Wir fahr’n fahr’n fahr’n auf der Autobahn

What do non-Germans think of when they are asked to name one thing German? Do they think of beer fests with liter mugs of beer, pork roasts and potato dumplings? Do they think of Christmas markets with steaming-hot, sweet spiced wine and Lebkuchen? Do they sing a song from Nena? Or maybe they think of anything having to do with the hundred-odd years between the Reformation and the Thirty Years War. (I know I certainly do.)
Or do some think of the cool German cars cruising along at the speed of sound on the Autobahn? What great brands we have for the eyes to feast on: BMW, Audi, Porsche, and my favorite, VW, specifically the Golf. Occasionally a Ferrari escapes across the border to go for a run, or a Maserati. At unlimited speeds. Anyone can drive as fast as they want. Or can they?
Richtgeschwindigkeit–advisory speed limit or reference speed on the Autobahn is 130 kmh. That means that one can drive faster, but if an accident occurs, one could be held liable. But over the years, more and more speed limits have been enforced because of Massenkarambolage—Massive Freeway Pileup. I love language.
My most memorable Autobahn moment: I was driving along, doing my 130 kmh, just minding my own business and two zippy cars came up behind me at a terrifying speed. Everyone should experience this just once in their lives: looking into the rear-view mirror and seeing a Porsche and a Ferrari approaching and instead of ramming me or forcing me from the road (the A3 is two lanes here in my area) one passed me on the left and the other passed me on the right, on the shoulder. Those two men (I’m sure they were not women) left a lasting impression on me for life.

3 thoughts on “Wir fahr’n fahr’n fahr’n auf der Autobahn

  1. Nick

    Driving habits seem to vary the world over, country to country. The Germans are no exception in that they have their very own preferred way of getting from A to B. Laura's observation on their autobahn driving is about right, very fast and often very close. On the country roads they like to go, well, as fast as possible. But, and here is the very German thing, they will come to a sleepy village and all of them drop to 50kph until the end of the village and then it is right foot down again.
    So there is not the chaos of Italian roads nor the aggression of British roads, just highly ordered high speed. Some organised adrenalin rush stuff.


  2. Betsy

    This story feels incomplete to me, I think you need an ending paragraph?

    We think of food and beer and hogans heros…and always german engineering…..

    And yesterday I was on 22…you now it…a crazy cramped highway….way too busy …filled with cars and buses and too many truckes and too many on/off ramps…and too much speed….and the GUYS on the cell phones UGH! Boxing me out and dropping their phones when they are trying to shift…ah idiots are everywhere…


  3. Laura Libricz

    Yes, I needed a ending paragraph, but I had water on the stove. Had to feed the boys.

    We have a cell phone law here and I heard on the radio yesterday that there were 'blitz' traps, where they take pictures, and they were blitzing for cell-phoners. You can get fined for being on the phone and driving.

    Hey Nick, I heard someone say once that German citizens don't have guns so they use their cars as weapons. Or their shopping cars. Bikes, too, if you've ever tried to walk through Erlangen (though Amsterdam is worse–the bike riders are nuts-o.)



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