Glossary – Germany

  1. Breakdown/accident

    An emergency telephone number will be included in the documents you receive from Avis. Emergency phone calls can be made free of charge from any public telephone. Emergency phone numbers are:

    Police: 110
    Medical emergency: 112

    German Automobile Club (ADAC):
    - From a public phone: 0180 22 22 22
    - From a mobile phone: 22 22 22

  2. Cash

    ATMs are widely available. All common international credit cards are accepted. English instructions are usually available.

  3. Climate

    Germany has a continental climate. The weather can be cool and damp in the spring and fall.

  4. Directions

    Although brief directions are included in your travel documents, we recommend buying a good road atlas. The best solution is always a GPS unit. While rented units are often available, the best solution is to buy your own unit, if you do not already have one, and download the map of Germany prior to departure.

  5. Driving

    Front and rear seat belts are obligatory in Germany. It is illegal to talk on a hand-held mobile phone while operating a motor vehicle in Germany.

    Speed limits:
    In towns: 50 km/h (30 mph)
    On motorways: None unless indicated
    On highways: 100 km/h (62 mph)

    There is generally no speed limit on German Autobahns, although the recommended maximum speed is 130 km/h (80 mph). You should be careful when pulling into the left lane, as cars may be coming from the rear at high speed. Impatient drivers will flash their headlights, which means get out of the way. Most German motorways are toll-free.
    Be careful about drinking and driving: A driver whose blood alcohol level exceeds 0.5 will be considered legally intoxicated.
    Very little free parking is available in downtown areas. Parking along the street often requires feeding a parking meter, which may be located some distance from the car. After you've settled the required fee, the meter will produce a ticket that must be placed in the front windshield.
    Be careful about observing no-parking signs, as violations may result in your car being towed away. The main parking signs are:

  6. Driving License

    An international driving license is only required, if the original driving license is printed in a non-Roman alphabet or does not provide a photo.

  7. Electricity

    Outlets in Germany are 230 volt. Most appliances will require adapters, which can be purchased at airports and locally.

  8. Fuel

    The main choices are Bleifrei (unleaded), Super-Bleifrei (super unleaded) and Diesel. The German word for petrol is Benzin. A petrol station is called a Tankstelle.

  9. Health insurance

    Check to make sure your health insurance covers travel abroad. If not, you would be wise to take out travel insurance.

  10. Stamps

    Stamps can be purchased in all post offices and many Kiosks.

  11. Time zone

    Germany is located in the Central European Time Zone. European Summer Time is used between the end of March and the end of October, meaning clocks are moved forward an hour during that period.

    Time differences:
    UK: - 1 hour
    East coast: - 6 hours
    West coast: - 9 hours.

  12. Tipping

    Service is normally included in the restaurant check.
    Nevertheless, it is common to round up amounts by about 10% or to the next euro for smaller amounts.

  13. Using the telephone

    Most public phones require telephone cards, which can be purchased at Kiosks.

    Country codes for calls placed from Germany:
    UK: 00 44 + phone number
    USA/Canada: 00 1 + phone number

    Country codes for placing calls to Germany:
    UK: 00 49 + phone number
    USA/Canada: 011 49 + phone number

  14. Weights and measures

    Long distances are measured in kilometers in Germany. A kilometer equals about 2/3 mile.

    Shorter distances are measured in meters. A meter is 3.28 feet (1.09 yards).

    Weights are measured in kilos. One kilo equals 2.20 pounds.