Most of the time, Toblerone drives. Thank god for that. As you all know I have a thing against the Autobahn and I’m not so sure I understand the rules of driving here. But, I’ve had many times where I’ve had to drive myself around to go shopping or what have you. I’m so thankful for my photographic memory, otherwise…I probably would end up somewhere in the Alps. So far this is what I’ve come to learn:
Other than the basics, Everything you’ve learned does not apply here.
Truth. I’m what they call a “defensive driver.” I’m quick, sometimes daring, but my plan is always well played out! I should be a FORMULA 1 driver! 🙂 Dreaming big! The basics are obvious…get in car, put seatbelt on, turn key. Thankfully, I’ve always driven a manual car because EVERY single car here is a stick. I’m not sure if there are automatics but everyone I know drives a stick. (“Stick” – I know you love it when I talk all technical!) Regardless of my fantastic defensiveness when it comes to the fine autos, there is NOTHING in the good old U.S. of A. that prepares you for the way the Euro’s put the pedal to the metal.
Never in my life have I been car sick. Only here. Literally. There are SO many curves and with the lack of a speed limit, it’s like a joy ride..one that I was never excited to take. The only real straight road is the Autobahn which I have had to drive only a few times pushing my own personal limit to 100MPH (160 KPH) while I was being passed by others going closer to 200MPH.
So even though there are few speed limits, only in places that are clearly necessary or when you first come up upon a new village. There aren’t signs for this but there is a general knowledge, which I didn’t know for quite some time that you MUST be going 50KPH (which is 30MPH) as soon as you drive past the town sign. If you don’t obey…well you have to risk the possibility of getting caught by a “flashing station.”
Flashing stations are genius. I WISH they had these in America. The Germans hate them here but honestly, if they had to deal with the random police everywhere, I would bet money they would choose these stations over that. So, let me explain. The flashing station or a “blitzer” is placed on the side of the road and it’s set to “flash” you or take your picture rather when you’re somewhere between 5-10 KPH over the limit. Here’s the smart part…you usually can see it ahead of time ANDDDDD it never moves. You know when one is coming up if you’re in that town enough. People! Are you with me? Consider a world where there are no cops sitting in their cars hidden behind bushes or right around the corner. No, all you have to do is go 50 when you enter a town and you’re good. Some towns have flashing stations, others don’t. I get it, I’m rambling. I’ve had two glasses of wine.
Here’s a bit of what they look like:
Something else that almost caused me to have a bit of an accident was the lack of knowledge about who has the right of way. Let me see if I can put this into words to explain. So there aren’t many “stop” signs. In fact, I’ve maybe seen two or three since I’ve been here. Most of the time it’s like a “yielding” situation without the yield signs. As you’re driving along what you would think is the main road in a village you have to be careful. If a car is coming from a side road on your right, you MUST stop and let them go. The righties have the right of way. ODD!! I’m not sure who thought of that rule but most of the time I don’t let them go. I use my, “Oopsies! I’m a blonde American” excuse and go with it! I think this rule is stupid so I continue to give myself the right of way, ALWAYS.
There’s a little driving lesson for you folks. The thing is, if you go to another country…you rent a car..good for you. However, you better really look into what the driving rules are. You don’t want to be stuck trying to explain to the Police what you’re doing driving on the wrong side of the road! Oh and here’s a fun fact that most people don’t know: If you’re in Europe you drive on the same side of the road as you do in the US (the right side) UNLESS you are in England or Ireland.
Until next time, Readers!!!