane control information. See the "traffic management" section on the Autobahn page for more details and examples.

In cities and towns, you will frequently come across convex mirrors mounted on high posts or on the sides of buildings next to the road. These mirrors are provided to help drivers see around tight corners where the visibility is blocked by a building or other obstacle.


Sign vocabulary

Words are sometimes used on traffic signs, especially on supplemental signs. Here is a rather complete list of vocabulary used on German traffic signs.

ab - after

Abblendlicht - dipped (low-beam) headlights

Abstand halten - maintain following distance

Achtung! - attention!

Alle Richtungen - all directions

Allee - avenue

Altenheim - nursing home

an geraden Tagen - on "even" days (i.e. Tue., Thur.)

an ungeraden Tagen - on "odd" days (i.e. Mon., Wed., Fri.)

an Sonn- und Feiertagen - on Sundays and holidays

Anfang - start, begin

Anlieger frei - residents and local traffic exempt

Anlieger bis Baustelle frei - residents and local traffic allowed as far as construction site

Anlieger oder Parken frei - residents, local traffic and parking exempt

Anwohner frei - residents exempt

Arbeitskolonne - work convoy

auch - also

auf 800 m - beginning in 800 m

auf dem Seitenstreifen - on the shoulder

auf der gesamte Wendeplatte - on the entire turnaround bay

Ausbaustrecke - widened road section

Ausfahrt - exit

Ausfahrt freihalten - keep driveway exit clear

Ausgenommen - except

Außer - except

Autobahn - freeway, superhighway

Autobahndreieck - Autobahn "triangle" (i.e. "T"-crossing)

Autobahnkreuz - Autobahn crossing/junction

Autogas - liquified propane gas

Autohof - truck stop


Bahnhof - railway station

Baustelle- construction area

Baustellen ausfahrt- construction site exit

Baustellenfahrzeuge frei - construction vehicles exempt

Baustellenverkehr - construction vehicles

Baustrecke- construction area

befahren- to travel on (e.g. "Seitenstreifen befahren" = "drive on the shoulder")

Begehen auf eigene Gefahr - proceed at your own risk

Behelfsausfahrt - auxilliary exit

bei Nässe - during wet conditions

bei Rot hier halten - stop here on red

besetzt - full, occupied (e.g. parking lot)

Betreten verboten - keep out

Betriebs- und Versorgungsdienst frei - service and maintenance vehicles exempt

Bewohner frei - residents exempt

bis an die Haltelinie fahren - drive up to the stop line

bis Baustelle frei - allowed as far as construction site


Das Abladen von Gartenabfällen, Schutt und sonstigen Abfällen ist verboten - the dumping of garden waste, debris, and other waste is prohibited
Di - Tuesday

Dieser Weg wird bei Eis- und Schneeglätte nich geräumt und gestreut - this road is not plowed or sanded during winter weather

Do - Thursday

Durchgangsverkehr - through traffic

dürfen überholt werden - are allowed to be passed


Einbahnstraße - one way street

Einfahrt - entrance

Einfahrt freihalten - keep driveway entrance clear

Eingeschränkter - limited

einorden - get into lane, merge

Einsatzfahrzeuge frei - operations vehicles excepted

Elektrofahrzeuge - Electric cars

Elektrofahrzeuge während des Ladevorgangs frei - Electric cars exempt while recharging

Eltern haften für Ihre Kinder - parents are responsible for their children

Ende - end


Fahrbahn - roadway, lane

Fahrbahn überflutet - roadway flooded

Fährbenutzer frei - ferry users exempt

Fahrrad - bicycle

Fahrradstraße - bicycle path

Fahrschule - driving school (marked on vehicles operated by student drivers)

Fahrzeug - vehicle

1 Fahrzeug bei Grün - one vehicle per green signal

fehlende Fahrbahnmarkierung - road markings (striping) missing

Feuergasse - fire lane

Feuerwehrzufahrt - fire department access

Flughafen - airport

folgen - follow

Forstwirtschaftlicher Verkehr frei - forestry vehicles exempt

Fr - friday

frei - exempt (e.g. "Anlieger frei" = "Residents exempt"); also means "available" (i.e. parking spaces)

freihalten - keep clear

Frostschäden - frost/freeze damage

Fußgänger - pedestrian

Fußgänger bitte andere Straßenseite benutzen - pedestrians please use the other side of the street


Gasse - alley, lane

gebührenpflichtig - toll/fee required

Gefahr- danger

Gehweg- sidewalk, footpath

gesperrt - closed, blocked (e.g. "Straße gesperrt" = "road closed")

Glatteis - "black ice"

grüne Welle bei 60 km/h - all green signals ("green wave") at 60 km/h

Gülletransport frei - slurry transport exempt



h - o'clock (e.g. "8-16 h" = "8am - 4pm")

Hafengebiet; Schienenfahrzeuge haben Vorrang - harbor area; rail vehicles have right-of-way

Haltebucht - wayside/stopping area

Haltestelle - bus/tram stop

Haltverbot - stopping prohibited

hier gilt die StVO - official traffic laws are in effect here (often posted at private parking lots)

hier gilt rechts vor links - standard right-of-way (right before left) applies here (posted at entrance to private roads)

Hochwasser - high water


Im gesamten Ortsbereich - in the entire town

Industriegebiet; Schienenfahrzeuge haben Vorrang - industrial area; rail vehicles have right-of-way


kein/keine - no (e.g. "Keine Mofas" = "no mopeds")

keine Wendemöglichkeit - no place to turn around (i.e. on dead-end street)

Kfz. - motor vehicle

Krankenfahrzeuge frei - ambulances exempt

Krankenhaus - hospital

Kreuzung - intersection

Kreuzung freihalten - keep intersection clear

Krötenwanderung - frog crossing

Kuppe - blind hill


Ladezone - loading zone

Landwirtschaftlicher Verkehr frei - agricultural vehicles exempt

Land- und forstwirtschaftlicher Verkehr frei - agricultural and forestry vehicles exempt

Langsam fahren - drive slowly

Lärmschutz - noise prevention

Licht! - turn on your headlights (when entering a tunnel)

Licht? - turn off your headlights (when coming out of a tunnel)

Licht ausschalten - turn off headlights

Licht einschalten - turn on headlights

Lieferverkehr frei - delivery vehicles exempt

Linienverkehr frei - scheduled transit vehicles exempt

Linksabbieger - left-turning traffic

Lkw. - truck

Mäharbeiten - mowing work

Markierung fehlt - road markings (striping) missing

Markierungsarbeiten - road marking work

Mi - Wednesday

mit Ausweis Nr. - with permit number

mit Parkausweis Nr. - with parking permit number

mit Parkschein - with parking voucher

Mo - Monday

Mofas - mopeds

Müll und Schutt abladen verboten - dumping prohibited


Nebel - fog

Nebenstrecke - secondary route

neuer Fahrbahnbelag/neue Fahrbahndecke - new road surface

noch 8km - next 8km

Nothaltebucht - emergency stopping area

Notruf - emergency telephone

nur - only

nur innerhalb gekennzeichneter Parkflächen - only within marked parking spaces


OD - through road (through a town)

Ölspur - watch for oil on lane

Ortsdurchfahrt - through road (through a town)


P + M - carpool parking

P + R - park and ride

Parkausweis - parking permit

Parken in gekennzeichenten Flächen 2 Std. - parking in marked spaces for 2 hours

Parken in gekennzeichenten Flächen erlaubt - parking in marked spaces allowed

Parken Sa und So erlaubt - parking permitted on Saturday and Sunday

Parkflächen - parking spaces

Parkhaus - parking garage (above ground)

Parkplatz - parking place, lot

Parkscheibe - parking disc

Parkschein - parking voucher

Parkscheinautomat - parking voucher dispensing machine

Parkstände - parking spaces

Parkuhr - parking meter

Pkw. - passenger vehicle (car)

Polizei - police

Polizeikontrolle - police checkpoint

Privatgrundstück: Wer hier parkt, wird kostenpflichtig abgeschleppt - Private property: Anyone parked here will be towed at their expense


Radfahrer absteigen - bicyclists dismount

Radweg - bicycle trail

Rasthaus - service area

Rasthof - service area

Raststätte - service area

Rauch - smoke

räumen - vacate (e.g. "Seitenstreifen räumen" = "vacate the shoulder")

Reißverschluss erst in 200 m - "zipper" merge begins in 200 meters

Rettungsweg - rescue lane

Richtung - direction of travel

Rollsplitt - loose gravel/chippings


Sa - Saturday

Sackgasse - dead end, cul-de-sac

schäden - damage

Schleudergefahr - skidding danger

Schneeverwehungen - snow drifts

Schranke - gate, barrier

Schnellstraße - expressway

Schritt fahren - drive very slowly

Schule - school

Schulbus - school bus

Schulweg - school crossing

Schülerlotse - school crossing guard

Schutt abladen verboten - dumping prohibited

Seitenstreifen - Shoulder

Seitenstreifen nicht befahrbar - Do not drive on the shoulder

Skiabfahrtkreuzt - ski-run crossing

Skiwanderweg kreuzt - ski trail crossing

So - Sunday

Sperrgebiet - restricted area

Sperrung - closure

spiegel beachten - pay attention to the traffic mirror

Sprengarbeiten - blasting area

Spur - traffic lane

Spurrillen - lane grooves

Spurrinnen - lane grooves

Stadtmitte - downtown/city center

Standspur - Shoulder/breakdown lane

Stau - congestion/traffic jam

Std. - hours (abbr. for "Stunden") (e.g. "2 Std." = "2 hours")

Straße - street

Straßenbahn - streetcar

Straßenreinigung - street cleaning


Straßenschäden - road damaged

Streugut - road sand/salt

Stunde - hour


Tag und Nacht - day and night

Tankstelle - filling station

Tiefgarage - underground parking garage

Tollwut - rabies (used on signs to warn of a rabies outbreak area)


überholen - overtake, pass

Umleitung - detour/diversion

Unberechtigt parkende Fahrzeuge werden kostenpflichtig abgeschleppt - Improperly parked vehicles will be towed at their owner's expense

Unfall - accident


verboten - prohibited

Verkehr - traffic

Verkehrshelfer - school crossing guard

Vermessung - survey crew

verschmutzte Fahrbahn - dirt/mud on road

versetzt fahren - drive in a stagger formation

Verkehrsführung geändert - traffic pattern has been changed

Vorfahrt - right-of-way/priority

Vorfahrt geändert - right-of-way has been changed

Vorfahrtstraße - priority road

Vorrang - right-of-way/priority

Vorrang beachten - give the right-of-way

Vorsicht - caution


Wasserschutzgebiet - water protection area

Weg - way, lane

Wendeplatte - turnaround bay

Werktags - workdays

Widerrechtlich geparkte Fahrzeuge werden kostenpflichtig abgeschleppt - illegally parked vehicles will be towed at owner's expense

Wildtollwut - rabies (used on signs to warn of a rabies outbreak area)

Winterdienst - snow removal service


Zentrum - downtown/city center

Zufahrt - access

Zufahrt bis XX frei - access permitted as far as XX (house number or other location)

Zuflussregelung - Ramp metered (i.e. traffic signal on entrance ramp)

 

SIGNALS

Traffic signals in Germany are the same red-yellow-green type found in the US and elsewhere. Signals are usually located on same side of the intersection as the approaching traffic and are often mounted overhead as well as on the right and left sides of the road. Signals generally operate the same as most other places, but there are a few idiosyncrasies. Below are illustrations and descriptions of various signals and related signs that you will come across in Germany. Items marked with <!> are especially important for US visitors.

Typical German traffic signals

Typical German traffic signals

G-Y-R-RY-G
Figure 1
Traffic signals in Germany use the same red, yellow, and green lights found in the US and elsewhere. Red, of course, means STOP. Green means PROCEED with caution, and yellow means PREPARE TO STOP. In Germany, however, an extra indication is added: just before the light changes from red to green, the yellow signal comes on briefly in conjunction with the red. This means PREPARE FOR GREEN and is helpful if you are driving a manual transmission to give you a bit of warning to get into gear. Figure 1 (left) shows the signal cycle.

Some locations have partial signals consisting of just the red and yellow lamps as shown in Figure 2 (right). These function just like regular traffic signals minus the green indication. So, when the green light would normally be on, there is instead no signal. If you come upon one of these signals showing yellow or red, obey it like you would any traffic signal. Otherwise, ignore the signal and obey any other signs or signals, or in the absence of such, use the default right-of-way rules. These types of signals are usually located at railway crossings.
Partial signal
Figure 2

Signals with arrows
Figure 3
Intersections in Germany often have signals controlling each permitted direction of travel, such as the examples in Figure 3 (left). If a signal at an intersection has an arrow for the direction you want to travel, you must obey it. If you don't see a signal with an arrow for the direction you want to go, then traveling that direction may not be permitted; be sure to look for signs. A full green signal without any arrows (like in Figure 1 above) usually means you may travel straight ahead or make a right or left turn unless otherwise prohibited by signs.

In the case of left turns, the signal shown in Figure 4 (right) indicates a protected left turn.
Signal with green left arrow
Figure 4

<!> When the right-of-way for left turns changes from permitted to protected (or vice-versa), a different style of signal is used. In this case, the left turn signal is located across the intersection on the left corner. There are two varieties in use: a green-yellow combination, or a single green signal. The combination signal consists of a flashing yellow arrow (Figure 5 below) or a solid green arrow (Figure 6). The yellow flashing arrow shown in Figure 5 indicates a left turn is permitted but not protected-- use caution and yield to oncoming traffic. When the green arrow is on, as shown in Figure 6, then the turn is protected. In some cases, there is only the single green arrow signal (i.e. no flashing yellow arrow.) Just as in the other cases, the green arrow indicates a protected left turn. If the arrow is off, then obey the signals for through traffic and yield to oncoming traffic when turning left.
 
Flashing yellow left arrow
Figure 5
 
Green left arrow
Figure 6

Green signal Right turn pedestrian warning flasher
Figure 7
Always watch for and yield to pedestrians and cyclists when turning left or right. Sometimes there will be a flashing yellow signal like the one shown in Figure 7 (left) adjacent to the other signals warning you that pedestrians crossing the intersecting street also have a green light.

<!>Right turns on red are not universally permitted in Germany. However, such a turn is permitted at intersections with the green arrow sign shown in Figure 8 (right) but only after coming to a complete stop and yielding to all other traffic and pedestrians. This is the only traffic law retained from the former East Germany and thus is still somewhat rarely found in the western states, although it is now being implemented more in many areas.
Red signal with green right arrow sign
Figure 8

Many intersections have special right turn signals. These two-section signals consist of green and yellow arrows and are used to allow traffic to make a free right turn while the signal for through traffic is red. So, if you encountered the signals in Figure 9 (below) and you wanted to turn right, you could do so without having to stop. The cycles for these can vary depending on the phasing for the signals at the intersection; the two most common cycles are shown in Figure 10. When the right turn signal is dark, you must obey the signals for through traffic.
 
Red signal with green right arrow signal
Figure 9
Red signal with green right arrow signal cycles
Figure 10

<!> A flashing yellow signal or a traffic signal that is completely dark indicates that the intersection is currently not being controlled by the signals. Most traffic signals in Germany are switched off at night and sometimes on weekends as well. Also, some pedestrian crossing signals turn themselves off after a period of inactivity. To provide for traffic control in this situation, nearly all traffic signals also have right-of-way signs installed nearby, usually near the rightmost signal face. Motorists must obey the signs when the signal is off or flashing. So, if you encountered Figure 11 (below), you would have to yield. If you encountered Figure 12, you would have the right-of-way. The signs also provide regulation in the rare event of signal malfunction. Where used, a flashing yellow almost always indicates that you must yield or stop. However, you may have to stop or yield even if there is no flashing yellow-- watch for the signs. There is no flashing red signal in Germany. When the signals are off and you are required to stop, you do not need to stop at the stop line or sign; instead, you should stop at a location where you can safely see the traffic on the intersecting street.
 
Flashing yellow signal Sign 205
Figure 11
Dark signal Sign 306
Figure 12

<!> When the traffic signals are in operation, the signal takes precedence over the sign. Therefore, if you encountered Figure 13 (below), you would have to stop. In Figure 14, you could proceed without stopping.
 
Red signal Sign 306
Figure 13
Green signal Sign 206
Figure 14

Lane control signals are used in areas where reversible lanes are used, or in areas where lanes may need to be closed periodically. They are also used in conjunction with the electronic sign systems found on the Autobahn and urban expressways to close lanes after accidents and during road work. They are the same standard arrow and X symbols used in many other countries:
 
Green arrow down Yellow slant arrow leftYellow slant arrow right Red X
Lane open Lane closed ahead
Merge in the direction indicated
Lane closed
You may not drive in this lane
 

ROAD MARKINGS

Road pavement markings in Germany are generally similar to those in the US. Unlike the US, however, all regular road markings in Germany are white, including those used to separate opposing traffic. Yellow road markings are used in construction areas and supersede the regular white markings. Below are diagrams and descriptions of most of the road markings you will encounter in Germany. The light blue numbers on the diagrams correspond to the explanations.

 

Urban road markings

1 Stop line
You must stop behind the thick solid line across your lane.
2 Wait line
A thick broken line across your lane is the equivalent to a yield sign (and is often used in conjunction with it.) If necessary, you must wait behind the broken line across your lane.
3 Priority road
A broken line passing through an intersection along the edge of one of the roadways indicates the path of the priority road.
4 Pedestrian crosswalk
Zebra-striped markings across the roadway mark a pedestrian crosswalk. You must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians in the crosswalk.
5 No stopping/parking zone
Zig-zag lines next to the curb mark a specific area (often near a near a bus stop or driveway) where you may not stop or park.
6 Numbers
Numbers on the pavement in your lane usually indicate the speed limit. Often used during sudden drops in the speed limit for safety reasons.
7 Letters and numbers
A combination of letters and numbers on the pavement usually indicate route numbers. These are frequently used at complicated intersections to guide motorists into the correct lane. For instance, a marking such as "B27" indicates that the lane you are in follows the B27 highway.
8 Intersection arrows
Arrows on the pavement in your lane indicate which turns are allowed from your lane.
9 Restricted zone
You may not drive in an area with diagonal lines.

 

Rural road markings

10 No passing in one direction
You may pass only if you have a broken line on your side; you may not cross a solid line on your side to pass.
11 No passing
You may not cross the solid center line to pass.
12 Merge arrow
An arrow slanting toward the right in the center of the roadway warns passing traffic to merge to the right as a no passing zone is approaching.
13 Lane separation line
Short broken lines between opposing traffic lanes indicate that the passing zone is ending.
14 Lane separation line
Long broken lines between opposing traffic lanes indicate passing is allowed (unless prohibited by a sign). This marking is also used to separate traffic lanes traveling in the same direction.

 

Autobahn road markings

15 Edge marking
A solid line along the side of the roadway marks the edge of the roadway or separates the travel lanes from the shoulder.
16 Lane separators
Long broken lines separate traffic lanes traveling in the same direction.
17 Acceleration/deceleration lane
Short, thick broken white lines separate a deceleration (exit) lane or acceleration (entrance) lane from the main traffic lanes.
18 Restricted zone
You may not drive in an area with diagonal lines.

Colored curb markings are not used in Germany. Head-in and parallel parking lines are obvious and similar to those used in the US.

On streets not signed as one-way, here are the default lane assignments based on the number of marked lanes on the street:

  • 2 lanes: The left lane is for oncoming traffic; the right lane is for traffic moving in your direction.

  • 3 lanes: The center lane is reserved for left turns only. You may not pass. The far left lane is for oncoming traffic; the far right lane is for traffic moving in your direction.

  • 4 lanes: The left two lanes are for oncoming traffic; the right two lanes are for traffic moving in your direction. These are usually separated by a single or double solid white line. Even if separated by a broken white line, you may not cross the center line to pass.

  • 5 lanes: Same as 4 lanes except that center lane is for left turns only. (Very rare.)

Odd lane arrangements or assignments are usually marked fairly obviously, either by arrows on the road surface and/or by signs.


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