Automobile and Driving Glossary
Traffic Signs: Annotated English-German Glossary
German Vocabulary Related to Cars and Driving in German Europe
Do you know what this sign means?
If not, find out in this glossary!
If you are a non-European planning to drive in Europe, you should make sure that you know what the traffic signs mean. Most European traffic signs are uniform throughout the continent and they usually communicate via symbols and graphics. But there are also situations where knowing German is important. If you saw a sign that said Anlieger frei or Einfahrt freihalten!, would you know what they mean? This special English-German glossary is designed to help you learn what you need to know when driving in German Europe.
Germany's traffic code, known as the StVO (Straßenverkehrsordnung), has very specific sign requirements. German (and European) traffic signs fall into several categories: Gefahrenzeichen (hazard warnings), Richtzeichen (directional/right-of-way), Vorschriftzeichen (legal dos/don'ts, Gebote/Verbote), and Zusatzzeichen (additional information: distances, times, etc.). See our Zusatzzeichen Glossary for details on supplementary signs.
Part of the Auto and Driving Glossary
Traffic Signs in German
All traffic signs are important, but we start with these ten most important traffic signs because not knowing what they mean could result in a serious accident. Some, such as the universal stop sign, may look familiar, but others are less obvious. Next to each sign are its English and German meanings. Items marked with an asterisk (*) offer an additional explanation below.
Yield right of way
Halt! Vorfahrt gewähren
End of priority road*
Ende der Vorfahrtstraße
See explanation below.
All vehicles prohibited
Verbot für Fahrzeuge aller Art
Railroad crossing (no crossing gate)
Andreaskreuz - Schienenverkehr hat Vorfahrt
Besides the "St. Andrew's Cross," there are two other railroad
crossing markers. See the following pages.
Also known as Zebrastreifen (zebra stripes).
Intersection with right of way from the right**
Kreuzung mit Vorfahrt von rechts
* Priority road: A Vorfahrtstraße is a road with priority right of way. Cars entering from crossroads must yield before entering a priority road. Since this sign indicates the END of the priority road, you no longer have an automatic right of way.
** Right of way: For American drivers, the European concept of Vorfahrt von rechts is an important difference to know. Unless a sign or traffic signal tells you otherwise, vehicles coming from the right have the right of way. This applies to traffic circles and intersections unless you are on a priority road (above).
More German traffic signs...
NEXT > Traffic Signs 2
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