Be prepared for a random car inspection in Germany
With temperatures well below freezing at night and daytime temps only slightly higher, the Polizei will be out conducting vehicle inspections to ensure drivers are prepared for poor road conditions. A checkpoint was spotted near Kleber Kaserne in Kaiserslautern this week, and others will likely be set up in the coming days.
In addition to monitoring your speed, Polizei may stop you to check your vehicle for:
1. First-aid kit, safety vest and warning triangle. Check that your first-aid kit has not expired — yes, it does have an expiration date.
2. Winter or all-season tires. Tires must have a snowflake or “M+S” (mud + snow or matsch und schnee) marking. Tires bearing the “three-mountain” logo, three mountain peaks with a snowflake, are made to handle severe winter conditions, and winter tires are better for poor road conditions than all-season tires.
3. Tire tread depth. The minimum tire tread required to pass USAREUR vehicle inspection is 1.6 millimeters, though a minimum of 3-4 millimeters is recommended to meet German requirements for adequate tire treads. To check your tires, place a euro coin in your tire’s tread. If you can see the golden rim of the coin, the tread is too worn, and your tires need to be replaced.
4. Functioning turn signals and all lights. This includes parking, brake, daytime, nighttime and fog lights.
5. License, registration and government-issued photo ID. Ensure that everything is current; you should always have these items with you when driving.
If you are stopped and do not meet the above requirements, you may have to pay a fine (either in euros on the spot or at a later date). You may also be required to return to the local German police station to show proof of compliance (i.e. that you have acquired a warning triangle or had your fog lights replaced).