#82: Die Autobahn

Approx 160 MPH

When I was young, the revelation that there were roads in Germany that had no speed limits was incredible to me.

I dreamt of this magical road in Germany that where I could drive as fast as I wanted and pledged one day I would find it. Little did I know at the time that there is actually over 12’000 km of Autobahn in Germany and a huge percentage of this is unrestricted and only carries an “advisory” speed limit of 130 KMH (81 MPH).

Someone should have told the Dutch guy I was driving with… It seems that (the bulk of) people from Germany will drive fast on the Autobahn, but incredibly vigilantly and carefully, they generally only pull out into the fast lane if sufficient room and are quick to move back into the slower lanes to allow the faster cars to go past. All very polite and efficient.

Recently, I travelled from Amsterdam to Frankfurt with a Dutch guy that was offering a ride on a popular car sharing website. He kindly collected me and the trip through the Netherlands was all fine and then we hit the Autobahn. This was his first time on the unrestricted roads in his brand new Audi A4, and he felt it was an opportune moment to put the car through its paces. What followed was a very, very uncomfortable and scary trip, with much braking and pant wetting, where we more than once topped 245 KMH (152 MPH). We were actually averaging over 200 KMH (120 MPH) for the majority of the journey and ended up getting from Amsterdam to Frankfurt (some 440 KM) in just under 3.5 hours.

That weekend I was actually coming back from Amsterdam having just parachuted for the first time and I honestly don’t know which was scarier the jump, or the drive. I think the general advice here is, just because you can drive as fast as you want on the Autobahn, does not mean that you should.

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