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to think we will be fine driving on German motorways

(51 Posts)
MrsMcColl Wed 09-Jul-14 15:34:00

Going on holiday to Germany this summer. Driving there from the UK via tunnel. I'm a fairly confident and experienced driver, and just assumed we'd take the motorway from France, across Belgium and into Germany. We're heading for Koblenz.

Several friends though have seemed surprised we'd take German motorways, telling me they are faster and scarier than British ones. I hadn't been concerned before - but should I be? I've driven a fair bit in France - should we aim to do most of the journey in France rather than Belgium and Germany?

Anyone done it and want to advise/warn/reassure?

fluffydoge Wed 09-Jul-14 15:40:06

Your friends are talking shit. Just go the fastest route you'll be fine.

Step Wed 09-Jul-14 15:40:58

Decent standard of driving but fast, although there are only a few limitless Autobahns there now. If you're doing more than 120kph and the other driver is doing less, you're automatically at fault. Most of what you're going to drive on A1 is speed restricted. You'll be fine.
Remember the slip roads are shorter though.... need to build speed fast compared to UK.

ThingyTheBusCleaner Wed 09-Jul-14 15:43:35

I live in the area you are talking about.

You will notice that German drivers are faster, but they are also safe.

70mph you'll be in the slow lane being overtaken by juggernauts smilesmile

I've done 90mph in the slow lane in rush hour frequently - 120 or 130mph in the fast lane is not unusual.

If you are a competent, confident driver you'll be fine. Just check your mirrors a lot before you pull out to overtake. Surprising how quickly a car doing 100mph is right on you...

mousmous Wed 09-Jul-14 15:46:05

it will be fine.
just be aware that 'middle lane hogging' is illegal and can land you in trouble.
be extra careful adjusting the side mirrors so that you have the best possible view range. and look over the shoulder a lot.
oh, and check your car insurance that you are actually covered driving on the continent.

mousmous Wed 09-Jul-14 15:46:06

it will be fine.
just be aware that 'middle lane hogging' is illegal and can land you in trouble.
be extra careful adjusting the side mirrors so that you have the best possible view range. and look over the shoulder a lot.
oh, and check your car insurance that you are actually covered driving on the continent.

ThingyTheBusCleaner Wed 09-Jul-14 15:46:07

A1 is fine but avoid the A3 if you can in rush hour, it's one of the busiest stretches of motorway in Europe.

AMumInScotland Wed 09-Jul-14 15:46:39

As step says, the slip roads are short, so you need to be quite 'positive' about getting up to speed to join.

And people do come up behind you quite fast, so be extra careful about pulling out into the fast lane, specially as the driver is on the 'wrong' side of the car.

But I don't think any of that is reason enough to avoid them, just pick what looks like a sensible route on the map.

PopcornFrenzy Wed 09-Jul-14 15:47:31

I lived in Germany for 10 years and loved driving on the Autobahns, yep they're a lot faster but seem to be a lot safer than UK roads.

Make sure you have the correct kit in your car like a first aid kit, don't forget to put light stickers on your headlights if you need them.

ElephantsNeverForgive Wed 09-Jul-14 15:55:04

It's fine, you don't have to join in unless you want too, or you have to keep up with a colleague from the army, who drives like the locals.

blubirdy Wed 09-Jul-14 16:00:42

If you've driven French motorways, and even Belgian ones, then driving the German ones will be a vast improvement. Yes they are faster, but I much prefer the polite and orderly German motorways to the hideous chaos of the French ones. And what is it with Belgian motorways and constant construction work on them? No, give me the orderly (but fast) German motorways any day!

Pumpkinpositive Wed 09-Jul-14 16:01:56

Someone was telling me recently there are no speed restrictions on German motorways?

How can this be?? confused

MissWimpyDimple Wed 09-Jul-14 16:02:53

Absolutely fine driving in Germany. Only thing is the slip roads. They don't use roundabouts so they often have unusual cross over slip roads. You are joining the motorway on the same small stretch of road that others are exiting.
I love driving in Germany. It's about a million times better than France. The bulk of your journey will be Belgium and the Brussels ring road is a bit scary!

VodkaJelly Wed 09-Jul-14 16:05:53

I have driven on the German Motorways, was a few years ago but dont remember anything about them being scary. It must have been fine otherwise I would have remembered it.

Deliaskis Wed 09-Jul-14 16:12:21

Agree with others, would choose German motorways over French, Italian, Spanish, pretty much anywhere else to be honest.

Watch the slip roads tho!

AMumInScotland Wed 09-Jul-14 16:20:06

Pumpkinpositive On some stretches of some german motorways there is no speed limit.

But if you crash at over about 70mph (can't do the maths for the km equivalent) apparently your insurance company can take it into account, so people tend not to be complete idiots about it.

ThingyTheBusCleaner Wed 09-Jul-14 16:22:45

AMum it's about 110kph.

I'd say most people stick to 120kph. However 160kph (100 mph) is perfectly usual. "Fast" is anything over 180kph and I've occasionally seen 200kph and above.

UncleT Wed 09-Jul-14 16:32:51

Motorways there are fine - tell your friends to sod off with the scaremongering. DO take care on the slip roads as others have mentioned already though.

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Wed 09-Jul-14 16:37:54

German autobahns are fab. Really fast. Two lanes; it's your responsibility to look out for people pulling out to overtake if you're in the overtaking lane and don't even think of hogging it for a nanosecond. We should do the same here... <wistful>

Amateurish Wed 09-Jul-14 16:43:00

Don't be concerned, your friends are wrong.

Watch your speed in Belgium, they are very strict on limits.

parallax80 Wed 09-Jul-14 18:33:47

I've driven from Austria through Germany and France back to UK and was really REALLY nervous about it - not least because it was someone else's car! It was fine, although echoing what others have said, you do need to make sure you join the Autobahn at a decent speed.

CMOTDibbler Wed 09-Jul-14 18:41:54

The only time I've been scared driving on the autobahn was when I ended up with a tiny fiat as my hire car. Otherwise it is dead easy

Bushbb Wed 09-Jul-14 18:48:05

they are fine - most are 2-3lanes and like people have said watch when you pull out to overtake.

I drove to frankfurt and love the last bit of the drive as its 5 lanes - in dry conditions i am one of the 200KM per drivers

today I drove back and it was raining - people drove at closer to 100 and kept their distance

KiaOraOAotearoa Wed 09-Jul-14 18:48:28

Dead easy, very orderly, proper signs, polite drivers, absolute joy smile i love the Autobahn smile

AphraBane Wed 09-Jul-14 18:52:17

"If you're doing more than 120kph and the other driver is doing less, you're automatically at fault."

I believe that kicks in at 130 kph, not 120. It's called the Richtgeschwindigkeit. I've never noticed German drivers sticking to 130 if they could go faster, though. The speed in the 'fast' lane on roads with no limit tends to be around 160kph.

"just be aware that 'middle lane hogging' is illegal and can land you in trouble". I've not heard of anybody being prosecuted for this alone, but it certainly annoys drivers immeasurably. What is very strictly regulated is the amount of time you're allowed to stay in the other lane when overtaking - I think it's 30 seconds for cars and 45 seconds for lorries. That can be tricky if you've got a car with a small engine or are heavily loaded down.

The real nightmare on German roads are the lorries, because there are so many drivers on their way through from east to west Europe and back again. When one lorry tries to overtake another it blocks two lanes of a motorway (the phenomenon is called Elefantenrennen, or elephant racing), which only then leaves the third 'fast' lane for cars to overtake - but the speed there is 160 so you have about 5 seconds to overtake the middle-lane lorry before some arse in an Audi gets within 5 metres of you (not an exaggeration) and starts flashing lights.

And sometimes the lack of speed limit is an irrelevance anyway, because traffic jams can be horrendous. Can you speak any German? Because the main news radio stations always broadcast a traffic summary with the main jams and our car radio has a traffic programme on it so it automatically switches to the traffic report - if we're just about to approach the A9, for example, and hear that there's a 10 km tailback, we'll reprogramme the satnav to find an alternative route for a few junctions and go off-autombahn.

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