PH Blog: What makes the autobahn brilliant
And we're not talking Kraftwerk albums here...
Is this the only sensible place to use a Veyron?
It actually seems to be a feature of things in Germany in general. The rules of everyday life are laid down for you to follow, and it's up to you to be able to do what's expected, or face the consequences if not.
we visited lastweek, for example, is entirely a non-smoking venue, outside and in. But there are no signs; there's just a conspicuous absence of any ash trays, smoking shelters or any other of the associated paraphernalia. It's basically up to you to work out what that means.
This same concept manifests itself on the autobahnen, too, and in all sorts of ways. Most obviously of course, where that magic white circle with the black diagonal stripes applies, you drive as fast as feels safe (something Dan's trying in a Jag XJ). There's also much less nannying where speed limits are imposed, too. In roadwork sections you're unlikely to find the average speed cameras that are so ubiquitous in the UK, while when other speed limits are applied it's generally obvious why, be that lots of junctions, sharp curves, poor visibility or the like.
The consequence is that, because the rules imposed on the roads are manifestly there for a reason, people largely adhere to them (albeit with a +20kph or so margin of grace on the speed limits), and actually seem to pay attention. The possibility of a 911 Turbo appearing behind you at 180mph means that people actually seem to check their mirrors before moving out to overtake, for example, and there's generally an acceptance that everybody has a right to get along the road at a pace which suits them.
Autobahn living isn't perfect, of course - the 75mph outside-lane bumper-to-bumper freight train you see on busy British motorways can be a 95mph one in Germany, which is rather unnerving. But compared with the UK's motorway network, it's paradise.
I'm not about to suggest we start to introduce de-restricted sections to British multi-laners - the pile-ups caused by over-exuberant yoofs as they try to max-out their Saxos really don't bear thinking about. But if you can, and if you have a sufficiently fast car to make it interesting, a high speed trip around Germany wil do wonders for your sanity. And your faith in humanity.