Driving at high speeds: As new drivers we're chastised for going above the speed limit, told how dangerous it is, and warned that even going just 10 km/h over the posted limit could end in horrendous, life-threatening results.
On the flip side (or at least the other side of the Atlantic Ocean), a few short weeks ago I was cruising along at 195 km/h in a perfectly legal zone on the Autobahn in Germany outside Munich. At my fastest I hit close to 215 km/h. I was not endangering anyone. I wasn’t tailgating, either; in fact I was even passed a few times.
So, how is it that here in North America, my doing 125 km/h on the highway will get me pulled over or evoke angry gestures from the driver beside me for passing him/her “much too quickly” and therefore recklessly?
It really got me thinking, as I cruised at 195 km/h, why it just doesn’t (and wouldn’t) work on this side of the pond. My No.1 conclusion? We aren’t good enough drivers. We don’t instill proper etiquette on the road nor do we train enough before a license is handed over. Too many drivers on the road have no idea what they’re doing. They’re a danger to other drivers around them.
Until we have driving schools and teachings like they do in Germany, where it’s a long, rigorous process that costs quite a bit and requires repeated testing over the years (for some licences), we will never see legal speeds like they do on the Autobahn.
And for that I’m actually grateful. Hitting 215 km/h outside Munich felt good, safe, and right. If I were to do that here at home, I’d be petrified. Not of myself or my reactions and abilities, but of those around me.
So, just as the saying goes: “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people,” the same can be applied to speeding. Of course, even the most skilled race car driver can die in a high-speed crash (we’ve seen that too many times over the years); however, there’s a greater chance speeding won’t be the issue at the hands of a driver who’s properly trained and has the skills to handle the speed he/she is doing.
Autobahn for all: It’s a nice thought, and I do daydream about it often as I cruise past our posted 100km/h maximum speed signs, remembering the 130km/h speed zones on the highways in Germany, but it’s simply that, a daydream.
The day limit-free zones become legal in North America is the day I will consider using public transit