#246 Speed limit on Germanys Autobahn? – extended 20 minutes writing challenge #22 – The endless discussion about the speed limit on the German Autobahn

Recently the discussion about the speed limit was once again a topic, Germany was enthusiastically talking about.

If it comes to paying more taxes, getting less interest rates for our money, or all the other cutbacks that are coming our way, we take these things as real Germans with our unique sense of composure and do not start a revolt, actually we do not even think about that. Sure, internally we might get close to actually exploding, but besides complaining about this situation in our private life’s, nobody needs to fear further consequences. That is just the way we Germans usually are, but, and this is really important to understand, not when it comes to our holly German Autobahn.

The moment someone even dares to think about the consequences of a general speed limit in Germany and has the courage to publicly talk about it, he will get instantly attacked and defamed. Of course not physically, at least unless it stays by the term “thinking” and not actually introducing it. Sure, you might think that this is just a little bit over exaggerated in order to get more traction with this post, but actually, this is what is going on in the heads of us Germans. The discussion about the speed limit has become far more than it seems to be at first sight. It has become a symbol for our freedom, it represents the ultimate independence. This is the place where we can still feel kind of free and do what we want. We can decide if we want to drive fast or not. It is our decision! Therefore, it is not just the fight between climate activists and speed freaks, but actually a symbol to show our politicians that we are still there and do not like their political paternalism.

You can take our money, our rights or what ever you want, but not our unrestricted Autobahn.

But let’s go step by step.

Why is there even a discussion about the speed limit?

While in the past it was always about reducing the amount of accidents and the risks that people might get harmed or even killed on the road, the head count was a very effective weapon to show how many people were actually killed. Well, as the automobile industry was introducing safety features like the safety belt, the air bag, the ABS systems and the ASR systems, cars were actually getting safer and safer over time, diminishing the wind in the kites of the opposition. As the years went by, for sure, some oil crisis and the early beginning of environmental activism flamed up the discussion again once more, but for sure, the speed limit would have harmed our car industry and therefore was never a real alternative. Only recently the politicians made the way free for actually talking about this once more. Was the car industry the representative product Germany was associated with and actually quite proud on, the diesel gate started an ongoing process, that doesn’t protect OEM’s any longer. Sure, they are still working hand in hand together, but the mindset about what the OEM’s are doing has changed dramatically. The current political orientation has opened a window to actually attack the German Automobile industry publicly and actually find a lot of supporters while doing so. Well, in order to understand this, we definitely need to talk about the current situation on the “safe the environment” kind of mindset people have developed. In the last couple of years, being environmentally friendly started to became socially acceptable a a real thing. Either you jump onto the train and fight for a better future on the green side of life, or you will be declared as an enemy for the future of further generations.

And don’t get me wrong on this, it’s the easiest of calculations to perform. If a car drives fast, it will consume more fuel and therefore will cause more emissions. But the thing is, nobody has an idea about the real relations between 300 km/h running Porsches and trucks, airplanes and even the military fleet. For sure, at least the military seems to play their part in the environmentally friendly movement here in Germany, by having a lot of fighter jets, helicopters and tanks that do not work any longer and are not really getting maintained and repaired, but that’s definitely a topic for another time.

People tend to think that they know what is going on these days. They think that they are clever and know their facts, but actually we do not know the facts most of the time. We are just yelling! Trying to be louder than the opposite mindset. The only thing you need to do, is listening to what people are actually saying. Neither the Fridays for future movement, nor older people, nor self declared experts have any ideas how to change our system in such a way, that we actually have an impact on the way, we treat our environment. Sure, I can complain about literally everything and yell as loud as I can, but that doesn’t safe our world, that’s just making it even worse. What we need are solutions!

But sure, this is not the right time to talk about this topic, lets rather dive really deep into the autobahn topic ones more.

The next question would be, what is the Autobahn anyways?

What an American thinks: Longest racetrack in the world. 300 km/h and above action. Porsches getting chased by AMG’s, Ferrari’s and Lamborghini’s. Everyone checks constantly their mirrors. 100% focus on the road ahead. Pure driving! No speed limit at all!!!

What a German thinks: Which day is it? Friday!?!?!?!? (Screaming!!!) Left lane, 120 km/h, the same car in front of you for more than 200 km’s. Nobody gives a shit about the rule that they need to drive on the right. Every 10 km the traffic slows down to less than 80 km/h. People can not handle their cars, thousands of construction sites, endless traffic jams and all the time speed limits.

The Autobahn isn’t that thing anymore that it was used to be in the past. You do not believe me? Then get into a car and figure it out on your own. I do not know what exactly happened, but it feels like we already have a speed limit. Having the pleasure to travel a lot back and forth between my university and parents home, I have seen how the driving behavior has changed dramatically in the last three years. For sure, this is not a representative survey, but at least very interesting to consider. Traveling on the A7 in the south of Germany on a regular basis was changing my opinion about the Autobahn, but basically about our society as well. First of all, I guess there has been already a pilot project started to test the speed limit on the Autobahn, otherwise I can not justify the behavior of 95 % of all the people you will see there. What the fuck is wrong with them? From sending text messages on their phone, to constantly driving with 135 km/h in the left lane, to changing lanes without even checking the mirrors. You think you have seen everything, but the next time you be on the road, surprise surprise, there will come another thing, topping everything you have ever believed could be a reality.

For sure, you can still drive very fast from time to time, but definitely not all day long. If you can avoid driving on Friday’s after 1 pm and when the holidays and stuff are starting or ending, you can have luck and actually drive quite fast, but that always depends on what you think is fast.

If 180 km/h is your limit, then this is possible most of the time. But if you have a car that needs to get into its natural environment something above the 250 km/h marker, then you need to be either very lucky with the traffic, or actually take a lot of risks. For sure, this is a highly controversial topic, but most of the time, the people that are talking about this do not know both sides. They have absolutely no clue about the fact, that driving 230 km/h with a car that is capable of driving more than 300 km/h, feels like driving 130 km/h with a “normal” car. But in fact they do not know anything about driving, but more importantly, do not even care about this. Which leads us the the source of the whole problem on the Autobahn.

I personally see the biggest issue on the road exactly with that. If people would start to actually care more about the others that are driving with them on the Autobahn, this would reduce the CO2 emissions more significantly in one year, then the speed limit can do in 20. Just imagine how many times someone moves in front of you and causes you to lose all the kinetic energy by converting that into heat, the numerous of hours you are standing in a traffic jam, just because someone couldn’t use his mirrors, or the thousands of times someone is just crawling in the left lane, getting distracted by the speed of 135 km/h in such a way, that they can not risk their life’s by moving their eyes to the left or right, checking the mirrors real quick. Sure, we should actually use the moment and describe to these people what they would see, therefore the image below represents a simulated scene that might look like the real situation on the Autobahn.

Image source: https://www.racecar-engineering.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/RSZ_Featured-e1528139514891.jpg

The funny thing about this? Everyone knows what I am talking about. It doesn’t matter if you are supporting a speed limit or not, the real problems on the Autobahn will not be solved by introducing that. Well in fact, I would even go as far as to say, that with a general speed limit on the Autobahn, there will be even more accidents and traffic jams. Some might say things like: “They can not handle their cars while driving so fast.” Or “They can not even react in time to deal with the situation.” But the question is, who is responsible for this situation? The one that respects the rules? Or the one that disrespects them and does what ever he want to do? If there will be a speed limit in Germany, people will even care less about their mirrors and what is actually going on around them, causing more accidents and incidents. Sure, these people will not drive 300 km/h any more, but instead just 140 km/h, but people are going to die anyways. It might just take longer…

I am obviously for an unrestricted Autobahn, but that shouldn’t be a surprise after knowing something about my interests in life, but I don’t see the point in actually talking about the speed limit in our todays world. As I have seen in the last three years, the Autobahn restricts itself already. The moment there are a couple of cars on the road, you can not constantly drive with more than 140 km/h for a longer period of time, because someone will get in front of you, trying everything they can to hold up other people. Where is the respect? In the past, people just let faster cars through, but these days, it looks like they do not want to do that any longer. Sometimes it actually feels like some people are doing this on purpose, in order to proof their point about our current situation, or to emphasize the fact, that you do not need to have a fast car anymore.

I have a dream, that one day, there might be only people on the Autobahn, that actually know what they are doing and respect each other. They check their mirrors, they analyze the traffic ahead and do not just focus on themself. The golden rule on the Autobahn? Drive in such a way, that you do not hinder a single person on your journey! Have you ever done that? 5 % of all the people you will see on the road are doing that already, but that is not enough!

Hello to all the climate activists and politicians that want to profit from the traction of this highly discussed topic. The speed limit is not the problem we should focus on these days! But sure, it’s easier to talk about this, then actually accepting that you have failed in so many different fields once more. Forcing some changes just for the sake of changing something? What is that for an approach? Who are we that we do not think any longer? Caring about the environment starts at your own door, and not by destroying a whole industry you indirectly profiting from so much. But sure, keep on going! Do what ever you want to do! Because that is the wonderful thing about life, right? It doesn’t matter how effective something really is, we just try to yell louder then the others and proof to them that we are stronger. But anyways, I can not change it with writing this post, you can not change it with doing what ever you do. Therefore, I guess this is just another thought I have on this sunny Sunday morning that I wanted to share.

Speaking about Sundays, there are no trucks on the autobahn most of the time! I mean, some are still allowed to drive, but not that many as you will see during the other six days of the week. Having reached this point in my todays post, I guess I should give you something back. Therefore, I proudly present, some actually tips for the speed junkies that want to experience the Autobahn as it really is.

How to drive on the Autobahn – a short instruction

  1. Make sure that your car is “ok”. Meaning it is well maintained, has good tires, brakes, and enough oil and cooling water.
  2. Check your tire pressures.
  3. Make sure that you can see something in your mirrors. (Some might not know that, but you have mirrors on your car. You can even adjust them, how cool is that? USE YOUR FUCKING MIRRORS!!!!)
  4. Give your engine some time to heat up and afterwards to cool down.
  5. If there is a lot of traffic, there is no need to speed up, because the next braking interval will start soon. Adapt your speed accordingly to the traffic flow and let faster and bigger cars by.
  6. SPECIAL TIP: If you drive a slow car like I do, why don’t you let people through in situations where there is a truck or something like that in the left lane anyways, causing the traffic to slow down. After the truck is gone, the faster cars will be accelerate four times as fast as you can, reducing the time lost for both, you and the others that have faster cars.
  7. Be careful about the time you want to drive on the Autobahn. Generally speaking, the night is the perfect environment, but of course you need to be comfortable with flying through the night. An alternative are the early morning hours during the summer time, or while huge events are taking place, for example an important game of the national soccer team during a world cup or something like that.
  8. The most important rule. Stay within your limits. The Autobahn is a public road, there might be people on the road that actually have no clue about what they are doing. They are not capable of handling all the information they need to process during their ride, therefore you need to think for them. What can someone do wrong? And how do you need to react? It doesn’t matter if you are having the law at your side, or not. You are basically responsible for all the other people as well. Sure, a lot of people do not understand this, but especially if you want to drive fast, you need to know what you are doing.

And this is it for the two hour special. What do you think about the speed limit? Share your opinion in the comments section down below.

As always, don’t drive too slow! 🏎

See you next time!

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