Where I am, we had the first few centimeters of snow today. On the way to work, some speed limit signs were unreadable. Now, I knew what they said because I drive this way every day, but if I didn't, what speed limit would I need to obey? Could I get points /lose my license of going over the posted limit even of I can't read the signs?

This is for Germany, and I am looking for answers for that jurisdiction.

2 Answers 2


In Germany, you must not drive faster than reasonable under the circumstances. Since there is a sign covered by snow, that should keep your speed low. Since there is also a speed limit sign and you don't know what the speed limit is, that should also keep your speed considerably low to be on the safe side.

I'd recommend that you make a judgement call what you would consider a reasonable speed limit at that point (you have a driving license after all, so you should be capable of making that judgement call) and assume that you overestimated a bit. Then take off a few more km/h for the snow.


I am not going to suppose that I know anything about Germany, but here in the USA, the first question the magistrate is going to ask me is, "but just let me be clear, this is a route that you drive often?"

We don't need to be rocket scientists to see where that line of questioning goes.

The onus is on the municipality/government to keep signage readable, but a magistrate that hears you say, "I was going 100kph because the 60kph speed limit sign was unreadable due to wind-driven snow accumulating on it" will dismiss your argument for several reasons: First, you DID SEE the obstructed sign, because you noted that it was a speed limit sign that was covered with snow...so you KNEW that there was a speed limit on the route even though you couldn't make out the numbers. Second, you were driving recklessly for the conditions, irregardless of what the sign read. Third, you KNOW THE ROUTE.

  • 3
    Please see my question: "but if I didn't, what speed limit would I need to obey" Also, I am looking for answers relating to German laws
    – YviDe
    Commented Nov 23, 2015 at 18:19
  • 1
    @dwoz, a more realistic example would be "I was going 30 mph because the 25 mph speed limit sign was covered with snow". In this situation, you could reasonably expect that the sign is merely a confirmation of the speed you're already going, rather than a reduction in speed due to changing conditions.
    – Mark
    Commented Nov 25, 2015 at 1:32
  • @Mark...in front of a judge, I would hesitate to use words like "I was going 30kph because the 25kph sign was obstructed. i.e. one way you could interpret that statement is "the sign didn't apply to me because it was obstructed." That is probably not how you INTEND the statement, but a court is going to interpret a defendant's statement in the worst possible light. :)
    – dwoz
    Commented Nov 25, 2015 at 18:28

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