Clearing a Lane for Emergency Vehicles
As of 1 January 2012, drivers of vehicles are required to clear a lane for emergency vehicles [Rettungsgasse ] between the existing lanes of a motorway [Autobahn] or a dual carriageway [Autostraße] as soon as traffic ceases to progress and congestion is imminent. This obligation applies on carriageways which are divided and have at least two lanes. Clearing a lane helps emergency vehicles get to their destination without being hindered.
On carriageways with two lanes a lane for emergency vehicles must be cleared between the two existing lanes; on carriageways with more than two lanes it must be cleared between the far left lane and the lane next to it.
This means that all drivers of vehicles in the far left lane are required to steer their vehicle as far to the left as possible. All other drivers must drive as far to the right as is necessary for clearing a lane for emergency vehicles. Emergency lanes [Pannenstreifen] can be used when swerving to the right in case it is necessary for clearing a lane for emergency vehicles. Vehicles should not be aligned diagonally, but rather parallel to the lane in order to avoid hindrance of emergency vehicles.
Vehicles other than emergency vehicles, vehicles belonging to breakdown services and vehicles for road services must not use lanes for emergency vehicles. Failure to comply with this regulation as well as following an emergency vehicle that is using such a lane can result in a fine.
As in the past, drivers of vehicles are required to make room for approaching emergency vehicles on roads which are neither motorways nor dual carriageways.
The obligation to keep a lane for emergency vehicles cleared ends as soon as the traffic starts moving smoothly and traffic standstill is no longer to be expected.
Drivers of vehicles who do not clear a lane for emergency vehicles or who drive on such a lane illegally can be fined up to 726 Euro. If an emergency vehicle, a vehicle belonging to breakdown services or a vehicle for road services is obstructed thereby, administrative penalties range from 72 to 2.180 Euro.
Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology