The German Autobahn has acquired a mythical aura. The truth differs slightly from the mythology. Tempolimits are a part of life on most German motorways, and traffic bottlenecks are widespread, dispelling the notion of no speed restrictions. However, not all roads in Germany are designated as Autobahns; they can be unclassified roads or local roads. Unclassified roads are major routes that are not planned or signed as autobahns. They are maintained by state governments rather than by the auto association. Local roads are secondary streets that connect villages and towns within a region under the control of one administrative body. They may be classified as A-roads for major routes or B-roads for minor ones.
Germany's federal government classifies its highways into five groups: Autobahns, Autostrade, A-Häfen (ports), B-Strecken (back roads) and S-Bahn lines. The country has been building new roads and upgrading existing ones to make them safer and more comfortable for motorists. In addition, it is planning to build a high-speed rail line between Berlin and Munich by 2029. The project is expected to cost up to $12 billion (87.5 billion euros).
Autobahns are divided into three categories depending on their quality: Premium, Standard and Express lanes. These lanes are marked with special signs and have different speeds limits.
Autobahn 1 is a German highway. The autobahn is the first thing that springs to mind when we think about unrestricted roadways. The renowned highway system of Germany is famed across the globe for its endless lengths of asphalt where a suggested speed restriction of 130 km/h (80 mph) is frequently disregarded. There are two types of highways in Germany: freeways or Autobahns, and motorways or Bundesstraßen.
The term "freeway" refers to any highway designated as such by municipal or state authorities. These routes are usually located near large cities and follow the same general pattern as the Interstate system in the United States: multiple one-way streets connected by flyovers and interchanges. The fastest route between two points is generally an arterial street with some limited-access sections. Although they are popular with motorists, many people dislike freeway driving because it can be monotonous and stressful due to the constant stream of traffic and the need to stay within specified lanes.
By contrast, a "motorway" is a high-speed road used for transporting vehicles rather than people. Motorways are often the only way to get from one town to another, so they play an important role in keeping travel time down to a minimum. In addition, some countries around Europe have special names for certain collections of roads used exclusively for speeding cars: "Autostrade" in Italy and France, and the "Autobahn" in Germany.
Is it true that there are no speed limits on Germany's autobahns? The belief that there are no speed limitations on the autobahn is not totally correct: Around 30% of the network has speed restrictions ranging from 80–130 kph (50–81 mph). These limits were introduced after several fatal accidents involving heavy trucks. The government agency in charge of maintaining the road system has the power to install temporary speed limits during major construction projects or when emergency repairs are needed.
The rest of the autobahn can be driven at any speed up to 250 km/h (161 mph), but most drivers stay within the range 120-140 km/h (75-88 mph). Traffic tends to move at a steady pace, with few stretches over 100 mls beyond the next exit.
In fact, some sections of the autobahn are even designed for racing cars. In the late 1960s, German car manufacturers built race versions of their models to compete in international events such as the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The Autobahn was one of these race tracks and it still is today. There are three main "gates" into which all other roads lead back to the autobahn: Staufen, Würgeengelände, and Überlingen. Each gate has its own special characteristics that make them suitable for certain types of races.
More over half of the German autobahn network has no speed limit, around one-third has a permanent speed limit, and the remainder has a temporary or conditional speed limit. Some automobiles with strong engines can attain speeds significantly in excess of 300 km/h (190 mph).
The autobahn was designed to be an open road for cars without restrictions, so there are no limits on the number of passengers or vehicles that can use it. However, some sections of the highway have special features such as crash tests or tunnels, in which case drivers must adjust their speed accordingly.
The autobahn is divided into several large lanes with three or four separate carriageways in each direction. The center lane is used by slower traffic and may be blocked during certain events such as motorcycle races or automobile shows. Lanes are separated from each other by white lines painted onto the road, and cars cannot cross between lanes except at special intersections. Drivers must change lanes whenever possible to avoid having their path blocked by another vehicle.
In addition to these main highways, there are also many smaller roads called Bundesstraßen (federal highways) that connect major cities and their surrounding areas. These roads usually have two wide lanes with grass or gravel shoulders, but they can also be divided into three or more lanes. They are maintained by state governments but are signed as federal highways with reference numbers similar to those used by international routes.