Road Markings in Germany
General road markings in Germany are in white. Though there are some special cases. One of these special cases is road construction areas. Several different kinds of materials are used to paint these markings. Some of these are prominently higher than the road surface. For example, road boundary lines. When a tire rolls over the boundary line it makes a special kind of noise to warn the driver. All of these markings are discussed below.
- Solid White Line
- Broken White Line
- Solid and Broken White Line
- Directional Arrows
- Advance Notice Arrow
- Arrow Indicating a Lane End
- Stop Line
- Wait Line
- No Parking Road Marking
- Pedestrian Crossing Marking
- Road Markings in a Construction Area
- Cycle Lane
- Tipps regarding Road Markings and Speed Limits
- Bus Lane
- Parking Lot Striping
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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 becasue vehicles must not cross the solid white line, nor is it authorized for motorcyclists to lean over the solid line. Parking is only allowed if there is at least three meters distance between the parked vehicle and the solid line in the middle 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 the 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
If there's a property behind a solid white line and there's no other way to drive through, the solid white line can be crossed. 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
The single broken white line, also 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:
- Thick lines
- 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 for 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.
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 having 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 distance between the parked vehicle and 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 solid line can cause a fine of up to 150 Euros, and in 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
Perpendicular parking striping
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
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