How Not to Die on German Roads
German roads are unique. It seems like an opportunity for serious injury or death or a run-in with the law presents itself around every corner. A German reader sets you straight.
To help visitors traveling to Germany this summer, I have put together a list of rules that should be heeded at all times:
- Don't ever drive on the left lane of the Autobahn unless you really know what you are doing or unless you have a death-wish. People really do drive 200 kph or faster and don't like it when slower moving cars block their test tracks.
- Don't ever pass a car on the right on the Autobahn. You'll either get a ticket or you'll die.
- Don't give anyone "the finger." Germans are 100 times more likely to call the police or they will go completely crazy and hunt you down until you start crying.
- Don't ever mess with BMW or Mercedes drivers. They always have the right of way. You might not get a ticket but you'll incur the wrath of those beautiful people in chic tweed jackets and well-coifed gray hair.
- Never drive through an almost-red traffic light. You'll likely get a ticket or you'll die.
- As a pedestrian, never walk when the signal is red. You'll get a ticket or you'll die.
- Don't forget to use your turn signal, otherwise you'll get a ticket. It's not optional as it is in Italy or America.
- Don't leave your car running when waiting for someone. You'll either get a ticket or passers-by will kick your car because you're polluting Germany.
- Don't go too slow (less than 120 kmh) on the Autobahn. You might get a ticket or you'll die.
- Don't compete with a German native for a parking space. You'll surely lose the battle and your rental car will be scratched for sure!
- Don't park too close to another car or you might get cursed at.
- Don't complain when a parking attendant charges you for another hour even if you're only 25 seconds late. Smile and pay!! German punctuality.
- Don't even think of parking without paying, even if you have to walk 100 yards to the machine that dispenses the tickets. If you don't pay, you will get fined. Guaranteed.
- Don't ever argue with a meter maid. You'll lose the battle and you might lose your appetite as well.
- Don't drink and drive! I hear that German jails have even more rules.
My recommendation is to take public transport or taxis anywhere you go. You do want to remember your visit to Germany as a positive experience, right? Germany is a wonderful and friendly country. Just not while driving a car!
Submitted by Werner Wingen, originally of Munich, Germany but now living in Atlanta, Georgia