I will be visiting my friend who lives in Germany in August. I would rent a car and drive from Frankfurt to Milan along with my friend who is an EU citizen. I have read in different forums that there is no speed limit on the highway in Germany. I would like to ask 2 questions here:

  1. Is there really no speed limit on highways in Germany?
  2. If there is no speed limit, can non EU citizens also drive cars in Germany without any speed limitations?
  • 3
    The rules of Germany apply to everyone that is in Germany; there are very few exceptions (for example, rules related to taxes may not apply to everyone; and who can avail public services - such as subsidized healthcare) - short of that, if a rule applies to a German national, it applies to everyone else in Germany as well. Commented Jun 27, 2016 at 7:30

3 Answers 3

  • You nationality is irrelevant as far as German law is concerned. You can go as fast as you want unless there are signs telling you otherwise. Most of the Autobahn has these signs. Especially the Frankfurt area also has lots of radar speed traps. I wouldn't recommend going faster there.
  • The "Richtgeschwindigkeit" of 130km/h is what you're supposed to go, conditions permitting. This has nothing to do with a speed limit.
  • If you drive faster than the "Richtgeschwindigkeit" and end up in an accident, it is automatically (at least partly your) fault.
  • If your vehicle can't go at least 61km/h it's no allowed on the Autobahn (which must not mean that you have to go 61km/h though).
  • If you go faster than 250km/h you lose any insurance. Most "normal" (rental) cars will have a electronic limitation of 250km/h. Some tuning companies remove these chips. Unless you're extremely well off I wouldn't do it.
  • Unlike many other countries the drivers on the Autobahn are generally extremely disciplined: People are supposed not to overtake in the wrong lane (=right) and to make room when a faster car approaches. This discipline is what enables the no-speed-limit approach. Adhere to it. Do not overtake in the wrong lane. People will not expect this and your chances of getting reported are as high as the risk of a nasty accident.

The reality is that you can hardly ever drive 250km/h or above because someone slower will be in front of you.


German speed limits come in two flavors: mandatory limits, exceeding which is punishable by a fine, and recommended limits (Richtgeschwindigkeit), which can be exceeded as long as you stay in control of the car. This also means that, if you have an accident while exceeding the recommended limit, you have increased liability.

So the answers:

  1. Around 50% of German autobahns (motorways) have a recommended limit of 130 km/h, but no mandatory limit. This means you can drive 300 km/h in a Lamborghini if conditions and traffic allow, but try not to end up like this guy. (Who's actually in Hungary, but close enough.)

  2. Your nationality does not matter: if you can legally drive in Germany, you can legally drive at any legal speed.

  • 1
    Short and to the point. Get all the chaff out of the way. +1 Commented Jun 27, 2016 at 7:34
  • 2
    Consider your ability to handle the speed, without any practice. And at 300 km/h, "traffic allows" means there is no traffic :-)
    – gnasher729
    Commented Jun 27, 2016 at 12:37

I would put it like this: There is no general speed limit on the Autobahn, meaning that when there is no specific speed limit announced via signs, you can theoretically go as fast as you want (Nowadays though, there are speed limit signs on most sections of the Autobahn). This applies to any drivers, regardless of nationality.

I would however recommend that, especially with a rental car, not to drive (much) faster than the Richtgeschwindigkeit of 130 km/h as mentioned in the other answers. Usually, if you are involved in an accident (even if it is not your fault) and you were driving faster than the Richtgeschwindigkeit, you might get in trouble with the insurance.

  • 1
    The rule is that if you go over 130km/h (about 80mph) it is assumed that any accident is your fault, unless you can prove the accident would have happened just the same if you had gone slower. That includes situations where someone else makes a mistake, because you have to be careful enough to anticipate situations where people make mistakes.
    – gnasher729
    Commented Jun 27, 2016 at 12:35
  • I'm not sure about the legal background, so I'll just believe you XD. Doesn't really matter to me as my only vehicle barely manages 130 km/h so going over is not something I have to concern myself with.
    – Akko
    Commented Jun 28, 2016 at 6:22

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