Autobahns are motorways in Germany that are free of speed limit. Tired of watching out for speed limits and police, I looked forward to driving the autobahns during my trip in Europe.
The right lane is usually full of 18 wheelers going at 120 kilometers per hour. The middle lane has cars cruising pass those 18 wheelers. And the left lane is open for cars zooming by in a blink of an eye. Free at last! The open road seemed to be asking:”How fast can you go?”. When driving at high speed on autobahns, the trees by the roadside were flying backward, the dotted white lane marks became solid lines, and the car felt like a boat gliding on water.
Sometimes when driving at 180km/h in the left lane, a sport car pulled up behind me. I tried to speed up, but the SUV couldn’t accelerate quickly given the weight it’s carrying. The sport car started flashing their lights. I wished I didn’t have all the luggage and was driving a sport car instead. Sometimes I had to merge lane quickly. Once to avoid a collision in the left lane, I cut into the right lane at high speed. The car in the right lane honked at me. Initially, I was angry thinking they drove too slowly. At the end of the day, it occurred to me that it was an open road for them as well. They were free to drive at the minimum speed.
If there is just one lane on an autobahn, the driver in the front chooses to drive at minimum speed while the driver in the back chooses to push the pedal to the metal, whose preference has more weight? When there is a speed limit, the range of speed difference is small. Hence less conflict between personal preference. Without speed limit, there is more conflict because the speed difference is bigger.
What does free-of-speed-limit mean? Free to get the adrenaline rush on autobahns, or free to cruise and enjoy the scenery. Free to push the car to its limit, or free to save gas at low speed. Free to attempt risky maneuvers, or free to choose safety. After the 3000 kilometers’ road trip, I understand its meaning better.
Life is like autobahn. Free to take the opportunity; free to resist the temptation. Free to lead the way; free to follow the lead. Free to demand individual right; free to sacrifice for greater good. And life is asking:”What’d you choose?”.
I look forward to driving the autobahns again. Hopefully in a sporty convertible with the top down. You will probably see me in the middle lane though, most of the time.