Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Germany and the Speed Limit

About every two years....some political figure in Germany comes out with a radical concept that gets attention for about a week, which always concerns autobahn speeds.

For those who've never been to Germany....in the built-up areas around the country....there is a speed limit of roughly 100 kph.  On autobahns that have serious curves or hills, you typically find speed limits in effect there.  By my own analysis....I'd say that sixty percent of all autobahns in Germany operate with no speed limit.

How fast do people go....without a limit?  I'd make a fair estimate that half the population still drives in the 100-to-120 kph range.  Five percent of the drivers likely get up into the 150-to-180 kph range.

The general public sentiment is that they don't want any change to the current structure.  Political figures point at accidents and show statistics on how dangerous it is....driving up around 200 kph (there are some people who pursue even higher speeds).

So this week....it was the SPD's chance to stand up and suggest a speed limit, compliments of it's national chairman....Sigmar Gabrie.  He's likely to get three minutes of time on the national news, and it might be discussed around the country for a week, before everyone condemns it.

There's a reason why Germans demand extremely through car inspections, high standards for tires, and harsh punishment for rule breakers on the autobahn.  In exchange for these situations, you get to drive at extreme speeds, and feel comfortable about it being OK.  I didn't say it was safe....just OK.  It's just life in Germany.....in the fast lane.

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