Most city parking in Germany is paid or restricted to residents. Large cities have large signs to direct you to garages, and some show how many spaces are available at any given time. “Besetzt” means the garage is full; “Frei” means that spaces are available.
In many towns you must buy a ticket in advance for the time you think you will park. Look for the “Parkschein Automat” (a parking ticket vending machine), where it also says “Hier Parkschein lösen” (get your parking ticket here).
A sign on the machine shows the coins the machine accepts and the price of each time unit, usually in 30-minute increments. Put in the money, press the button for the ticket, and place the ticket facing up on the dashboard on the driver’s side of your car. Don’t forget what time you have to be back as most cities are very efficient at writing tickets for cars parked over their allotted time.
Using the Parking Garages
Drive through the entrance marked “Einfahrt”. Take a ticket from the automatic ticket dispenser by pushing the button marked “Drucken”. Keep the ticket with you when you leave the car, because you must pay before returning to your car. Pay at the machine (Kassenautomat) or at a window (Kasse). If you want a receipt, push the “Quittung” button after your paid ticket comes back out of the machine. You have about 15 minutes to drive out. Drive to the the machine and insert the ticket to open the barrier.
ADAC – “The Yellow Angels”
The German equivalent of AAA (American Automobile Association) is ADAC (Allge-meiner Deutscher Automobil Club). ADAC offers many services for drivers, the most visible of which are the yellow road patrols throughout Germany.
More than 1,600 “Yellow Angels” are employed by ADAC, so help is usually nearby no matter where or when you run into trouble. By cooperative arrangement with the automobile clubs in other European countries, your ADAC membership covers many services. It gives you emergency service throughout Europe as well as return to Germany from anywhere in the world in case of illness. An ADAC subscription gives you the services of the road patrol, a monthly magazine, and tourist information.
Your ADAC office can provide computer printouts of the best driving routes, names of hotels and emergency medical service when you’re on the road. It also sells the toll stickers for driving in Austria and Switzerland and toll cards for Italy.
One further service is the loan of tire chains for your ski vacation. If you break down, mechanics provide free labor and towing services for ADAC members. You pay only for spare parts.
For more information, call 0180-510 11 12 (€ 0.14/min). For ADAC service call 222222 from your cell phone or 0180-222 22 22 from a landline. Operators who speak English as well as German