Instructions on How To Drive on the Autobahn


Autobahn Sign
Autobahn Sign

The German autobahn is thought by some to be the ideal place to drive, with no speed limits and wide open roads. Ho wever, the autobahn can be intimidating for those who have not driven it before. As someone who has taken on the autobahn and actually enjoyed driving it, here are some tips before getting on the road (and no, you won't have to prepare yourse lf for driving the autobahn by driving luxury cars on a test track).

  • First, autobahn is the German road for highway and can be used to refer to roads in any country, but for the intent of this conversation, we'll assume that the autobahn refers to highways in Germany.
  • There is no set speed limit for the autobahn, so drivers can go at whatever set speed they choose.
  • However, this doesn't mean that you can drive however you please on the autobahn.
  • The trick is to drive in the right ("slow") lane whenever you are driving the autobahn at a "slower" speed, such as 130 kph (or 80 mph).
  • Only use the left ("passing") lane of the autobahn when actually passing a car and make sure to pass as quickly as possible.
  • Failure to pass quickly or not maintain a speed of 160 kph or higher while in the left lane of the autobahn will give the cars behind you an excuse to ride your bumper until you move into the right lane.
  • Believe me, if you don't move quickly enough to the right lane when passing, the cars behind you will get so close to your bumper that you will sure that they will hit you, so this is a rule that you won't easily forget.
  • The Autobahn has an extensive system of service areas generally spaced between 30 and 50 miles apart.
  • At minimum, these feature a gas station, snack bar, convenience store, telephones, and restrooms.
  • Many also feature cafeterias or full-service restaurants, bakeries, hotels, showers, playgrounds, conference rooms, and ATMs.
  • There are over 700 service areas in operation in Germany alone. All service areas are open 24 hours a day.

When you traveling to Europe, make sure that you have your United States driver's license with you at all times so that you have the ability to rent a vehicle. The first step is to get out of your head any preconceived notions that you have about the European highway systems. The truth is, our US interstate systems are not much different. Realize that while there are NOT speed restrictions on the autobahn, there are speed suggestions and consequences to traveling at high speeds.

You need to know how to convert kilometers per hour (often called clicks) to miles per hour. To do this, simply multiply the kilometers per hour by 6 and drop the last digit. For example, 30 kph would be 18 mph. 30 x 6= 180, and then you drop the last digit. On the autobahn, there is a posted suggested speed of 130 kph, which is 78 mph, not too much higher than many US interstate speed limits. Also it is important to remember there is a MINIMUM speed limit on the autobahn of 60 kph, or 36 mph.

Know the consequences of your speed. Sure, BMWs and Mercedes will go upwards of 150 kph, but there is no need to speed on vacation. On autobahns, if you are involved in an accident and you admit to or it is deemed that you were traveling over the posted 130 kph at the time of the accident, the accident will be at your fault and many times insurance companies will not cover the costs of the accident. Feeling the need for speed is not worth it in this case!

Know some other rules of the autobahn in case your car breaks down, or you are involved in an accident of any kind.
-You will be fined if you run out of gas on the autobahn due to the dangers of being on the shoulder of such a high-paced road
-If you break down, everyone MUST exit the car and stand BEHIND the guide rails and wait for police. There will be a warning triangle in the car to place 100 meters behind your car to avoid a second incident.
-There are emergency telephones that will connect you directly to emergency services every 2 kilometers on the autobahn.

Knowing the general rules of the road and what to do in case of an accident can make of break your European vacation. Traveling the autobahn can be a safe and stress-free experience if you are prepared.


Rough Draft

Instructions on How To Drive on the Autobahn

For driving or road enthusiasts, the Autobahn is an attraction
itself. No matter what stories you may have heard regarding the Autobahn, don't
be timid. Driving is a pleasure as the roads are in excellent condition, and
the drivers are well trained and cooperative, just as long as you follow the
rules. Despite the general high speeds, the accident and death rate on the
Autobahn is relatively low. Autobahn crashes account for only 10% of national
traffic fatalities and, in fact, the fatality rate is lower on the Autobahn than
on US Interstates.

The Autobahn has an extensive system of service areas
generally spaced between 30 and 50 miles apart. At minimum, these feature a gas
station, snack bar, convenience store, telephones, and restrooms. Many also
feature cafeterias or full-service restaurants, bakeries, hotels, showers,
playgrounds, conference rooms, and ATMs. There are over 700 service areas in
operation in Germany alone. All service areas are open 24 hours a day.

For driving or road enthusiasts, the Autobahn is an attraction
itself. No matter what stories you may have heard regarding the Autobahn, don't
be timid. Driving is a pleasure as the roads are in excellent condition, and
the drivers are well trained and cooperative, just as long as you follow the
rules. Despite the general high speeds, the accident and death rate on the
Autobahn is relatively low. Autobahn crashes account for only 10% of national
traffic fatalities and, in fact, the fatality rate is lower on the Autobahn than
on US Interstates.

The Autobahn has an extensive system of service areas
generally spaced between 30 and 50 miles apart. At minimum, these feature a gas
station, snack bar, convenience store, telephones, and restrooms. Many also
feature cafeterias or full-service restaurants, bakeries, hotels, showers,
playgrounds, conference rooms, and ATMs. There are over 700 service areas in
operation in Germany alone. All service areas are open 24 hours a day.




Notes:

Germany by Andrea Shulte-Peevers

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http://www.gettingaroundgermany.info/autobahn.htm

What is widely regarded as the world's first motorway was built in Berlin between 1913 and 1921. This makes the Autobahn network the world's third largest superhighway system after the United States and China.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autobahn

Upon assuming power in January 1933, Adolf Hitler enthusiastically embraced an ambitious autobahn construction project. On 27 June 1933, the Reich government (Reichsregierung) enacted the "Law on the Establishment of a 'Reichsautobahn' Enterprise" (Gesetz über die Errichtung eines Unternehmens "Reichsautobahnen").

http://german.about.com/library/blgermyth08.htm

Hitler planned and built the Autobahn. Or did he?
In reality, the first section of what would later become the legendary German autobahn network was constructed and built before Hitler came to power. Construction on the Köln-Bonn Autobahn began in 1929. During opening ceremonies on August 6, 1932, none other than Konrad Adenauer was on hand to inaugurate the 20 km (12 mi) section of autobahn running between Cologne and Bonn. Adenauer, then the Oberbürgermeister (mayor) of Cologne, proclaimed: "So werden die Straßen der Zukunft aussehen." ("This is how the roads of the future will look.") Adenauer supported the autobahn project partly as a way to create jobs during hard economic times. Later he would become West Germany's first Bundeskanzler (chancellor, from 1949 to 1963).