In Germany, the stop sign follows the guidelines set by the German Road Traffic Regulations. Red, octagonal, and marked with a white “STOP”: The stop sign in Germany is usually hard to miss. It signifies “Stop. Yield right-of-way” and is known as sign 206 in the German Road Traffic Regulations (Straßenverkehrsordnung).
Stop Sign in Germany
The German stop sign is octagonal and has a red background with a white border. The word “STOP” is written in white capital letters in the centre. This design ensures that it is easily recognizable and distinguishable from other road signs.
Where to Stop at a Stop Sign?
Stopping at the Stop Line
All vehicles must stop at the stop line at a stop sign and yield to crossing traffic. You must always stop at the stop line, even if no vehicles are visible, and even if the crossing traffic is not yet fully visible. Once it is clear, you can drive into the intersection without stopping again. Remember, the stop sign is different from the yield sign.
Note: If there is a traffic light at the intersection, you must follow it. You do not have to stop if the light is green. Also, the instructions of a traffic police officer take precedence over the stop sign.
What If There Is No Stop Line?
If there is no stop line, you must stop at the sight line. This is the area before the edges of the crossing or joining street. Even if the crossing traffic is not visible or the view is obstructed by parked cars, you must first stop at the sight line. You may then drive forward until you can see the crossing street. Stopping again is not necessary, but it is recommended.
How Long Must You Stop?
How long you must stop at a stop sign is not legally regulated. However, you must come to a complete halt, meaning all wheels must stop moving, and you must ensure that no traffic has the right of way. This typically takes about three seconds, as taught in driving school.
Stopping or Parking in Front of a Stop Sign?
If you drive a vehicle, you may not stop within ten meters in front of a stop sign if it would be obscured. It’s not entirely forbidden to stop or park in front of a stop sign, but only if your vehicle doesn’t block the view. Cars can sometimes stop in front of a stop sign, but larger vehicles like trucks and big motorhomes must be cautious.
Warning: There is a general parking prohibition in front of intersections and junctions. You must not park within 5 meters of the intersection points. If there is a physically separated bike lane on your right, it’s 8 meters.
What Penalties Can You Expect?
Penalties for Not Stopping
If you do not stop at a stop sign, you may face a warning fine of 10 Euros. If other road users are endangered, the fine goes up to 70 Euros, and you receive one point in Flensburg. If an accident occurs, the fine increases to 85 Euros, including one point.
Penalties for Wrongly Stopping or Parking
If you wrongly stop or park in front of a stop sign, warning fines starting from 20 or 25 Euros can be expected.
The stop sign in Germany carries specific rules and regulations that must be adhered to. Whether it’s knowing where to stop, understanding how long to stop, or being aware of the penalties for violations, every detail matters. These rules ensure that roads are safe and that traffic flows smoothly.