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Proper parking in dark streets

Avoiding fines: What motorists must observe when parking

Germany saves electricity. Less public lighting entails that a certain parking rule will be applied more frequently this fall and winter: vehicles parked in an insufficiently lit or unlit street in built-up areas must have their parking lights on – otherwise the owner may be partially at fault in the event of an accident. Adequate lighting must also be ensured outside built-up areas: In general, the parking lights must be switched on while parking in an unlit area. This is regulated in Section 17 of the Road Traffic Act (Straßenverkehrsordnung).

Difference between sidelights and parking lights
The function sidelights turns on a headlight half left or right to the road and a taillight on the car at low power and the ignition key can be removed. Out of town, the parking light must be switched on: Both headlights and taillights light up to make the car visible in the dark.

Watch out for red ring
Not every street light is turned on all night – recognizable by the so-called "lantern ring". Traffic sign 394 has a red ring with white stripes at the top and bottom. Occasionally, the time at which the respective light is switched off is also written inside the red marking.

Avoid a fine
Anyone who fails to switch on sidelights or parking lights and thereby causes a hazard is liable to a fine. Additionally, of course, there are the costs of damage to the motor vehicles involved – in case the misconduct leads to an accident.