What is the Autobahn you might ask? The Autobahn is a network of roads in Germany where roughly an eighth of it has no speed limit. Most people who drive the Autobahn will be doing 80-90mph, some make it to 125mph and a few will be doing 180mph+.
While the Autobahn is known for its lack of a legal speed limit, it has a rich history that dates all the way back to the 1920s.
Known as the Bundesautobahn in Germany, this network of highways is considered one of the densest and longest in the world. The Autobahn is about 8,026 miles long. Construction began back in 1913, which makes it the worlds first motorway! Construction first started in Berlin and was originally an experimental highway that was only used for racing. With origins in racing, it’s no wonder the Autobahn has become known for speed.
Top Gear's Chris Harris famously maxed out the first Bugatti Veyron on the Autobahn for Autocar in 2007. Harris managed to get the 1001 horsepower Veyron to an impressive 227mph. You can see the video of that here - it's certainly worth a few minutes of your time! If driving 227mph isn't crazy enough, it's worth knowing as well that he did it at midnight.
Germany is known for its vehicle engineering, being the home to Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche. There's no real surprise that the worlds only road without a legal speed limit is in Germany. You can often see the German manufacturers testing their new cars on the Autobahn or, on the famous Nürburgring.
Autobahn regulations and laws
Like many motorways around the world, the Autobahn is subject is strict regulations. You might expect the regulations on the Autobahn to be stricter, because of the potential for such high speeds but, they appear to be very similar to the regulations on UK motorways;
- Pedestrians, Mopeds, and bicycles are prohibited from entering or using the Autobahn in any capacity, this also includes vehicles with a v-max of less than 60 k/ph (36mph).
- Stopping, parking, u-turns, and backing up on the Autobahn is prohibited.
- Passing on the right is strictly prohibited, and if caught engaging in such actions, heavy fines will apply.
- Entering or exiting the Autobahn is only allowed on marked interchanges, and pulling off into the shoulder is prohibited unless your vehicle has broken down.
- Running out of fuel on the Autobahn is illegal, as it is seen as a preventable circumstance, and leads to stopping on the Autobahn, which, as stated in rule 2, is prohibited.
- During heavily congested traffic, drivers in the right and left lanes are required to move as far as possible to their designated side, creating an open channel through the middle of the expressway in case emergency vehicles need to pass through.
- Passenger vehicles will be assessed with no toll fees.