One of the prized assets in Germany, the Autobahn is a wide network of highways. One of the most talked about aspects of Autobahn is that there is no speed limit in around 70% of the length of the highways. However, that is not the only great thing about Autobahn. To better understand its full potential, here is a look at some amazing facts about Autobahn that you probably didn’t knew before.
There are speed limits
There is a general perception that Autobahn is without speed limits. However, that is not entirely true. Certain areas such as urban centers, under-construction, accident prone or substandard sections have speed limits. An advisory limit of 130 km/h (81 mph) is applicable across all sections. It will be safer to drive at the advisory limit, but you will not be penalized if you exceed that limit. In restricted areas, speed limit can be 80 km/h (50 mph), 60 km/h (37 mph) and even 40 km/h (25 mph).
Freeze resistant concrete
Specialized concrete mix has been used throughout Autobahn, which makes the roads resistant to cracks and damage during winter season. It increases cost per kilometer, but maintenance costs are also reduced.
Most countries use a toll system to finance their highway projects. However, that is not the case with Autobahn. The expansion and maintenance of Autobahn is managed via federal budget. Funds are indirectly collected via fuel tax and vehicle tax. Having no tolls is a true delight for Autobahn users.
Use bicycle on Autobahn
Due to fuel shortage during World War II, only a select few people were allowed to use the Autobahn. As a result, the roads were largely empty. It resulted in people riding their bicycles on the Autobahn. As of now, cycles are not allowed on Autobahn.
Fastest speed record
Fastest speed record on the Autobahn was set in 1938 by Rudolf Caracciola. The car used was a Mercedes-Benz W125 that had a V12 5577cc motor with two superchargers. Top speed achieved was 238.8 mph, a record that has not been broken even today on the Autobahn.
Autobahn was not Hitler’s idea
Many believe that Autobahn was Hitler’s idea. However, that is not entirely true. Hitler expedited the construction of Autobahn, but the original idea was that of Mayor Konrad Adenauer of Cologne. The construction had begun before Hitler came to power.
Use as an airstrip
During Cold War, certain sections of Autobahn were prepped up to be used as a landing airstrip for planes. Even today, the Autobahn can be prepared for emergency landing and takeoff. This strategy is now being used by various other countries during construction of their new highways.
Even though strict safety measures have been implemented across the Autobahn, accidents still happen from time to time. One of the largest accidents on the Autobahn involved a pile-up of 259 cars. This accident occurred in 2009. The primary reason for the accident was bad weather, characterized by heavy rainfall.
Pass from left
If you need to overtake while driving through Autobahn, you will have to use the left lane. There are no exceptions to this rule. All other vehicles including slow-moving vehicles are required to stay on the right lane. Strict enforcement of this rule has helped reduce accidents on the Autobahn.
At fast speeds, even the smallest of cracks and debris can lead to accidents. That is why the maintenance team works 24/7 to keep Autobahn in top shape at all times. The roads are constantly monitored and damages are repaired immediately.