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Open road

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.

Photo by Snapwire on Pexels.com

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.

无极高速

Autobahn是德国的高速公路。 很出名,因为它没有限速。厌倦了为限速和路警操心,我一直期待着在德国的Autobahn上开车。

Autobahn的右侧车道通常是18轮集装箱运输车。它们往往开到时速120公里每小时。中间的车道通常是汽车稳稳得超过那些集装箱运输车。而左边的车道通常是开放的,时不时有汽车嗖嗖嗖得飞驰而过。这就是无极高速。

这次去德国开车终于自由了!空旷的道路似乎在问:“你能开多快呀?”。在Autobahn上高速行驶时,路边的树木向后刷刷刷得飞去,路上白色的虚线连成了实线,汽车轻快得像船在水面上滑行。

有时我在左车道以180公里/小时的速度行驶。一辆小跑车追到我后面。我试图加速,但因为SUV 太重,无法快速加速。小跑车开始不耐烦得闪烁大灯。要是我没有那么多行李,可以开一辆小跑车多好呀……

有时候我不得不迅速变道。有一次,为了避免在左车道发生碰撞,我切入了右车道。右车道上后面的车生气得按喇叭。我觉得它原来开得太慢,所以我才超过它的。一开始,我很生气它对我按喇叭。不过到了晚上,我想到Autobahn对它来说也是没有限速。它可以自由地以最慢速度行驶。

如果Autobahn只有一条车道,前面的驾驶员选择以最慢速度行驶,后面的驾驶员想要超车,谁的选择更重要呢?普通的高速公路有限速,车辆之间速度差的范围小。因此不同车速之间的冲突会比较小。在没有限速的情况下,由于速度差异很大,Autobahn上不同车速之间的冲突应该会比较多。

无极高速到底是什么意思呢?是我可以享受高速的刺激,还是它可以一边巡航一边看风景?是我可以挑战汽车的极限,还是它可以低速驾驶节省汽油?是我可以尝试快速超车,还是它选择漫步田园?经过3000公里的自驾游,我更明白了无极高速的意思。

生活就像无极高速。我们可以抓住机会;也可以抵抗诱惑。可以做开路先锋;也可以甘心跟随。可以要求个人权利和自由,也可以为更伟大的牺牲。生活在发问:“你们选择什么?”

我期待着再次去德国的Autobahn。也许你会看到我开着一辆敞篷小跑车,不过在中间车道……大多数的时候。

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5 responses to “Open road”

  1. Hi George,
    The free of limit doesn’t it has no rules.
    If you cannot drive faster than the car behind in left lane, you should leave the lane as well. Before that, you must check carefully the distance on your right lane. It should be enough between both cars, the one in front and the behind.
    Then you give your signal to change the lane. Once you can see the car behind via your middle mirror, you are allowed to change.
    I suppose you stayed so long in left lane before sport car and you didn’t change lane with safe distance.
    Anyway, driving on highway in Germany really makes fun. Hope you can enjoy it again.

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    1. Thank you very much! Really appreciate your feedback! I think the theoretical conflict still exists if there is only one lane on autobahns.

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  2. Hi George, Glad you all had a nice and enjoyable time as a family in Europe! This reminds me of my own experience with Autobahn in a Computer Show in Germany.

    After a long and exhausted setup of our IBM booth… we got into one of colleague’s rented BMW and head for dinner (still daylight but snow on the road sides). We were all EXCITED to get on the “Unlimited Speed Way”! And we did and we drove and drive at Much HIGHER speed than in US allowed (legally)… then after about 15 minutes later… one of us asked… Wait! Which way is the Restaurant? Well… guess what? It is always the other way! Man!

    As you can imagine, LIFE sometimes is this way too. We are too Excited to make a hasty decision and jump to Action, then very fortunately Realize that we made a mistake, and Willing to turn it around in Time! We all need God’s Wisdom and Guidance on this Life Journey! Yes! God granted us “The Rules” that showed us in The Bible, but once you understand it and builds that Trusting Relationship with Him, then you know those are “The Loving and Caring Guiding Principles” in life to Honor Him and be a Blessing to others around you!

    God be with you (especially in the Convertible Sporty Car) and Bless you all! Simon

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    1. Hahaha! Thanks for sharing the funny story, the wisdom and the blessing! It reminds me of “Sometimes it takes a wrong turn to get you to the right place.” ― Mandy Hale

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  3. […] travelled in Germany recently. I thought I would gain weight after eating and drinking a lot every day. There are so […]

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