Well, yes and no. When it comes to the German Autobahn there are some delicate things you should know - and vice versa for an American freeway.
Believe it or not, most parts of German Autobahns have a speed limit. So you might be able to go as fast as you want only to brake your car down from 125 miles/hour to 65 miles/hour in a matter of seconds as there is no such warning sign "Speed reduced ahead". When you see the sign, hit the brake pedal as hard as you can, which is leading to my second point...
Rules are Rules
If you are over the speed limit in Germany there is no forgiveness. Don't think you can ever get away with it once you got caught. If you were a few miles over, you will pay your fine and no police officer has a leeway in deciding if you will get a ticket or not. On the other hand, in Germany, you won't have to worry about leaving your hands at the steering wheel and having to ask the officer, if you could potentially get out of the car to reach for your license. German police officers are not afraid of getting shot...
But the reason I am actually writing about Autobahns and Highways is a story I got told by one of my Australian passengers and the recent scene that I happened to see driving on the interstate towards Phoenix.
In Germany, we DO NOT WALK on the Autobahn!
A few years ago Bruce (one of my Australian passengers) broke down in Germany with a flat tyre, but managed to pull off on one of the rest stops. It was a rented car and he had no gear to fix it with, so he thought of walking back and crossing the Autobahn to the other side as he remembered seeing an emergency phone. So he did. When he called for help the friendly woman on the other line promised to send help out as soon as possible convinced that he was actually travelling towards Frankfurt as she could locate the emergency phone being on that side of the Autobahn. Bruce told her, he was actually broken down on the other side, which the woman clearly couldn't believe. After Bruce told her he had walked down for a few miles and then crossed the Autobahn, the woman nearly had a heard attack and told him in her lovely German accent: "In Germany, we do not walk on the Autobahn. Stay where you are, do not go any further, we will pick you up".
Bruce told the story a few times to fellow German travellers and whenever he came to the point where he was walking down and crossing the Autobahn, the German faces got a bit pale and the eyes got wide: "You crossed the Autobahn???"
Yes, he did...and it looks like any other country doesn't really care about walking, parking, playing, napping, sitting or what ever else could possibly come to your mind doing right alongside highways. I do drive a lot here in Arizona and I have seen it all (well, maybe not the thing that might have crossed your mind...):
- A beautiful rainbow on your left? No worries, just pull over, take your time, walk around and take the pictures. Believe me, not only one car - 20 of them pulled over, other cars slowing down trying to figure out what's going on.
- Want to go for a hike? Just pull over and park your car right alongside the highway!
- Want to go hunting? Sure, why go further than you need to. Just shoot right from the highway! (I admit, I have seen this in Alaska and not Arizona)
- A nice hill next to the highway and your kids want to go sledding? No problem, just pull over and let them have some fun in the snow!
To be fair, I am not quite sure, if it is actually all legal. Recently I have seen warning signs saying "Do not park alongside highway to play in snow". Maybe the rest of the world is finally figuring out that the Germans are right!