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National Transport
German Traffic Signs & Signals (Page 1 of 2)

This page last updated November 27, 2013

Below is a comprehensive guide of German traffic signs, signals, and markings.  This guide is designed for both the short-term tourist wanting to learn German traffic signs in preparation for a trip as well as for someone who is studying to get a German or US military driver's license.  This topic is divided into two pages.  These pages may also be of interest to road and sign aficionados. 


On these pages:


SIGNS

Germany has a comprehensive and uniform traffic sign system.  All signs have standard shapes and colors and use easy-to-understand international pictograms and symbols.  The sign system was overhauled in the early '90s to more closely conform with European standards.

Below, you will find a complete guide of German traffic signs with their official meaning and additional notes.  These signs are from the official German traffic code and include all updates through 2009.

Officially, German traffic signs are divided into three major categories: warning signs, regulation signs, and guide signs.  However, I have divided the sign collection into several additional categories and I've placed each sign where it most logically belongs regardless of its official designation.

In the German traffic code, most signs are assigned an official number.  This number is used on traffic tickets and accident reports when a sign is involved in the incident.  You can obtain the official sign number for each sign on this page by holding your mouse over the sign for a second (works with most web browsers).  Note that the 2009 revision to the traffic code eliminated the official number and definition for some signs although the signs themselves were allowed to continue to be used as necessary.


These pages include changes made to the traffic code regarding signs that took effect in September 2009 and April 2013.  Signs marked as "obsolete" are being phased-out by 2019.  Signs marked as "deprecated" no longer carry an official definition, but can be used as needed.  Signs marked as "new" were added in 2009.

Vehicle class symbols

Traffic signs in Germany employ a set of standard symbols to indicate the type or class of vehicle being referred to on the sign.  Some of the symbols are inclusive in that they encompass several lesser classes as well.  The following table outlines these symbols and their meanings:

Symbol Description Other lesser included classes
Motor vehicles Motor vehicles
Includes all multi-track motorized vehicles
Passenger vehicles Passenger vehicle with trailer Mobile home
Vehicles over 3.5t Vehicles over 3.5t with trailer Buses
  Slow-moving vehicles  
Passenger vehicles Passenger vehicles
Includes all cars and light trucks
Passenger vehicle with trailer Mobile home
Vehicles over 3.5t Vehicles over 3.5t
Includes all vehicles with a permitted gross weight over 3.5 tonnes, their trailers, and any other vehicle that does not qualify as a passenger vehicle; it specifically does not include buses
Vehicles over 3.5t with trailer
Motorcycles Motorcycles
Includes motorcycles, motorcycles with sidecars, and mopeds
Mopeds


The following are the remaining vehicle class symbols:

Mopeds Bicycles Buses Mobile home
Mopeds Bicycles Buses Motor homes
 

Passenger vehicle with trailer Vehicles over 3.5t with trailer Slow-moving vehicles Horse drawn vehicles
Passenger vehicles with trailers Vehicles over 3.5t with trailers Slow moving vehicles
Includes tractors and other vehicles that cannot exceed 25 km/h
Horse-drawn vehicles
(New)

 

Cattle/animals Riders Pedestrians Tracked military vehicles
Cattle/animals
 
Riders Pedestrians Tracked military vehicles

Streetcars Rail vehicles Vehicles with hazardous cargo Vehicles with water-pollutants
Streetcars Rail vehicles Vehicles with marked hazardous cargo Vehicles carrying more than 3000 liters of water-pollutants
 

Supplemental signs

The German sign system uses a fair amount of "supplemental signs" (Zusatzschild).  These are black and white rectangular or square signs mounted below a parent sign and are used to modify or give additional information, such as exemptions, restrictions, or more specific details, regarding the condition shown on the parent sign.  Supplemental signs use symbols wherever possible, but most supplemental signs use words.  To help you decipher these signs, a complete vocabulary list is provided at the end of the signs section.

Because of the large number of supplemental signs, not all of them are shown on this page.  Instead, I've included the most frequent ones in their most common usage, especially the ones that use symbols.

The most common use for supplemental signs is for distances.  There are two such signs-- the distance to the parent sign's condition, and the duration of the condition:

Sign 1004.33 Sign 1001.31
Distance to the condition shown
on the parent sign
Duration (length) of the condition
shown on the parent sign

Here are some examples to better illustrate the difference between the two types of distance signs:

Sign 131
Sign 1004.32
Sign 112
Sign 1001.30
Sign 334
Sign 1004.35
Sign 276
Sign 1001.31
Traffic signals
200 meters ahead
Rough road next
800 meters
Autobahn ends
2 kilometers ahead
No passing next
1 kilometer
       

Warning signs

This section contains signs that give advance warning of hazards on or near the road.  The standard shape for warning signs in Germany is a red triangle.

Sign 101 General danger
This sign marks an area where extra caution should be used.  It is rarely used by itself; instead, a supplemental sign is usually mounted beneath this sign with information on a specific hazard for which no individual sign exists.  Some examples of the more common combinations are below.

Sign 101
Sign 1006.36
Sign 101
Sign 1060.10
Sign 101
Sign 1010.11
Accident hazard
Marks an area where a high number of accidents have occurred
Sliding danger
Used to warn of a downhill section with strong side winds that may cause a vehicle pulling a trailer to lose control
Winter sports along road
Watch out for people and be aware that the road may not be salted or sanded

Sign 101
Sign 388
Sign 101
Sign 389
Sign 101
Sign 1052.38
Soft shoulder
(Obsolete)

Avoid driving on the shoulder
Soft shoulder for heavy vehicles
(Obsolete)
 
Rough road edge
(Obsolete)
There is a rough drop-off along the edge of the road

Sign 103.10 Sign 103.20 Sign 105.10 Sign 105.20
Curve (left) Curve (right) Double curve
First curve is to the left
Double curve
First curve is to the right

Sign 511.10Sign 511.11Sign 511.12 Sign 511.20Sign 511.21Sign 511.22
Lane shift (left)
All lanes shift to the left
Lane shift (right)
All lanes shift to the right

Sign 501.10Sign 501.11Sign 501.12 Sign 501.20Sign 501.21Sign 501.22
Lane crossover (left)
All lanes cross over the median to the left
Lane crossover (right)
All lanes cross over the median to the right

Sign 501.15Sign 501.16Sign 501.17
Lane split
Left lane(s) crosses over to left side of median;
right lane(s) remains on right side of median
Road shift
Traffic is shifted briefly to the left/right, then back again.

Sign 110 Sign108 Falling rock Overhang
Steep upgrade
The degree of the ascent is shown
Steep downgrade
The degree of the decent is shown; prepare to downshift
Falling rocks
(Deprecated)

Watch out for rocks on the road and do not stop or park
Tree overhang
Drivers of trucks and other high-profile vehicles should beware of low trees

Sign 117.20 Beware of ice/snow Sign 114
Strong cross wind
Prepare to adjust steering as necessary and avoid passing
Beware of ice/snow
(Deprecated)

The road or bridge ahead freezes easily
(applicable during Winter months)
Slippery when
wet or dirty

Avoid sudden braking, accelerating, or steering

Loose gravel Drawbridge Quay/riverbank
Loose gravel
(Deprecated)

Avoid sudden braking, accelerating, or steering
Drawbridge
(Deprecated)
Be prepared to stop
Quay/riverbank
(Deprecated)

There is an unguarded quay, riverbank, or landing ahead or alongside the road

Sign 123 Sign 112 Sign 131
Road work
Watch for workers, machinery, dirt, or mud on the roadway
Rough road

Traffic signals ahead
Be prepared to stop



Sign 133.10 Pedestrian crossing ahead Sign 350.10
Pedestrians
Marks a general area where pedestrians may be on or near the road
Pedestrian crossing ahead
(Deprecated)
 
Pedestrian crossing
Marks a crosswalk and indicates that pedestrians have the right-of-way

Sign 136.10 Sign 356
Watch for children
Posted near schools and playgrounds; reduce speed and be prepared to stop quickly
Crossing guards
Marks a crosswalk where school crossing guards may direct traffic

Sign 142.10 Domestic animal crossing Frog crossing Horse crossing
Wild animal crossing
Be prepared to stop or swerve suddenly; use low-beam headlights
Domestic animal crossing
(Deprecated)
Watch for animals and mud on the road
Frog crossing
(Deprecated)
The road ahead is used by migrating frogs
Horse crossing
(Deprecated)
Watch for horses crossing the road

Sign 124 Sign 138.10 Buses Low-flying aircraft
Congestion hazard
Marks an area where congestion frequently occurs; be prepared to slow down or stop
Bicycle crossing Buses
(Deprecated)
Watch for buses entering, leaving, or crossing the road
Low-flying aircraft
(Deprecated)

Be prepared for sudden noise and, at night, for the glare of landing lights

Sign 125 Sign 120 Sign 121.20 Sign 121.10
Two-way traffic
Generally posted where oncoming traffic is unexpected, such as when coming from a one-way street to a two-way street
Road narrows Road narrows (left side)  Road narrows (right side)

Sign 522.30Sign 522.32Sign 522.31Sign 522.33Sign 522.35Sign 522.34
Two-way traffic
The number of lanes in each direction is shown

Sign 531.20Sign 531.21Sign 531.22Sign 531.23Sign 532.30Sign 532.21
Left lane ends

Sign 531.10Sign 531.11Sign 531.12Sign 531.13Sign 532.10Sign 532.33
Right lane ends

Sign 541.12Sign 541.11Sign 541.10 Sign 541.20Sign 541.21Sign 541.22
Lane added (left) Lane added (right)

Sign 551.20Sign 551.21Sign 551.22Sign 551.23
Lanes added to another roadway
The lanes from your roadway are added to another roadway; you will not have to merge
 

Railway crossing signs

This section shows all signs related to railway level crossings.

Sign 151 Guarded railway crossing ahead
 Railway crossing ahead
This sign formerly indicated an unguarded railway crossing ahead; however, as of late 2009, it will now be used to warn of all railway crossings; you may not overtake between this sign and the crossing
Guarded railway crossing ahead
(Obsolete)

This sign formerly indicated a railway crossing with barriers or half-barriers ahead; it will still be seen until all instances have been replaced with the "railway crossing ahead" sign to the left by 2019; you may not overtake between this sign and the crossing

Sign 151
Sign 157.20
Sign 151
Sign 157.10
Guarded railway crossing ahead
Sign 157.20
Guarded railway crossing ahead
Sign 157.10
Railway crossing approx. 240 meters ahead
These countdown markers are located on the left and right sides of the road respectively and indicate that the crossing is about 240 meters ahead; a different distance may be shown on the marker if applicable

Sign 159.20Sign 159.10 Sign 162.20Sign 162.10
Approx. 160 meters to railway crossing
A different distance may be shown on the sign if applicable
Approx. 80 meters to railway crossing
A different distance may be shown on the sign if applicable

Sign 151
Sign 1000.11
Guarded railway crossing ahead
Sign 1000.11
Sign 151
Sign 1000.21
Guarded railway crossing ahead
Sign 1000.21
 Railway crossing on crossroad (left)  Railway crossing on crossroad (right)

Sign 201.50Sign 201.52 Sign 201.51Sign 201.53
Railway crossing (St. Andrew's cross)
Posted at the crossing; you must stop here if a train is approaching
Electrified railway crossing
This railroad crossing has electrical wires overhead; high profile vehicles should exercise caution

Standard railway crossing signal
Sign 201.50
Old West German railway crossing flasher
Sign 201.50
Old East German railway crossing flasher
Railway crossing signal
This is now the standard railroad crossing signal in Germany; yellow indicates a train is approaching-- stop if possible; red means you must stop and remain stopped until the signal turns off
Railway crossing flasher
(Obsolete prior to 2009)
This is the old standard railroad crossing signal in western Germany; you must stop when the red signal flashes
Railway crossing flasher
(Obsolete prior to 2009)
This is the old standard railroad crossing signal in East Germany; you must stop when the red signal flashes
 

Right-of-way signs

This section shows signs related to right-of-way assignment.

Sign 306 Sign 307 Sign 301
Priority road
You have the right-of-way at all intersections on this road until cancelled by a "Yield", "Stop", or "End of Priority Road" sign; outside of urban areas, parking is prohibited on this road
End of priority road
You must yield at all subsequent intersections
Priority
You have the right-of-way at the next intersection only

Sign 205 Sign 206
Yield
You must give way to traffic on the intersecting road
Stop
You must come to a complete stop and give way to traffic on the intersecting road

Sign 306
Sign 1002.10
Sign 306
Sign 1002.12
Sign 306
Sign 1002.13
Priority road turns (left)
The priority road (wide black line) turns left in the intersection; the other lines represent other streets at this intersection

Sign 306
Sign 1002.20
Sign 306
Sign 1002.22
Sign 306
Sign 1002.23
Priority road turns (right)
The priority road (wide black line) turns right in the intersection; the other lines represent other streets at this intersection

Sign 205
Sign 1002.11
Sign 205
Sign 1002.14
Sign 205
Sign 1002.21
Sign 205
Sign 1002.24
Yield to Priority road
The priority road (wide black line) turns in the intersection; you must yield to traffic following or leaving the priority road coming from the left or approaching from straight ahead
Yield to Priority road
The priority road (wide black line) turns in the intersection; you must yield to traffic following or leaving the priority road coming from the right or approaching from straight ahead

Sign 206
Sign 1002.11
Sign 206
Sign 1002.14
Sign 206
Sign 1002.21
Sign 206
Sign 1002.24
Stop and yield to Priority road
The same rules as "yield to priority road" above apply, but you must come to a complete stop first
Stop and yield to Priority road
The same rules as "yield to priority road" above apply, but you must come to a complete stop first

Sign 205
Sign 215
Sign 205
Sign 1000.32
Sign 205
Sign 1004.31
Yield to roundabout
Traffic in the roundabout has right-of-way
Yield and watch for bicycles
You must yield to all intersecting traffic, including traffic on the bicycle path
Stop ahead
There is a stop sign 100 meters ahead

Sign 102 Sign 308 Sign 208
 Unmarked intersection ahead
The next intersection is uncontrolled; yield the right-of-way to traffic approaching the intersection from the right
Priority over oncoming traffic
You have the right-of-way over oncoming traffic along the narrow one lane road ahead
Yield to oncoming traffic
You must give way to oncoming traffic along the narrow one lane road ahead
 

Speed limit signs

Below are the various signs related to speed limits.

Sign 274 Sign 274.1 Sign 274
Sign 1052.36
Maximum speed limit
Shown in kilometers per hour (km/h)
Speed limit zone
This sign is posted at the entrances to a neighborhood where the speed limit shown applies to all streets in the neighborhood until the "End of speed limit zone" sign is reached
Conditional speed limit
The speed limit shown is only in effect when the road is wet

Sign 275 Advisory speed limit
Minimum speed limit
Shown in km/h; you must travel at this speed or faster unless road, weather, or traffic conditions make it necessary to drive slower
Advisory speed limit
(Obsolete)
Shown in km/h; indicates the recommended speed limit for good road, weather, and traffic conditions; this sign is being phased-out by 2019

Sign 278 Sign 274.2 Sign 279 End of advisory speed limit
End of speed limit
The general speed limit now applies
End of speed limit zone End of minimum speed limit End of advisory speed limit
(Obsolete)

Sign 545.11Sign 545.11Sign 546.21Sign 546.10Sign 546.11
Minimum speed limit by lane
A new lane is added ahead and the minimum speed limit(s) shown applies to
the indicated lane(s)

Sign 525.31Sign 525.31Sign 526.31Sign 526.33
Minimum speed limit by lane
The minimum speed limit(s) shown apply to the indicated lane(s)

Sign 535.21Sign 535.21Sign 535.11Sign 536.20Sign 536.21
End of minimum speed limit by lane
These signs also typically indicate a lane ending
 

Regulatory signs

This section contains various signs that provide regulation.  In Germany, the standard shape for most regulatory signs is a circle.  A red circle indicates something is prohibited, while a blue disc indicates something is required.

Sign 276 Sign 277
No passing
You may not overtake other vehicles except bicycles, mopeds, and motorcycles
No passing for vehicles over 3.5t
Vehicles with a permitted gross weight over 3.5 tonnes are not allowed to overtake any other vehicle except bicycles, mopeds, and motorcycles

Sign 276
Sign 1049.11
Sign 276
Sign 1049.13
Sign 276
Sign 1040.30
Sign 1049.13
No passing
Passing of tractors and other designated slow-moving vehicles is permitted
No passing
The no passing restriction applies only to vehicles with a permitted gross weight over 3.5 tonnes, buses, and any vehicle pulling a trailer
No passing
The no passing restriction is in effect only between 8:30am and 6:00pm and applies only to vehicles with a permitted gross weight over 3.5 tonnes, buses, and any vehicle pulling a trailer

Sign 280 Sign 281 Sign 282
End of no passing zone End of no passing zone for vehicles over 3.5t End of all restrictions
This sign cancels all previous speed limit and passing restrictions; however, the general speed limit applies

Sign 250 Sign 251 Sign 253 Sign 253
Sign 1052.35
Road closed
All vehicles are prohibited; a supplemental sign indicating exceptions to this prohibition often accompanies this sign
Motor vehicles prohibited
Applies to all motor vehicles except motorcycles and mopeds
Vehicles over 3.5t prohibited Vehicles over 7.5t prohibited

Sign 254 Sign 256 Sign 255 Sign 260
Bicycles prohibited Mopeds prohibited
(Deprecated)
 
Motorcycles and mopeds prohibited Multiple prohibition
All motor vehicles, including motorcycles and mopeds, are prohibited

Sign 258 Sign 259
Horses prohibited
(Deprecated)
Pedestrians prohibited

Vertical clearance
Vehicles, including loads, higher than the indicated height are prohibited
Horizontal clearance
Vehicles, including loads, wider than the indicated width are prohibited
Length restriction
Vehicles, including loads, longer than the indicated length are prohibited

Sign 505.11Sign 505.13Sign 505.21Sign 505.23
Lane crossover with width restriction
All lanes cross over the median and the width restriction shown is in effect
for the indicated lane(s)

Sign 515.11Sign 515.13Sign 515.21Sign 515.23
Lane shift with width restriction
All lanes shift and the width restriction shown is in effect
for the indicated lane(s)

Sign 262 Sign 263
Weight limit
Vehicles with an actual composite weight exceeding the indicated limit are prohibited
Axle weight limit
Vehicles exceeding the indicated weight on any axle are prohibited

Sign 273 Sign 261 Sign 269
Minimum following distance
Vehicles with a permitted gross weight exceeding 3.5 tonnes are required to maintain the indicated minimum following distance
Hazardous cargo prohibited
Vehicles transporting marked hazardous materials are prohibited
Water polluting cargo prohibited
Vehicles transporting more than 3000 liters of water-pollutants are prohibited

Sign 270
Sign 1030.10
Sign 270.1
Sign 400
Sign 270.2 Sign 268
 Emergency traffic restriction due to air pollution
Only vehicles displaying a valid emissions inspection sticker are permitted
(shown only when applicable)
Traffic restriction zone for reduction of air pollution
Only vehicles displaying one of the indicated colored emissions inspection stickers are permitted
End of traffic restriction zone for reduction of air pollution
 
Snow chains or tires required
A speed limit of 50 km/h applies

(shown only when applicable)

Sign 267 Sign 220.20
Sign 1000.32
One way street
 Do not enter One way street
Traffic on this street must travel in the direction of the arrow
One way street
Bicycles are exempted and may travel in either direction
One way street
(Obsolete)
The street you are on is one way; this sign is being phased-out by 2019

Sign 209.10 Sign 209.20 Sign 209.31
Mandatory direction of travel
All traffic must turn left
Mandatory direction of travel
All traffic must turn right
Mandatory direction of travel
All traffic must turn either left or right

Sign 209.30 Sign 214.10 Sign 214.20 Sign 272
Mandatory direction of travel
All traffic must continue straight ahead (i.e. no turns)
Mandatory direction of travel
All traffic must continue straight ahead or turn left (i.e. no right turn)
Mandatory direction of travel
All traffic must continue straight ahead or turn right (i.e. no left turn)
No U-turn

Sign 211.10 Sign 211.20 Sign 222.10 Sign 222.20
Mandatory direction of travel
All traffic must turn left here
Mandatory direction of travel
All traffic must turn right here
Pass by on left
All traffic must pass the obstacle on the left side (i.e. keep left)
Pass by on right
All traffic must pass the obstacle on the right side (i.e. keep right)

Sign 223.10 Sign 223.30 Sign 223.20
Shoulder open to traffic
The right-hand shoulder of this roadway can be used as a traffic lane; this is generally done only during periods of congestion to provide additional capacity
Shoulder lane ends
If you are in the shoulder traffic lane, you must merge to the left immediately
End of shoulder lane
Do not drive on the shoulder past this point
 

Sign 239 Sign 242 Sign 243
Pedestrian path
Pedestrians only
Pedestrian zone
Marks the entrance to an area reserved for pedestrians; all adjacent streets are included until the "End of pedestrian zone" sign is reached
End of pedestrian zone
 

Sign 237 Sign 237
Sign 1046.11
Bicycle path
Bicycles only
Bicycle path
Mopeds also allowed

Sign 244 Sign 244
Sign 1020.14
Sign 244
Sign 1020.15
Bicycle street
Marks the entrance to a street designated for bicycles
Bicycle street
Motor vehicles allowed; bicycle street rules apply
Bicycle street
Motor vehicles allowed from opposite direction
(i.e. motor vehicles do not enter)

Sign 244
Sign 1020.13
Sign 244a
Bicycle street
Inline/roller skating in street allowed
End of bicycle street
 

Sign 240 Sign 241.31Sign 241.30
Pedestrian & bicycle path
Pedestrians and bicycles only; both can use the entire pathway
Split pedestrian & bicycle path
Pedestrians and bicycles only; pedestrians and cyclists must keep to the side of the path indicated by the sign

Sign 245 Sign 245b Sign 238
Bus lane
All other vehicles prohibited
Bus lane
This sign shows which lane is reserved for buses
Bridle path
Horses only

Sign 325 Sign 326
 Traffic calming zone
Marks the beginning of an area where traffic calming rules apply
End of traffic calming zone
 

Sign 327 Sign 328
 Tunnel
Posted at the entrance to a tunnel and indicates that low-beam headlights must be turned-on, that U-turns are prohibited, and that accidents or breakdowns must be moved to a designated emergency wayside
Emergency wayside
Marks a roadside bay for stopping in case of an emergency or breakdown; all other use is prohibited

Sign 330 Sign 331 Sign 334 Sign 336
Autobahn entrance
Posted on Autobahn entrance ramps and indicates that Autobahn traffic regulations begin
Expressway entrance
Motor vehicles only
End of Autobahn
Located on Autobahn exit ramps and indicates that Autobahn traffic regulations end; may also be used to warn that the Autobahn ends ahead
End of expressway
 
 

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This page and all its contents are Copyright 2010 by Brian Purcell

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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.