We are renting a car in Germany for about five days. We will primarily be driving in Germany but we will probably be in-and-out of Austria since we will be staying on the border of Austria and Germany. Sometimes it is quicker to get somewhere in Germany by going through Austria.
Germany does NOT require an International Drivers License (IDL). But Austria does. These IDL’s can be purchased at your local automobile association and cost about $15 plus the cost of a picture that can be attached to the IDL. They are typically good for one year.
Since we’ll be driving in both Austria and Germany we need to make sure we know each country’s laws for driving. For example – in Austria you cannot make a right on red. Each car must have a reflective vest in the car. A toll sticker needs to be affixed to the car. If traffic is stopped on an interstate you must create an emergency vehicle lane.
Driving rules in Germany seem to be a little different than those in the US. For example, the right-of-way is always given to traffic approaching from the right, even in T intersections. If you are pulled over by a cop, they can demand payment right there for a ticket.
So – before we go on our trip I need to make sure I have printed out the rules and signs for each country. I think we will pretty much be able to interpret the signs, but I don’t want surprises. I also need to confirm with the rental car agency that our car has the toll sticker for Austria and that we have a reflective vest in the car as well. Finally, I need to call our insurance company to double check that our policy covers us abroad, and what to do if we are in an accident abroad (side note – when in France about eight years ago the rental car I was in was rear ended, but at a very slow speed….so you never know when you will have an incident). I am pretty sure it does, but I just want to make sure.