The autobahn in Germany is world famous and this is my experience.
Do you think they serve a purpose, or should they be completely abolished?
I say who needs ‘em? We could survive without them…well at least some of us could anyway (RIP to the others.)
For example, let’s look a look at the autobahn in Germany. Those Germans must be doing something right because studies have shown that the accident rate does not increase when the speed limit is removed (an independent study based upon my own findings…kidding.) Anyways, some of us prefer pushing the pedal to the metal, while others…not so much. If you’re anything like my aunt Alice, just the thought of going faster than 60 mph makes you shiver.
Thankfully, aunt Alice didn’t go with me on my most recent trip to Europe, so I spared her the horror of riding on the autobahn in Germany. For one out of the two weeks I was in Germany/the Netherlands, I got to drive a 2013 black Audi A6 that had a total of 4,290 miles on it. Naturally, I added on to the miles as I drove, repeatedly, up and down the autobahn in Germany.
Not having a speed limit forced down your throat is a lot more fun than you’d think it would be (aunt Alice.) Don’t worry; the fastest I went was only 250 kph so it wasn’t too fast. I mean I go 155 mph all the time in the states, don’t you?
So we’re going to move past the fact that I shouldn’t be alive right now and talk about some lessons I learned from the autobahn in Germany. It’s time to get cultured up in here with some German schnitzel!
Lesson #1 from the Autobahn in Germany: Grandma Pearl isn’t Allowed to Drive in the Left-Hand Lane
I don’t consider myself to have any form of road rage. Driving doesn’t upset me to the point of wanting to assassinate the Honda Civic that just cut me off.
As it is with most things in my life, it takes a lot before I publicly express my frustration, so naturally my road rage is intrinsically nonexistent. However, there are several things one can do to exasperate my ‘nonexistent’ road rage.
One example of this is when little granny occupies the far-left lane of a major freeway. You know; the fast lane. The speed limit is 75 mph (120 kph), but Granny is early to her weekly Bingo tournament, so her speed hovers around 60MPH (62 if you’re lucky.)
Dear gramma Pearl doesn’t care about what’s colloquial referred to as ‘the left lane is the fast lane.’ No, she’s just fine driving abnormally slowly in the far-left lane, while singing to Barry Manilow, naturally.
If grandma committed this aggravating offense in Germany, while driving on the autobahn, she wouldn’t be on her way to Bingo; she’d be in a ditch, calling one of her Bingo opponents for assistance. Unfortunately, they won’t be coming to her rescue; Bingo isn’t to be trifled with and it cannot be skipped to save grandma from a ditch.
Germans aren’t exactly known for their benevolence and when they’re on the autobahn, any spark of altruism is left behind them in the dust. You see, just as Germans do with other daily activities, driving–and the rules of the road–are taken very seriously.
When you’re on the autobahn in Germany, the left lane is strictly off limits (verboten) for this who do not posses the need for speed. Also, if you have a heart condition, the left lane of the autobahn is not recommended. It will kill you via myocardial infarction (aka a heart attack.)
Germans don’t take the “left lane is the fast lane” seriously solely because they want to, but because it is strictly enforced by law. Bad things happen when you break German law; they don’t put up with any shenanigans.
Time for Granny to put on her right blinker and move over. And this [the enforcement of the fast lane] is why I absolutely love driving on the autobahn in Germany. Grandma didn’t get run over by a reindeer, it was a German in a black Audi.
Lesson #2 from the Autobahn in Germany: the German Paparazzi (aka traffic cameras) Will Get You
Sure we have them in the United States, but it’s nothing compared to how many there are in Germany.
They will snap you (and your bank account) for speeding, running yellow/red/pink lights and even for following someone too closely. During most of the time, that I was driving around Germany, I had a German in the car who warned me where the cameras were. I have a problem with speeding and driving around in an Audi doesn’t help much.
Unfortunately, on New Year’s Day, a traffic light in Hamburg, Germany did like the paparazzi and caught me in the act of speeding. So in about three months, a German police officer is going to hunt me down, yell at me in German and force me to pay a fine…or he’ll turn me into Jägermeister. On the spot.
However, rumor has it that they only track down offenders who are citizens within the European Union, which I am not so I just might get lucky. Regardless of whether or not I have to pay a fine, the excessive amount of traffic cameras in Germany is a bit more than irritating.
Lesson #3 from the Autobahn in Germany: Driving on the Autobahn Makes you Hate American Highways (yeah, screw you i10)
The “it” referring to the world-famous fact that there frequently aren’t any speed limits enforced on the autobahn. There are some sections of the autobahn in Germany with speed limits, but typically a speed of 130 kph is recommended, but not enforced.
Their question was usually followed closely with a smirk as they anxiously waited for me to begin gushing over the awesomeness of the autobahn in Germany. Surprisingly, it isn’t just the fact about there not being any speed limits that makes the autobahn so enjoyable, but there are also several other factors. The stress-inducing American freeways makes the German autobahn feel like a visit to Schlitterbahn (don’t forget your sunscreen.)
This stress-free atmosphere, on the autobahn, is simply due to the fact that 99.9% of drivers follow all laws that are in place. Also, in my opinion, those laws all make perfect sense and they’re enforced to make driving (especially at high speeds) smoother, safer and a hell of a lot less stressful.
You cannot use any of the right-hand lanes for passing (unless you’re in heavy traffic and it’s unavoidable.) If you do pass someone in a right lane, you’ll probably be fined and/or imprisoned. Then they will cut out your heart for the autobahn gods. Only playing…obviously.
If you happen to be in the left-hand lane, and forget that you need to be speeding like a female bat out of hell who just found her boyfriend cheating, you will soon be reminded by a fellow motorists of you infraction.
The upcoming motorist will warn you of his impending approach by violently flashing his lights, and if you do not get out of his way, you will be flattened like week-old wurst at Wurstfest.
Once you begin to flow with the other motorists on the autobahn in Germany, and obtain a basic understanding of the many laws in place, driving in excess of 120MPH never felt so stress-free.* I highly encourage all drivers to do what they can to visit (and drive on) the autobahn in Germany…at least once in their lifetime. It’s really just great all around.
*The term “stress-free” does not include the after effects of when either your girlfriend or mother find out how fast you were driving and inevitably shout at you, thus inducing stress. It’s best if you don’t bring it up.
And with that, I’ll leave you with a French song, because it’s relevant