I am not really quite sure where to start this experiential article, but when I was asked to write one about driving in Germany, this is all I could actually think of: The unique pleasure literally flying through Germany’s breathtaking landscapes and bustling Autobahns.
My journey behind the wheel here has been nothing short of a rollercoaster ride, filled with awe, a few butterflies in my stomach and countless memories.
From the majestic highways surrounded by beautiful visuals to the heart-racing no-speed-limit stretches of the Autobahn, each mile I have driven has been a story to itself. It is almost comparable to the love I harbour for my second partner in crime (first one is definitely going to read this article).
Okay, so before I go any further, I gotta introduce my pride and joy, Beasty.
Cliche name, huh?
But that’s what she is, my white, Lotus Exige Cup 420. She is quite the beast.
Okay, so first things first, before all of your motor enthusiasts decide to speed down the highways of Germany, BE CAREFUL.
These roads are designed for some serious driving, the kind that will take your breath away, but be warned, all play and fun should be within the rules.
Not convinced enough? Well, then dive in with me as I elaborate a few of my experiences and some mishaps while driving in Germany.
Whether you are a seasoned driver or just got your own “Beasty” and want to take him/her/them out for a spin, I got you.
The German Driving Experience
Driving in Germany, for me, has always felt like a blend of precision and liberation, especially when it comes to the Autobahn. The first time I merged onto this famed highway, my heart was pounding with a mix of excitement and a bit of apprehension. The thrill of potentially limitless speed, interspersed with the responsibility of adhering to unwritten rules of discipline, was truly a novel experience.
For all you motor noobs out there, Beasty has a maximum speed of 180 mph, and nope, I haven’t tried that before. Not even once. But, I will, without doubt, very soon.
In fact, one of my most vivid memories was cruising along a stretch of roads near Munich when they had lifted the speed limits. Vehicles whizzed past me in a harmonious flow, almost like a well-conducted orchestra.
I took a deep breath, offered a prayer to whatever forces were listening to me, and accelerated, from 70 mph to 130 mph, and let me tell you, if you want to try flying on land, this is the way to go.
Earlier that year, I had also upgraded to Akrapovic exhausts and yes, I got a bunch of dirty looks, but I am confident I gave the other drivers a real run for their money.
While the Autobahn gets a lot of popularity online, German roads are not just about the speed. Germany’s scenic routes are equally captivating. Meandering through the Black Forest, with its canopy of trees and the occasional quaint village, was literally like driving through a real-life postcard.
I am not going to lie, navigating these lesser-known roads alone while driving in Germany was quite a feat. So, if you can get a co-passenger, bring one, preferably someone who can read a map. But, for all you lone travellers or drivers with passenger princes and princesses in the passenger street, every wrong turn is a new discovery – a hidden hamlet, a picturesque vista or a cozy roadside cafe.
In all of these experiences, what truly stood out to me was the unspoken respect among the drivers and the impeccable condition of the roads, truly adding to the driving experience.
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The Cultural Nuances of Driving in Germany
I am quite proud to claim that Beasty and I have had quite a few admirers on these roads. I might not be a celebrity, but the speed at which people whip out their phone cameras when she is on the road has definitely given me a taste of the celeb life.
But there is a sacred rule here. Even if you are on your last breath, driving on the road, lane discipline is sacred. The left lane is strictly for overtaking and you better not be caught dead cruising slowly along that lane.
How do I know? Been there, done that.
I was leisurely cruising in the left lane, at an embarrassingly slow speed, which will most likely put Beasty to shame, enjoying the drive, blasting music, and unwittingly causing a mini traffic snarl.
Well, simply said, I was a different kind of celebrity that day. The reaction from fellow drivers ranged from polite honks to perplexed looks to a few middle fingers here and there.
I finally reached home and sat down with my wife, telling her about my motorly adventures, she pointed out that I was a Class-A idiot.
Yes, the stares make a lot more sense now.
Here are my words of wisdom for all you motor enthusiasts in Germany: Drive on the right, pass on the left.
Navigating the Autobahn When Driving in Germany
I know all of you are here to read about this. So, the regular roads in Germany are awesome, but there is nothing like taking the (second) love of your life (my wife is still the love of my life) on a quick spin.
The fourth or the fifth time I hit the Autobahn, I finally gathered up the courage to push the accelerator and felt the car surge forward, the landscapes around me, turning into a blur.
In fact, I was so engrossed in the thrill of driving that I almost missed a crucial exit. The split-second swerve back into reality really taught me a thing or two about Autobahn driving: speed is thrilling, but being alert is paramount.
It’s still a car, and you are still driving and you are responsible for what happens on the road.
For all those who are new to the Autobahn, my biggest tip is to respect the pace. It’s not just about how fast and how loudly you can, but how well you can adapt to the flow of traffic. Remember, it’s a high speed road, not a racetrack.
Also, make sure to always check your vehicle and ensure that it is in tip-top condition before hitting the Autobahn (otherwise, what exactly are you doing there?). Germany is incredibly strict about its vehicle maintenance and safety standards, so honor that.
I think I have rambled on enough. Here are two takeaways from this discussion:
- I love Beasty with my entire life and have had millions of experiences with her.
- German roads are fun, they are almost magical, but please drive safely.
I’ll end on these words: For all motor enthusiasts, Germany’s roads await with open hands and endless stories. There are so many ways to get around the country, but nothing will be as exhilarating as owning a vehicle of your own that can zip through the roads.
So go on, have some fun, respect the other drivers and enjoy yourself!