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  #1  
Old 21st April 2005
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Default Autobahn speed limits question

Explanation required here. I recently drove in Germany and some of it was on Autobahns. Now, my 2004 AA European road atlas says that the motorway speed limit in Germany is 130kmh but I was always lead to believe that there was no limit unless you're in a specially restricted area so what's the reality of the situation?

This all said, I drove for miles on end at 120mph with the cruise on as base model Fiat Unos etc blazed by and never saw an officer of the law but enquiring minds and all that

Apologies for metric / imperial mixture, I'm a bloke of a certain age
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  #2  
Old 21st April 2005
micha micha is offline
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I'm from Germany. Indeed you can drive as fast as you want, as long as there are no signs stating a speedlimit. If there is a limit, it's usually set to 130 km/h. But as I said, no signs - no limit.

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  #3  
Old 21st April 2005
James Bond James Bond is offline
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Sensible country!
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  #4  
Old 21st April 2005
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I was of the understanding now that large chunks of the German Autobahn system now had speed limits and that the unlimited sections were becoming in the minority.

The very strong green lobby in Germany is starting to have an effect and people are concerned regarding the emissions produced from continuous high speeds.
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  #5  
Old 21st April 2005
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To clear up things.

1. If you have signs on the Autobahn they will say 120km/h most of the time in the "western parts" and 130km/h in the Eastern parts. They re-build most of the roads when the wall fell thus the quality is better allowing them to put a higher speed limit.

2. The "free speed" sign is a 120km/h sign but it's grayed out, after that sign you can drive at any speed you want UNTIL something happens !!! 130km/h is the limit and if you drive faster you may be held responsible for any damage you might cause..if you survive


3. There are a handful of unwritten laws on the Autobahn that you need to follow and therefore I would not recommend people from "other" countries to drive above 160 unless you are familiar with them.
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  #6  
Old 21st April 2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cswerin
3. There are a handful of unwritten laws on the Autobahn that you need to follow and therefore I would not recommend people from "other" countries to drive above 160 unless you are familiar with them.
Inquiring minds want to know! Is there a website that offers these "insider's tips?" I know about the passing and lane discipline issues, but what else are you talking about?
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  #7  
Old 21st April 2005
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hehe, you will notice once you drive on the German Autobahn but here are some basic ones

1. Full beam lights means " I am doing 250km/h or more and I wont brake, MOVE"
2. Left indicator " I was doing 250km/h but you didn't move, move or I'll overtake on the wrong lane and spray your car with all I got in the washer fluid tank"
3. Flashing emergency lights, break as things are queuing up really fast or a BMW 5/7 series doing a panic brake
4. Flashing break lights "Mercedes S is doing a panic break"
5. Xenon in the mirror ? Step aside unless doing 180 or more
6. Swiss numberplates in the mirror ? Turn in to nearest parking spot and wait untill the danger is over
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  #8  
Old 21st April 2005
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Oh that is hilarious! hahaha!
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  #9  
Old 21st April 2005
Hornet11586 Hornet11586 is offline
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Wish we had a road like that up here in New England
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  #10  
Old 21st April 2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob in Atlanta
but what else are you talking about?
Another thing the traffic police are big on is correct distancing between vehicles, tailgaiting is a serious offence, considering the speeds for obvious reasons, only a fool breaks the 2 second rule, wish it was like that here
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  #11  
Old 21st April 2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Last_straw
Another thing the traffic police are big on is correct distancing between vehicles, tailgaiting is a serious offence, considering the speeds for obvious reasons, only a fool breaks the 2 second rule, wish it was like that here
Yeah I hear they use various computerized systems to catch offenders of tailgating there...
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  #12  
Old 21st April 2005
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Seriously, Americans want something like the autobahn, but display quite clearly that they can't handle such a "privelege." What do they expect. I went down to Boston last week during the monring commute. They have tow-trucks at every interchange on 128, just waiting for fender-benders. Can you imagine what would happen with no speed limits?
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  #13  
Old 21st April 2005
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There would be much blood shed. Americans as a whole just seem to be bad drivers. I don't understand why people tail-gate me at 65 mph in the right lane. Freakin pass me! I'm in the right lane so I can go slow. I hate tailgaters, cause when I look in the mirror 9 times out of 10 I know I have waaaaaay better brakes and they'll slam right into me if I have to stop.
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  #14  
Old 21st April 2005
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You need to drive the Autobahn or Autostrda at rush hour to see the 'art' of tailgating, sometimes so close you can't believe a crash is not about to happen, and this is at 110km! Then towards the edge of town watch a Porsche Turbo 'nudging' cars out of the way by closing fast to w/in inches and staying there. If there is room the slower driver pulls over, and then when the traffic thins it effectively becomes a road race, pedal to the metal and get out of the way if they have more poke than you.


Interesting commute drive, don't know about doing it everyday though.
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  #15  
Old 21st April 2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cswerin
hehe, you will notice once you drive on the German Autobahn but here are some basic ones

1. Full beam lights means " I am doing 250km/h or more and I wont brake, MOVE"
2. Left indicator " I was doing 250km/h but you didn't move, move or I'll overtake on the wrong lane and spray your car with all I got in the washer fluid tank"
3. Flashing emergency lights, break as things are queuing up really fast or a BMW 5/7 series doing a panic brake
4. Flashing break lights "Mercedes S is doing a panic break"
5. Xenon in the mirror ? Step aside unless doing 180 or more
6. Swiss numberplates in the mirror ? Turn in to nearest parking spot and wait untill the danger is over

The above is correct...as "unspoken" laws. But beware that those are not really leagel.

The police use radar traps for speed meassurments, laser guns and stealth video-survailance cars that go after you and record everything on tape and then stop you. You can't see them as they are in civil. So...you might have a bmw or opel/gm behind you..following you trough everything just to take over and stop you and present you a nice video of the thinks you have done wrong. Bad thing!
They also use video systems on bridges to meassure the distance between the cars. And this can be very expensive too.

The 130 km/h limit is a "guide value" - so if there is no limit you should not go over 130 km/h but if you do...it's ok but you will be held responsible if something happens even when you are not guilty - at least you get a partial guilt like 40% for you because you where going over 130 km/h and the rest goes to the one who made the mistake. But still it's legal to go over the 130 km/h. Otherwise a trip on the autobahn with 250 km/h in a 9-5 Aero would be a no-no.

Here are a ferw signs and their meaning:

Every Speed limit that was active is now dropped - so now you can go as fast as you like and the traffic allows ! But I tell you that there are only few times and autobahn parts where the traffic is low enough to go highspeed. Most of the time the autobahn is so crowded that the speed is around 160 to 180 km/h.
There are also ones with the speed limit nummer in it. In this case only the speed limit is dropped but a possible "overtaking not allowed" sign is still active.

This is the sign that sets the Speed Limit! The nummber is the max. speed you are allowed to drive. On the autobahn mostly 80,100, 120,130 .



If you have the above speed limit sign AND this sign underneath it:

Then the speed limit is only valid if the street is wet. So when the street is dry you can ignore these one - but ONLY if it's the speed limit sign AND this one!
There can also be a "distance" sign underneath it like "800m" then the speed liimit is valid for the next 800m. But in most cases the speed limit will be lifted with one of the above "no limit" signs. There are also "time signs" wich say that the speed limit is only valid in the time like "20:00 - 8:00" - so in this time (mainly near to houses,towns,etc.) you have to comply to the limit to keep the noise level down.

If someone in front of you is using the emergency lights - he is mostly trying to tell you that the is a critical situation ahead like a traffic jam etc. so then better get down the gas, kick in the emergency lights and watch out what's happening.

And another hint: In germany you overtake ONLY on the left side. Right overtaking is not allowed! Also (normaly) you should keep right and only go on the left lane to overtake and go back to the right when you overtook. Problem: not everybody does this...so you're often locked by car going 100 km/h on the left lane and bringing the traffic to a halt..although you could go 160 km/h or so. If going high speed you mainly stay on the left side as you are allways overtaking. hehehehe.

I hope I didn't put a mistake in here (reader from germany..please correct me if I did something wrong!) and I hope it's informative.

And yes...we have many signs and rules over here... and the gas is expensive so speeding is also expensive!

and you should only go high-speed if you are used to it and know how to handle it. And keep the distance. Last year a driver was brought to court because he speeded and was closing in on a car that fast that the woman was shocked - lost controll over her car and died in the crash with her child - due to the driver who was going high-speed and keept no distance to the womans car. He then took off and left the accident without calling help etc. and did a "hit-and-run"/absconding (?). *it was a sad story and went trough the media over here - bad thing!*
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  #16  
Old 21st April 2005
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Wow, thanks guys. I didn't realize what a can of worms this was. This is just the sort of balanced view that makes saabcentral a great site - all comments much appreciated.
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  #17  
Old 21st April 2005
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It looks like BlackSaab is earning extra money as a driving instructor

I took my drivers license in Germany as my previous one was a Irish L license . I have to say I really miss the German autobahn, so much agression, unfriendliness and joy at the same time .
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  #18  
Old 21st April 2005
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Take to the 'bahn in the middle of a dry night in a fast car and you WILL have the drive of your life.
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  #19  
Old 21st April 2005
NineThreer NineThreer is offline
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I had the privilege of driving on several highway systems in Europe when I took delivery of my Volvo two summers ago in Sweden. The roads there for the most part are immaculate, the drivers courteous and capable. Swedish roads are the smoothest I have ever driven on. It seems like all of them were laid out the day before. Unfortunately, there are speed limits everywhere -- but they're usually higher than the pathetic American 55 / 65 mph. The roads of course are better because the layers of asphalt are so deep to prevent damage from the Nordic winters. Danish highways were similarly well maintained. Driving on the autobahn was one of the best experiences I've ever had. I never had to feel stressed about speeding when in an unlimited zone. When transitioning between unlimited and limited speed zones, I was amazed to see everyone almost immediately comply. This is because the limited zones, as mentioned before, are usually around 130 hm/h -- a much more reasonable speed that people can understand and comply with. I do have one complaint though -- there are ridiculous traffic jams that pop up out of nowhere. I remember spending about an hour just getting through a short section of highway right outside of Hamburg. And getting stuck behind a huge truck on the two-lane portion of the highway was quite annoying, though of course I was able to pass when oncoming traffic cleared up. When I was in Belgium I noticed that they too have some sections of road with no speed limits.
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  #20  
Old 21st April 2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackSaab
And another hint: In germany you overtake ONLY on the left side. Right overtaking is not allowed! Also (normaly) you should keep right and only go on the left lane to overtake and go back to the right when you overtook. Problem: not everybody does this...so you're often locked by car going 100 km/h on the left lane and bringing the traffic to a halt..although you could go 160 km/h or so. If going high speed you mainly stay on the left side as you are allways overtaking. hehehehe.
You're supposed to pass on the left in the US too. However, you always get some idiot poking along in the left lane that holds up the works. Then people will pass on the right.
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