As an American, you might occasionally run into a stau....especially if you live near Atlanta, Chicago, or anywhere in southern Florida. Getting to Germany and discovering continual trend of staus being a very popular thing, you have to accept them....as much as you hate them. I think I actually was acceptable of them for the first two hundred that I ran into. Then, my patience kinda ran out.
First, you just never know if this is a simple one-kilometer stau, or some 20--kilometer stau....until you turn on the radio, and listen for the little 30-second speech on stau conditions in the local area. At that point, your patience likely shifts to the negative side.
Second, it's best to always have a bottle of water in the car because a stau might be exceptionally long and a sip once in a while might help to cool your nerves. Caffeine, I suspect....might be the wrong thing to drink.
Third, it's possible to run into a stau out in the middle of nowhere.
Fourth, folks always get this crazy idea....exit the autobahn and try to out-run the stau with secondary roads. My humble advice is....forget it. It rarely works....I know because I've tried it.
Fifth, statistically.....staus do occur more often on Saturday mornings and Sunday afternoons, with Germans returning home from the weekend or leaving for a short trip. The odds of finding a stau at 8PM? Exceptionally rare, if you ask me.
Sixth, if you discover that certain section of autobahn you will travel on a weekday is under renovation....there's a fifty percent change of a stau. So if you can find an alternate way of traveling....it's probably worth trying.
Seventh, it's possible to run into a stau that involves an accident on the opposite side of the autobahn. Sadly, it's a German habit for folks to slow down on the good side.....checking out the accident on the bad side.....so you get into a four-km stau for no reason at all.
Eighth, leaving the autobahn to stop and rest at the local rest stop while the stau is going on? Yes, I'd advise it. But you'd best plan on at least ninety minutes of rest.
Ninth, it is strongly suggested to pay attention to the car in front of you....while in a stau. The odds go up that you might accidentally bump this guy, and trigger another extension of the stupid stau.
Finally, staus trigger aggression and hostile feelings....if you are on a fairly long trip. If this is a ten-hour drive and you run through five staus through the day.....you will be very negative by the end of the trip. Take that into consideration and try to ease your mind at the end of the day.