Germany and the Enclave Tour Autumn 2015, Part 1: The German Driving Situation: the Autobahn

Germany and the enclave Tour 2015 autumn
Germany and the enclave Tour 2015 autumnOverseas drive-related

In addition to the sightseeing section, I’ll be writing a few other little stories over the next few posts. The first one is about “driving and road conditions in Germany”.

Speaking of Germany, “Autobahn

After all, this is it, isn’t it? First of all, let me write about this autobahn.

「アウトバーン(Autobahn)」とはドイツ語で高速道路の意味。アウトバーンといえばドイツの高速道路のことを差す、という思っている人が多いと思いますが、実は同じドイツ語圏のオーストリア、スイスでも高速道路のことをアウトバーンと呼びますので、必ずしもドイツの高速道路を差す固有の呼び方ではありません。しかし、以下ではアウトバーン=ドイツの高速道路として書いていきます。

The Autobahn was originally built before World War II as part of Nazi Germany’s national policy. So, was it for military transportation purposes? But in fact, the focus was to improve new means of automobile transportation such as trucks and private cars, and from there, to spread economic and cultural influence through road transportation to the German sphere of influence. It seems that the military transport capacity at the time was inferior to that of the railways, and motorways were not yet regarded as the mainstay of transport.

The Autobahn was the world’s first fully-fledged motorway network. The construction of the Autobahn was undoubtedly a major cornerstone in the process of making Germany one of the world’s leading automotive powers in later years.

(以上、wikipediaをもとに一部加工して作成)

Is there really no speed limit?

アウトバーンといえばまず何と言っても[highlight]「制限速度なし」[/highlight]の印象がとても強いですよね。基本その通りですが、一応、推奨速度130km/h(※制限速度ではありません)というものが設定されています。

The recommended speed is indicated by a blue square with white text.

That said, not all of the Autobahn is without speed limits.

  1. 大きなジャンクション付近
  2. 大きな都市の近隣
  3. カーブやアップダウンがきついところ
  4. 工事区間

などを中心に制限速度が120km/hないし100km/hになることがあります。そして、実は結構この制限速度区間に遭遇します。

Especially, I had an impression that there were a lot of construction works on the Autobahn, though it might have been a coincidence that I drove there this time. I have experienced many highways in various countries in Europe, but I think there were many in Germany.

How many kilometers per hour can you fly?

How much speed can you actually achieve?

Depends on the performance of the car

200km/h以上を出せるかどうかは、クルマの性能にかなり依存すると思います。やはり、ポルシェ、Audi、ベンツ、BMW、このあたりのクルマがレンタルできたのであれば、200km/h以上を出すことは十分可能だと思います。ちなみにとにかく抜かれるクルマはAudiだらけだったので、Audiはこれら車種の中でも特にスピードが出やすいクルマなのかと思います。

Brühl 20100814-IMG_0315

In 2010, I was able to rent a BMW.

Depends on the course layout

This is also obvious, but it depends on the layout of the Autobahn. If it’s a fairly long straight, downhill, and open, you can go very fast. Of course, there are not many such sections in reality. But they definitely exist. I tried my best to go 200km/h in such places. In addition, the width of the road is wide enough.

The average speed on the unlimited distance section is around 150km/h

実際に走っている感覚だと、トラックやバスなどの大型車を除いて150km/h前後で走っているクルマが多かったです。したがって、160km/h以上で走っていると追い越し車線に移動することが多くなります。さらに180km/h以上で飛ばすと、時折もっと速い車(ほとんどがAudiです!)来ますので、その場合はその都度走行車線に戻る必要がありますが、ほぼ追い越し車線をずっと走行している感じです。

You’ll end up catching up to the car in front of you or the speed limit section faster very soon.

ということです。制限速度なしで飛ばしていてもすぐにこうした制限速度区間に着いてしますし、速く走れば走るほど遅い車に突っかかってしまうケースも増えるため、実際にアウトバーンを走ったドライバーは、予想以上に飛ばせない印象を持つのではないでしょうか。結局のところ、[highlight]平均速度150km/hに落ち着く[/highlight]のだと思います。

You can enjoy a sense of speed that you cannot experience in Japan, but I think it is easy and safe to keep driving at 150km/h (still fast enough!) I think it is mentally easy and safe to keep driving at 150km/h (still fast enough!).

Other Features

Here are some other things I noticed.

Is the Autobahn free?

All lines are free. You don’t get “viniets” like in Austria and Switzerland.

What’s the service area like?

Of course, there is one every 50km or so, but I don’t think there are as many as in France or Italy. A service area has a gas station, a parking lot, a shop and a restaurant. There are also many areas with only parking. These areas are similar to other European countries.

On this trip, we stopped at a service area and had some currywurst.

Autobahn etiquette

I think it’s very good.

  1. 追い越し車線にずっといるクルマはいない ← すぐに速いクルマ(Audiやポルシェ)が迫ってきます
  2. 遅い車は積極的に右側(走行車線)に寄り、道をゆずる
  3. 必ず左側から抜く
  4. 車線変更がスムーズにできる、強引に割り込まれたくらいで怒る人やクラクションを鳴らす人は皆無

There are many things that the Japanese should learn from.

いずれにしても、日本の高速道路とは比較にならないほど快適なドライブができると思います。ただし、スピードには慣れが必要ですので、結構勇気も必要です。

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