What - where?
Cars have to be insured and registered before they can be driven on German roads. The car also has to have a technical inspection to prove that it is roadworthy. This is called the «TÜV». An emissions test called the «ASU» also has to be passed.
Driving licenses «Führerschein» from other member states of the European Union are valid in Germany. All other licenses, including the «International driving licenses«, normally are valid for six months only. Before the time elapses a German license must be applied for at the appropriate authority, in this case the «Führerschein-stelle». Please make enquiries as early as possible on the validity of your license at your local authorities.
In Germany the legal blood alcohol limit is 0.5 per mil. One beer or a glass of wine is enough to reach this limit. If you are caught with a higher blood alcohol level (checked in a breath or blood test), heavy fines are usually imposed and the license is often withdrawn. If a driver is involved in an accident and found to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs, then – irrespective of who caused the accident – the driver is liable to be prosecuted even with blood alcohol levels less than 0.5 per mil.
TÜV AND ASU
The technical safety of your car – called «PKW» or «Personenkraftwagen» in German – must be checked every two years. The «TÜV» inspection is carried out by the «Technische Überwachungs-Verein» amongst others. The emissions test is also carried out by this body. This emissions test is called the «Abgas-Sonder-Untersuchung» or «ASU». The «ASU» can also be done at your local garage.
Apart from the compulsory third party insurance one has the choice to take out comprehensive insurance «Vollkaskoversicherung» or other insurances. If the insured person is not causing any accidents the insurance fees decline over the years.
ACCIDENTS AND BREAKDOWNS
There are orange SOS telephones «Notrufsäulen» at regular intervals along all motorways. Through these SOS telephones one can report accidents and breakdowns and call for assistance. Small arrows on the black and white posts at the side of the road indicate where the nearest SOS telephone is situated. You can also call for assistance by using a mobile phone. The number in case of emergency is 110.
ACCIDENTS WITH KIDS
If children have caused an accident one should know that children of 10 years and under are not responsible for the damage.
The German rail company, the «Deutsche Bahn» («DB») – also known as «Die Bahn»– runs trains over longer distances. The Deutsche Bahn has a complicated pricing system with many possibilities to save money if used to full advantage. If one buys a ticket several days in advance the fare is often cheaper. However, the single or return tickets are valid only for a specific train connection. It is also recommended to book in advance because of the limited number of seats. If one travels with a friend, the second person only has to pay half price. Children up to the age of 14, being accompanied by their parents or grandparents, travel free of charge.
If one uses the «Deutsche Bahn» often then it is recommended to acquire a «BahnCard». Depending on the type of «BahnCard», one can get a reduction of 25 per cent or 50 per cent (in addition to the other reductions) off the original price. Itâ€™s worth using the «Bahn-Card 100» if one travels long distances everyday.
It is good to know as early as possible when one is travelling. If one combines the various saving possibilities, the «Deutsche Bahn» can be a costeffective way of travelling. There are also other offers available such as the Happy Weekend Ticket «Schönes-Wochenende-Ticket», the state ticket «Länderticket» or monthly and yearly tickets «Monatskarten» and «Jahres-karten») The «Inter rail Ticket» allows young people (under the age of 26) to travel all over Europe for around 300 Euros.
TRAVELLING WITH OTHERS
One possibility to travel cheaply is the «Mitfahrgelegenheit». This is a service provided by people travelling long distances by car. Many cities have a so- called a «Mitfahrzentrale» (short: «MFZ»), an office that takes offers from car drivers who are looking for people to share the costs of travelling and clients who want to get a lift at low cost.
In the Landshut city busses single journey tickets, day cards and multiple tickets can be bought on the bus. Reduced fares for students are available. Certain tickets such as weekly and monthly tickets can only be bought in advance at «Stadtwerke» or at the «Verkehrsverein» at city hall or in certain stores.