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

This page last updated August 21, 2023


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Parking signs

In this section are all signs related to parking, both prohibition signs as well as signs indicating where parking is allowed. For more details on parking regulations, see the parking section of the Rules of the Road page, and for information on where and how to park, see the parking section of the City Driving & Parking page

Sign 283 Sign 286 Sign 290-1 Sign 290-2
No stopping
Stopping, standing, or parking on the roadway on the same side where this sign is posted is prohibited.
No parking
Prohibits leaving your vehicle or otherwise stopping for more than 3 minutes on the roadway on the same side where this sign is posted for 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 parked vehicles will be towed at the owner's expense.

Sign 314 Sign 314-1 Sign 314-2
Parking area
Marks an area where parking is permitted. This sign is also used to give directions to parking areas.
Parking management zone
Posted at entrances to a neighborhood or area where parking is permitted with the use of a parking disc or voucher as indicated by a supplemental sign. The restrictions shown apply to all streets beyond this sign until the "End of parking management zone sign" is reached.
End of parking management zone

Sign 314
Sign 1040-32
Sign 314
Sign 1053-31
Sign 314
Sign 1044-30
Restricted parking
You must use a parking disc to park here and you may only park for the length of time indicated (e.g. 2 hours.)
Restricted parking
You must purchase and display a parking voucher to park here.
Restricted parking
Only residents with the indicated parking permit number may park here.

Sign 314
Sign 1044-10
Sign 314
Car sharing
Sign 314
Sign 1010-58
Sign 314
Sign 1010-12
Reserved parking
You may park here only if you have an official handicapped permit.
Reserved parking
Parking only for car share vehicles. The name of the specific car share company permitted to park here will be indicated.
Parking for indicated vehicles
Parking only for the vehicle class shown on the sign (e.g. 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
Parking spaces are
perpendicular to the roadway.
Angle parking
Parking spaces are
at an angle to the roadway.

Sign 315-55Sign 315-50 Sign 315-65Sign 315-60
Parking on sidewalk allowed
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
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
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
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 to take a hike.
Park & ride
Indicates a facility where you may park your vehicle and transfer to public transportation.
Carpool parking
Indicates a parking lot for use by carpoolers (park und mitfahren).

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.

Sign 365-52 Sign 365-52
Filling station Filling station w/ unleaded gasoline
This sign is now obsolete as all stations have unleaded fuel, but it may still appear on older signs. (Note difference with blue "shadow pump" below.)

Sign 365-65
Sign 365-53 Sign 365-54 Sign 365-65
Electric vehicle
charging station
Filling station with liquefied petroleum gas Filling station with compressed natural gas Filling station with hydrogen fuel

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

Sign 365-62
Snack bar 
Auto repair shop

Sign 365-58
Sign 365-59
Sign 363

Sign 365-61
Autobahn chapel
Police station
Tourist information

Sign 365-50
Sign 365-51Sign 365-51
Sign 358
Public 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
This sign showed the name and frequency of a radio station giving local traffic information. The letter at the bottom indicated the traffic reporting region that the station covered.

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 urban area sign" and indicates the end of urban traffic regulations and the return to the 100 km/h rural speed limit (unless otherwise posted.) 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 locales that do not warrant 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
Posted at the junction and shows the direction and distance to major destinations.
Secondary road direction marker
Posted at the junction and shows the direction and distance to major destinations.
Secondary road direction marker
Posted at the junction and shows the direction and distance to minor destinations.
Local direction marker
Posted at the junction and shows the direction and distance to an important local destination.

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 434-52
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. (This style of sign is often used in urban areas in lieu of the consolidated sign to the left.)

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 and 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 located on the left side 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 located on the left side 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.
Marks an exit ramp from the Autobahn or expressway.
Truck stop
This sign indicates that there is an off-Autobahn service area 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 460-21 Sign 466
Autobahn emergency detour
These signs mark pre-posted detour routes for use in the event that an Autobahn must be closed due to a crash or other incident, or as an optional route to bypass congestion. Follow the same-numbered route to return to the next Autobahn entrance. 
Emergency detour schematic
Used to direct Autobahn traffic to the next sequential detour route when traffic cannot return to the Autobahn at the next entrance. Begin following the next detour (e.g. U24) to return to the Autobahn.

Red route detour Detour approachRed route detour
"Red route" detour
These signs mark a special detour to bypass a long-term Autobahn construction project or a frequently congested area.
Detour approach
Announces a closure ahead for which a detour should be followed. Examples: (left) A40 toward Dortmund is closed, so follow the "U43" detour at the next exit; (right) Exit 4 is closed during the dates shown, so follow the "red route" detour straight ahead.

Sign 467.1-20Sign 467.1-30 Sign 467.2
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 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 and is often accompanied by a supplemental sign like shown above 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. This sign may also be used at the start of a detour in lieu of the "detour approach" sign to the left. These signs may be accompanied by a destination panel on top.
End of detour

Sign 442-14 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.
Routing for designated vehicles
Vehicle types shown on the sign turn here.

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, then to 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.)
Special traffic route
Shows special routing required to go in the direction indicated (e.g. there's no left turn ahead, so follow the route to the right as 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 a 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 a themed tourist road.
Tourist route direction marker
Shows the direction to follow to stay on the indicated tourist route.
Tourist route
Shows additional route information (in this example, that the route is headed toward Bad Mergentheim.)

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 additional route information about an attraction (in this example, the town in which it's located.)

Sign 357 Sign 357-50Sign 357-51Sign 357-52
Dead end 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 the road.
Pedestrian overpass
Marks the entrance to a bridge or overpass that pedestrians must use to cross 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 and 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 transit vehicles 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 statutory 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 national 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 and devices

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. Blue reflectors may be installed the back side of the post; these ostensibly deter wildlife from crossing at night.
Reflector guide posts
Posted on the roadside at an intersection with a driveway or side road.
Curve markers
Posted along the outer edge 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 on channelizing devices in work zones and may use fluorescent yellow instead of white.
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 on channelizing devices in work zones and may use fluorescent yellow instead of white.
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. You must pass by on the side indicated. Newer versions employ digital signage.
Traffic cone

Sign 600-60 Sign 627-50Sign 627-50 Sign 630-10Sign 630-20
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 church services. The gold denotes Catholic Masses while the purple denotes Protestant services. Additional colors are also used to denote other denominations.

Waldweg gesperrt Nature protection areaNature protection areaNature protection area
Forest road closed
This sign indicates that the forest road here is closed to motor vehicles and horse riders. There is also usually a road barrier.
Nature reserve

Shut off engineShut off engine School bus marker
Shut off engine
These signs remind drivers to shut off their engine to reduce pollution while stopped at a traffic signal or railway crossing.
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.

Wrong way sign Autobahn kilometer markerAutobahn kilometer marker Sign 630-20
Wrong way
Placed on Autobahn exit ramps (facing opposite the flow of traffic) to warn drivers they are going the wrong way. (These have been deployed in an effort to reduce wrong-way (Geisterfahrer) crashes.)
Autobahn kilometer markers Self-driving car reference sign
This sign is installed on several Autobahns and is used as a reference marker by self-driving cars.

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 and mark the location of various underground utility manholes and access points located in the street.

Smiley 6km sign Smiley 4km sign Smiley 2km sign Smiley done sign
Autobahn construction zone smileys
Posted in some Autobahn construction zones and indicate the remaining distance until the end of the road work

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

Museum War cemetery
Castle Museum War cemetery

Additional sign information

Over the past three decades, electronic sign systems have been installed on most Autobahns and many urban 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

Anschlussstelle - interchange/junction

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

Berechtigte frei - Authorized vehicles exempt

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

bitte sauberhalten - please keep clean

Blockabfertigung - "block processing" in effect (i.e. metered traffic entry to a tunnel)

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

Einfädeln lassen - allow merging

Einfahrt freihalten - keep driveway entrance clear

Eingeschränkter - limited

einordnen - get into line

einordnen/einfädeln lassen - allow other vehicles to 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

erlaubt - allowed

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 (fire lane)

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 lot entrances)

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

hinter - behind or past (e.g. "B10 gesperrt hinter Dietersdorf" = "B10 closed past Dietersdorf")

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/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

nicht nach Navi fahren! - don't follow GPS directions

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/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

Sonn- und Feiertagen - Sundays and holidays

Sperrgebiet - restricted area

Sperrung - closure

spiegel beachten - pay attention to the traffic mirror

Sprengarbeiten - blasting area

Spur - traffic lane

Spurrillen - lane ruts

Spurrinnen - lane ruts

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

Umweltspur - "Green" lane (buses, electric vehicles, carpools, etc.)

Umweltzone - Low emissions restriction zone

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 (Monday through Saturday)

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)




Traffic signals in Germany are the same red-yellow-green type found pretty much everywhere. However, the signals are usually located on near side of the intersection instead of across the intersection as is typical in the US. The basic operation is similar to that of 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.

Signals with white horizontal, vertical, or diagonal lines, triangles, circles, or letters are signals for public transit vehicles and should be ignored.

Typical German traffic signals

Typical German traffic signals
(Photo by Brian Purcell)

Figure 1
Traffic signals in Germany use the same green, yellow, and red sequence found in most places.

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 two-section signals consisting of just the red and yellow sections as shown in Figure 2 (right). These function just like regular traffic signals minus the green light. So, when the green light would normally be on, there is instead no signal (dark). 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 and some pedestrian crossings.
Partial signal
Figure 2

Signals with arrows
Figure 3
Intersections in Germany often have signals controlling each permitted maneuver at the intersection, 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 circular 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, a green arrow like the one shown in Figure 4 (right) indicates a protected left turn. Oncoming traffic, as well as pedestrians, will have a red signal.
Signal with green left arrow
Figure 4

<!> When the right-of-way for left turns changes from protected to unprotected (i.e. yield to turn left) or vice-versa, a different style of signal is used. In this case, the left turn signal is usually located across the intersection on the left corner.

There are two varieties in use: a two-section signal with green and yellow arrows, or a single green arrow signal. The two-section signal consists of a flashing yellow arrow (Figure 5 below) and a solid green arrow (Figure 6). The yellow flashing arrow indicates a left turn is allowed but not protected-- use caution and yield to oncoming traffic and pedestrians. When the green arrow is on, then the turn is protected. When only the single green arrow signal is used (i.e. a single-section signal), if the signal is dark, then obey the signals for through traffic and yield to oncoming traffic if turning left.
Flashing yellow left arrow
Figure 5
Green left arrow
Figure 6

Green signal
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 to the right also have a green light. (There may be a pedestrian symbol instead of the arrow.)

Even if there is no flashing signal, if you are turning and don't have a green arrow signal, watch for and yield to any pedestrians.

<!> Right turns on red are prohibited by default 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 traffic law was actually retained from the former East Germany but has since spread to many intersections in western Germany.

Note that the green arrow in this case is on a static sign and is not a signal.

If the sign shown in Figure 9 is posted, then it means only bicycles can turn right on red.
Red signal with green right arrow sign
Figure 8
Red signal with green right arrow sign
Figure 9

Many intersections have dedicated right turn signals. These can consist of either a complete three-section signal, a single-section signal with just a green arrow (right turn without stopping allowed when it's on, otherwise, obey the main signal), or a two-section signal.

The two-section signals come in two versions. One consists of green and yellow arrows that are used to allow traffic to make a right turn while the signal for through traffic is red. So, if you encountered the signals in Figure 10 (below) and you wanted to turn right, you could do so without having to stop.

The cycles for these can vary; two common cycles are shown in Figure 11. When the right turn signals are dark, you must obey the signals for through traffic. Instead of a two-section signal, there may be just a one section signal with a green arrow.
Red signal with green right arrow signal
Figure 10
Red signal with green right arrow signal cycles
Figure 11

The other version of the two-section right turn signal consists of the red and yellow sections instead of the yellow and green as discussed above. These are used when right turns must wait for some part of the time that through traffic has green, e.g. to allow for pedestrians, bicycles, or streetcars. So for example, if you want to turn right and encounter the signal in Figure 12 (below), you would have to stop and wait. If the right turn signals are dark, then obey the main signal. Figure 13 shows a common cycle for this type of signal.

This same arrangement is also sometimes used for left turn signals; in that case, the two-section signal would be to the left of the main signal with, of course, left-pointing arrows. In that situation, if the left turn signals are dark and the main signal is green, you may turn left but must yield first to any oncoming traffic as well as to any pedestrians.
Red signal with green right arrow signal
Figure 12
Red signal with green right arrow signal cycles
Figure 13

<!> A flashing yellow signal or a traffic signal that is completely dark indicates that the signals are out of operation. Many 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 adjacent to the rightmost signal face. Motorists must obey these signs when the signal is off or flashing. So, if you encountered Figure 14 (below), you would have to yield. If you encountered Figure 15, 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-- again, 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 14
Dark signal Sign 306
Figure 15

<!> When the traffic signals are in operation, the signal takes precedence over the sign. Therefore, if you encountered Figure 16 (below), you would have to stop. In Figure 17, you could proceed without stopping.
Red signal Sign 306
Figure 16
Green signal Sign 206
Figure 17

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 digital sign systems found on the Autobahn and urban expressways to close lanes during incidents and road work. They use 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


Pavement markings in Germany are generally similar to those in the US and elsewhere. Unlike the US, however, all regular road markings in Germany are white, including those used to separate opposing traffic. Yellow road markings are used only in construction areas and, when used, supersede the regular white markings.

Yellow road markings

Yellow construction road markings
These superceed the regular white markings.

(Photo from Volkmann Strassen-und Verkehrstechnik)

Below are diagrams and descriptions of most of the road markings you will encounter in Germany. The letters on the diagrams correspond to the explanations below. 

Urban road markings

A Stop line
You must stop behind the thick solid line across your lane.
B Wait line
A thick broken line across your lane is 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 to yield to other traffic.
C Priority road
A thick broken line passing through an intersection along the edge of one of the roadways indicates that road is the priority road.
D Priority road
A curved thick broken line passing through an intersection along the edge of one of the roadways denotes a priority road that turns at the intersection. If there is a centerline, it will also follow the path of the priority road.
E Pedestrian crosswalk
Zebra-striped markings across the roadway mark a pedestrian crosswalk. You must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians in the crosswalk or preparing to enter the crosswalk. 

F Pedestrian crosswalk
At traffic signals, crosswalks are marked by dashed lines across the road instead of a zebra crossing. Pedestrians are only allowed to cross when they have a green light.

G Arrows
Arrows on the pavement indicate the required or permitted movements from that lane.
H Numbers
Numbers on the pavement in a lane usually indicate the speed limit, but may also indicate a route number. Speed limits may also be shown as a number in circle, or by a facsimile of the red, white, and black speed limit sign on the pavement.
I Letters and numbers
A combination of letters and numbers on the pavement usually indicate a route number. These are frequently used at complicated intersections to guide motorists into the correct lane. For instance, a marking such as "B53" indicates that the lane you are in follows the B53 highway.
J Restricted area
Hash lines mark an area upon which driving is prohibited.
K 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.
L Bus stop
The word "BUS" on the pavement indicates a bus stop or bus lane. It may be accompanied by zig-zag "no stopping" lines.

M Sign facsimile
Monochrome or color facsimiles of official traffic signs may also be painted on the pavement to improve driver awareness.
N Word message
Word messages 
may also be painted on the pavement to improve driver awareness.
O Bicycle crossing
A red path across the road or through an intersection highlights where a bicycle lane crosses. Motorists crossing such a lane must yield to cyclists.
P Bicycle lane
A solid white line a few meters away from the curb or edge of the road marks a dedicated bicycle lane where other vehicles are not permitted to drive or park. A broken line indicates a shared lane where other vehicles can park to make deliveries or drive in as necessary to avoid oncoming traffic. In addition to the white markings, the pavement may also be painted red like shown in item "O" above.
Q Lane extension lines
Broken white lines in an intersection are used to mark the path of lanes through the intersection.


Rural road markings

R Guide line
A broken line between opposing traffic lanes indicates crossing is allowed unless otherwise prohibited by a sign. 
S Warning line
More closely spaced broken lines are used as a warning on the approach to a solid line, obstacle, or lane division.

T Merge arrow
An arrow pointing toward the right in the center of the roadway warns overtaking traffic to return to the right as a no passing zone is approaching.
U No crossing
You may not cross a solid center line to overtake or turn.
V No crossing on one side
You may cross over the center line only if you have a broken line on your side and doing so does not endanger traffic; you may not cross when there is a solid line on your side.

Newer national trunk roads feature a green painted centerline. This is equivalent to a median and crossing the centerline is prohibited. These roads have a continuous center lane for overtaking that alternates direction periodically. 

Trunk road markings

Trunk road green centerline with alternating passing lane

Markings on narrow country lanes are being updated to use a broken edge line and no centerline. This encourages motorists to reduce speed, centers the motorist on the road to better see any oncoming traffic, provides an ad hoc bicycle lane, and still provides room for the driver to pull close to the edge of the road to allow an oncoming vehicle to pass.

Rural lane markings

Narrow country lane edge markings

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

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The information provided on this website is provided on an "as-is" basis without warranties of any kind either express or implied.  The author and his agents make no warranties or representations of any kind concerning any information contained in this website.  This website is provided only as general information.  The author expressly disclaims all liability with respect to actions taken or not taken based upon the information contained herein or with respect to any errors or omissions in such information.  All opinions expressed are strictly those of the author.  This site is not affiliated in any way with any official agency.