Whether you’re visiting Germany or live here, driving can different than at home. Germans are on the whole, far better drivers than those in other countries. Indeed, they require extensive (and expensive) training to get a driver’s license, and only at age 18. Despite the reputation for unlimited speeds that Germany has, its drivers use far more caution and have more rules to follow. So if you’re heading out to hit a new crag or hit the Alps in Allgau, don’t forget these quick tips for foreigners driving in Germany.
#1 – Using public transport for climbing trips
While Germany, and Europe in general is well-known for its excellent public transportation network, climbers will find that it just doesn’t cut it for getting to many crags. Generally speaking, you’ll need wheels to get to at least half of the crags in any given guidebook. Those that are reachable, tend to be technically possible with public transport but awfully inconvenient to the point of barely being worth it.
#2 The Truth about Speed Limits
Contrary to popular misconceptions, there ARE speed limits. In contrast to the US, many of Germany’s speed limit signs are digital and controlled remotely. This means that speed limits changed based on conditions (weather, heavy or light traffic, construction, traffic jams further down the road). The standard speed is 120 km/h, and occasionally 130 km/h. But be warned: If you drive over the recommended speed you can and often will be held accountable for a crash, even if it was not your fault.
Similar to the US when the highway goes near bigger towns, the speed limit will drop and then go back up later. On less traveled stretches, early in the morning or late at night or during light traffic, the speed limit disappears and you can fly. The fastest I’ve gone so far is about 200 km/h (124 mph) however that was just testing the new car. On average, I’ll usually do 90 –¬†100 mph because that’s usually just going with the flow and not intentionally speeding.
The sign below is the “now there is no speed limit” sign in Germany.
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