Germany’s long-standing reputation in the automotive world is primarily due to two things: luxury cars and the Autobahn highway. For many, the Autobahn brings up images of a straight and smooth highway, a road unchallenged by speed laws and open for no-holds-barred driving. In reality, the Autobahn, like any other federal highway, comes with its own distinct set of rules that help keep traffic flowing as peacefully as possible.
If you’re interested in becoming an auto mechanic, read on for a few interesting facts about Germany’s Autobahn highway.
1. Auto Mechanics May Be Surprised to Learn that the Autobahn Has Speed Limits
If you want to become a mechanic, you may be surprised to find out that one of the most popular facts about the Autobahn is not as accurate as it may seem. The idea of a limitless road may be too good to be true, but that’s not to say that there aren’t some things to get excited about.
The Autobahn does actually have areas without a legal speed limit. They are, however, only in certain sections of the highway. The rest of the road has recommended speed limits, typically between 120 and 130 km/h, with a lower top speed in more urban areas.
2. The Autobahn Is Actually Safer than Highways in the US or Canada
The Autobahn’s high-speed reputation may make you wonder how safe it actually is to drive. In fact, the highway is just as safe as any other, if not more so.
Germany has a rate of around 4.3 fatalities on the road per 100,000 people, while Canada has closer to 6. Similarly, it has 2.7 fatalities per billion kilometres travelled, whereas the US has nearly double, with 4.5 fatalities. Two possible reasons behind this may be the difficulty and the cost involved in getting a German driver’s license, as well as the state of the roads themselves, which are well-maintained and even built in some places to withstand the weight of an airplane.
3. Students in Mechanic Courses May Be Interested in the Autobahn’s Fastest Speed Record
The Autobahn has been seen as a paradise for auto enthusiasts looking to test their vehicle’s capabilities almost since construction was completed. Although similar roadways had been built in Germany by the early 1900’s, the Autobahn as we know it didn’t exist until the 1930’s.
In 1938, driver Rudolf Caracciola, a veteran racer of the Grand Prix and Formula One, took to the Autobahn in a Mercedes-Benz W125. Outfitted with a V-12 engine—something sure to make students in mechanic courses green with envy—Caracciola and his car reached an astounding speed of over 430 km/h, a record that still remains unbroken on the Autobahn today.
4. The Autobahn Recently Became One of the World’s First Electric Highways
In recent years, Germany has experimented with applying electric technology to ground transportation, and revealed its new electric highway. Known as the ELISA project (electrified, innovative heavy traffic on the Autobahn), the new ‘eHighway’ currently runs from the Frankfurt Airport to the Darmstadt/Weiterstadt exchange, and has the capability to charge electric transportation trucks as they drive.
The eHighway operates by connecting trucks on the road to a series of cables running above, similarly to an electric streetcar. While the ELISA project is still in development, it presents a new and exciting change to trucks and cars on the Autobahn.
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