Driving in Germany: Turning at traffic lights

This week’s topic is about turning at traffic lights. In Germany it is a bit different than in the U.S., but don’t worry, we’ve got your back.

There are two different green arrows that indicate how and when you can make a turn at a red light.

Scenario 1: Red traffic light and green metal arrow.

In this scenario, you are allowed to make a right turn on the right lane even though the traffic light is red. You do not have to, though! When you do, your car must come to a standstill at the line for 3 seconds and you need to yield to other participants in traffic. Pay special attention to other cars, cyclists, and pedestrians. If there is no danger to other members of traffic, you can make the turn.

Scenario 2: Red traffic light and green light arrow.

In this scenario, you can make a right turn without stopping at the line. This green light arrow also gives you the right of way and you do not have to yield to other members of traffic.   

Scenario 3: Red traffic light and no arrow.

Whenever there is a red traffic light that does not have a green arrow attached, you can not make a right turn. You have to stop at the traffic light until it turns green. Once the light turns green, you can make a turn but have to yield to oncoming straight traffic.

As always, not adhering to German traffic regulations is fined.

Up to €70 and one point against your license if you don’t stop at the line in the metal arrow scenario 1. If you endanger someone, the fine goes up.

At least €118.50 and one point against your license if you run a red light. If you endanger other traffic, fines go up and your license will be suspended.

As snow, ice and a cold season is coming around the bend, next week we’ll discuss driving in winter and the importance of appropriate tires.