Road Markings in Germany

General road markings in Germany are in white. There are, however, a few exceptional circumstances, like markings in the under-construction areas. These markings are painted using several types of materials. A few of these are notably higher than the road surface, such as road boundary lines. When a tire rolls over the boundary line, it makes a distinctive sound to warn the driver. We go over each of these markers below.

  1. Solid White Line
  2. Broken White Line
  3. Solid and Broken White Line
  4. Directional Arrows
  5. Advance Notice Arrow
  6. Arrow Indicating a Lane End
  7. Stop Line
  8. Wait Line
  9. No Parking Road Marking
  10. Pedestrian Crossing Marking
  11. Road Markings in a Construction Area
  12. Cycle Lane
  13. Tipps regarding Road Markings and Speed Limits
  14. Bus Lane
  15. Parking Lot Striping

Learn German on Your Own
A self-study guide for beginners

1. Solid White Line

Solid White Line

A solid white line in the middle of the road (Fahrstreifenbegrenzung) prohibits traffic from passing on either side. Passing is not allowed on such a road because vehicles must not cross the solid white line, nor is it authorized for motorcyclists to lean over the solid line. Parking is only permitted when there is a minimum of three meters between the parked car from the solid center line of the road. On the Autobahn network, metallic rails are installed to separate the opposite traffic. White solid lines on the Autobahn don't separate the oncoming traffic but the traffic in the same direction.

The solid white line at the edge of the road also called the boundary of a road (Fahrbahnbegrenzung), is somewhat prominently higher than the road surface (about a half of a centimeter). It separates the driveway from hard shoulders or other special paths. Parking or stopping on the left of the line is prohibited.

There are few exceptions when a solid white line can be crossed. In some special conditions, sign 223.1-51 allows progressing onto hard shoulders, while sign 511 indicates all the traffic on the adjacent lane to the hard shoulder must shift to the hard shoulder, crossing the solid white line. For more details, please visit the Driving on Autobahn page.

If there's a property behind a solid white line and there's no other way to drive through, it's permissible to cross the line in such a condition. By doing so, the driver who is crossing the solid line has no priority and must yield to other road users, and traffic flow must not be endangered.

2. Broken White Line

Sign 340

The single, broken white line, also called the guideline (Leitlinie), serves the purpose of guiding. Crossing this line is permitted (turning left over this line, making a U-turn, or passing other vehicles is permitted).

There are two types of broken white lines:

  1. Thick lines
  2. Thin lines

Thin lines are used to separate the traffic on a roadway into two or more lanes.
They are used to separate the roadway from oncoming traffic. Please see the following image:

Thick broken line separating the exit

Thick lines are used to separate different routes before crossings or junctions.
They also separate the Autobahn acceleration and exit lanes.

A thick broken line on the right is separating the route.

If you are new in German traffic and are confused about thick and thin lines then a simple rule of thumb is to always organize the vehicle in a way that thick lines are on your right side and thin lines are on the left side.

3. Solid and Broken White Line

Solid and broken white line

Vehicles traveling on the side of the broken line may cross the line and pass other vehicles, but vehicles with the solid line on their left are not allowed to cross it and pass other vehicles. In German, this division of a roadway is called Einseitige Fahrstreifenbegrenzung.

Parking is only allowed if there is at least three meters of distance between the parked vehicle and the white solid line. So, the lane with the broken line has a little bit more space to park than the side with the solid line. Violation of a solid line can cause a fine of up to 150 euros, and in the case of causing an accident or endangering other road users, a fine of up to 300 euros and a driving ban of one month.

4. Directional Arrows

Sign 297

Directional arrows

Directional arrows (Pfeilmarkierungen) are painted before crossings or junctions. They warn drivers to adjust their vehicles in the correct lane. Lanes can be changed until they are broken. Once a vehicle approaches the solid white line, changing lane is no more allowed. Parking or stopping is prohibited on these lanes.

5. Advance Notice Arrow

Sign 297.1

Advance Notice Arrow

An Advance Notice Arrow (Vorankündi­gungs­pfeil) indicates the end or beginning of an authorized passing. When the arrowhead is pointing towards the left, it indicates an authorized passing area or broken line is approaching. If the arrowhead is pointing towards the right it warns about merging back into the lane.

6. Arrow Indicating a Lane End

Sign 297.1-21

Arrows indicating the end of a lane

A steeper arrow in the middle of the lane indicates an end of the lane. Vehicles in this lane must merge into the adjacent lane.

7. Stop Line

Sign 294

Stop line

The stop line on the road (Haltlinie) is a white thick solid line. It indicates the driver must come to a complete stop before proceeding. A stop line without a stop sign is equivalent to the hexagonal red stop sign, even if there is no stop sign installed.

8. Wait Line

Sign 341

Wait line

A thick white broken line is a waiting line (Wartelinie). It indicates the driver must yield to the traffic on the upcoming priority road/lane. If necessary, come to a complete stop to allow traffic on the priority road to clear before proceeding. A waiting line is equivalent to a yield sign, even if there is no yield sign installed.

9. No Parking Road Markings

Sign 299

No parking road markings

Zigzag pattern markings on the road (Grenzmarkierung für Halt- oder Parkverbote) indicate no parking or no stopping area. These marking are often to be seen at bus and streetcar stops.

10. Restricted Area Road Markings

Sign 298

Restricted area road markings

An area marked in a striped pattern (Sperrfläche) is prohibited to enter. It is used to increase or decrease the number of lanes on the road.

11. Pedestrian Crossing Marking

Sign 293

Pedestrians have the right way over the pedestrian crosswalk (Fußgänger­über­weg). It's recommended to slow the vehicle on approaching a pedestrian crosswalk and pay attention to both ends of the pedestrian crossing. Stopping or parking within five meters of a pedestrian crosswalk is prohibited.

To read more about pedestrian crosswalk rules in Germany please visit the page Important Road Signs in Germany. To read about road crossing rules for pedestrians, please visit the page Right of Way.

12. Road Markings in a Construction Area

Yellow road markings in a construction area

Under construction road areas in Germany are often painted with additional yellow lines. These lines have precedence over normal white lines. All other rules of white lines also apply to these temporary yellow lines.

13. Cycle Lane

Bicycle lane

Please note that it is a junction and not a crossing, as turning left is prohibited due to the solid line. Vehicles turning right over the bicycle lane must yield to cyclists.

Cycle lane can be just in road color or it may be painted in maroon color. It is separated by a solid white line from other lanes. Parking or stopping on Bicycle lane is prohibited.

Sometimes the bicycle lane is on the pavement. It may or may not share the pedestrian walking area. On the pavement, maroon color for cycle lane is not necessary. It can be without any color (default pavement color). Cyclists don't have any special priority or right of way. They are considered a normal vehicle.

14. Tipps regarding Road Markings and Speed Limits (Inside City Limits)

In case there is no speed limit indication. The roads without a centerline marking generally have a speed limit of 30 km/h. On these roads right before left is applicable, unless the priority of the way is shown by a sign. The driver should remain alert at every junction and crossing of the right approaching traffic.

A road without centerline markings

If there is a middle guideline (solid or broken) present, then the speed limit is normally 50 km/h, unless indicated otherwise. Traffic on these roads has normally priority. Either indicated by sign or sign . However, if there are no priority signs, only the centerline markings doesn't establish the priority of a road.

A road with centerline markings

15. Bus Lane

In some cities, a separate lane on the road is designated for buses. Other vehicles are not allowed to drive, park or stop on the bus lane. Passing slow buses is allowed. Streetcars don't have any designated lanes. Their tracks can be in between normal traffic or separated. A streetcar moving in between normal traffic doesn't have any exceptional priority or right of way unless indicated by a traffic sign.

16. Parking Lot Striping

Often parking lines are also painted on the ground as shown in the supplementary signs 1053-38 and sign 1053-39 . These types of markings regulate the arrangement of parking areas and their demarcation from the flowing traffic. The striping indicates in which way and on which surfaces vehicles are to be parked. If the walking path for pedestrians is not restricted, parking stripings can also be marked on sidewalks. These stripings are painted in form of narrow lines and can be displayed in both solid and broken patterns. However, at least the four corners of the individual parking lot must be recognizable.

Sign 314 with 1053-38

Perpendicular parking striping

Sign 314 with 1053-39

Parking inclined to the road

Parallel parking lots are also sometimes marked. Other ground markings in the parking area can be, reserved parking for disabled persons.

Parallel parking striping

Parallel parking striping for special people

Multiple parking striping

Explore Other Topics