Is the freedom of unrestricted German roads on borrowed time?
The autobahn is famous for its non-existent speed limit. In fact, it would almost seem that Germany is known for speed. Thanks to a combination of the Nurburgring, the autobahn and all of the fast cars that are made by German brands such as AMG, BMW M, the Audi RS lineup (not forgetting the R8 too!) and Porsche some motor enthusiasts that have never been may picture the whole country to be like BMW’s ‘M Town’.
Those with the need for speed dream of one day flooring it down the German autobahn and seeing what their car is truly capable of but there’s always that small bit of doubt in the back of one’s minde that wonders if the autobahn will indeed be speed-unrestricted forever? Good things tend not to last forever, after all.
Autobahn, roughly translating to motorway or expressway in English, are pretty normal for German nationals, even though they may seem like a grand adventure or some sort of unique experience to those of us that have never been on one. They’re just like typical motorways here in the UK but many autobahns (or autobahnen) in Germany don’t actually have a hard speed limit, per se. The unrestricted roads do, however, have an advisory limit of 130 kph which is around 81 mph.
Drivers can still face penalties if they are driving recklessly and dangerously but it is still other drivers’ responsibility to look before changing into an outside lane and be aware of high-speed vehicles before doing so. That being said, there is still some responsibility with those that wish to drive fast and if there is plenty of other traffic on the road, it’s probably best not to be driving at speeds of 150 mph or more.
Just last month, a Bugatti Chiron driver (congrats to them!) was caught driving at 259 mph! Well, not so much ‘caught’ but more like he recorded the whole thing and posted it online. This garnered the attention of the German authorities and warranted a public statement, with the German Transport Ministry giving the following statement:
“anyone participating in traffic must behave in such a way that no other person is harmed, endangered or obstructed or inconvenienced more than is unavoidable under the circumstances.”
It may seem like a bit of a non-confrontational warning but some days later, the local police created a case file for it and it was reported that it was passed onto criminal prosecutors.
There are several cases like this but still, the autobahn remains largely unrestricted. The question is, as cars get faster, will there be a restriction put in place? This was certainly a factor for when our very own UK motorways all became restricted in 1967. Prior to that, there were unrestricted motorways, just as Germany has today.
As technology advances and cars become faster, with the Bugatti Chiron being a prime example of just how ridiculously fast road-going cars can now be, it could be only a matter of time before the autobahnen see the same restrictions that UK motorways saw in the late 60s.
Let us know what you think, in the comments.
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