Home > Driving, Paris > The Autobahn (do I have to say more?)

The Autobahn (do I have to say more?)

Growing up, I had heard about the Autobahn.  The place where fast cars got to go fast.  No speed limit.  For someone who enjoys driving fast, it sounds like a dream world.  When I learned to drive, the speed limit was only 55 mph, and that seemed slow to me (and to Sammy Hagar too!)  But a place where there isn’t a speed limit?  Sounds like somewhere I would like to go.

I got my chance while we lived in France.  Our church was a part of a convention of churches from around Europe.  Each year we would have an annual meeting somewhere.  One year it was outside Venice, Italy.

Me and Jen in Venice

One year the meeting was in Frankfurt.  Our pastor, music pastor, Jen and I drove from Paris to Frankfurt for the meetings.  While we were there, I was invited by a friend of mine to come and visit his youth group in Kaiserslautern.  This was more or less an hour drive.  I drove over by myself, following my friend.  It was raining and he didn’t drive too fast.

But after the youth group, I got to drive back to Frankfurt on my own.  Here was my opportunity.  I get to drive on the autobahn all by myself!  Oh…how excited I was.  I couldn’t wait to get my chance to drive fast!  Now, at this point you might be asking what sweet driving machine I was behind the wheel of.  If I made a list of 100 cars that I would want to drive on the autobahn, the car I was in wouldn’t have even made the list.  It was an Opel Vectra.  For those of you that aren’t familiar with Opel, it is a German company that was owned by GM until 2009.  They have been making cars since 1899.  But really, they are not exciting cars.

But this was the car that I had to drive, so I was going to see what it could do.  In the car’s defense, it was a well-built car that had been maintained very well.  So it was a safe car.  But how fast would she go?  I had no idea, but I had a goal in mind.  200 KPH (124.27 MPH for those who don’t want to convert this in their head).  If I could hit 200 kph, I would feel that I had really accomplished something.

What I needed to find a good long stretch of road that would allow my non-super car to get up to this speed.  Add in the challenge of other cars and I was going to have to pick my spot well.  When driving in Germany, you have to watch your mirrors for the faster cars coming up behind you.  If they flash their headlights  at you, you should move over very quickly.  As I was making my assault on 200 kph, I had to get over a few times to let people pass.  This slowed me down a bit, but didn’t deter me at all.

I pushed that little car and I was able to not only hit 200 kph, but go over it slightly.  My heart was thumping so loud and the adrenaline was pumping.  I was loving life.  And, to my amazement, even at 200 kph I had cars passing me!  I didn’t stay driving that fast for long.  I slowed down to 135 KPH…which is the smarter speed to drive.  While it is true that there isn’t a speed limit on the autobahn, what you don’t hear is that many insurance policies don’t cover you if you are driving over 135 KPH.  So if you get in a wreck going over 135 KPH, you are liable for any damages

I would have to say that driving on the autobahn was a blast…when I was going 200 KPH.  When I wasn’t, it really was just like driving on any other freeway…well, except for the fact that all of the signs are in German and I never did figure out where the heck Ausfahrt was.

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