An adequate safety distance must be maintained between vehicles at any speed. The distance must be sufficient to ensure that drivers can stop their own vehicle at any time, even if the driver of the vehicle in front suddenly brakes.
Failure to comply with the regulations governing the safety distance in case of a very small distance (0.2 or more, but less than 0.4 seconds, i.e. a distance of between 7 m and 14 m at a speed of ~ 81 mph [130 km/h]) can not only result in a fine, but also in a demerit point [Vormerkung] under the demerit points system [Vormerksystem]. If the distance is less than 0.2 seconds (i.e. less than 7 m at a speed of ~ 81 mph [130 km/h]), your driving licence can be withdrawn for at least six months in addition to a fine.
Drivers are required to maintain a distance of at least 20 m behind rail vehicles as long as they are not about to overtake the rail vehicle.
"Long" vehicles (e.g. trucks, truck sets, buses and the like) are required to maintain a distance of at least 50 m behind other "long" vehicles on country roads.
- Section 18 of the Straßenverkehrsordnung (StVO)
- Section 26 paragraph 2a of the Führerscheingesetz (FSG)
Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology