I knew that eventually I would have to get behind the wheel of a car and discover first-hand what it was like to drive in Germany. I just didn’t expect it to be this soon.
The Autobahn is legendary, no speed limits, but I haven’t been on it. No, for me it is winding mountain roads where theoretically there is just enough room for two cars to pass. Note that I said “theoretically.” I’m not convinced it is true in practice.
All of this taking place while driving a vehicle with a standard transmission for the first time in 25 years. If I had any hair left to go grey, it probably would after a week on these roads.
Since I wasn’t expecting t o be driving this week, I didn’t go online before leaving Canada to learn the rules of driving in Germany. Never thought of that until I came to my first stop light.
The first few days of driving had been filled with yield signs and roundabouts. No need to stop at the former unless traffic conditions dictated it.
So there I was at a stop sign, preparing for a right turn, and it suddenly hit me. “Can you make a right turn on a red light in Germany?” I just didn’t know.
I know in North America you can, except in Montreal and New York City. But I hadn’t a clue if I could here. The last thing I wanted was to make an illegal turn, with the potential for a traffic ticket. So I sat there, as cars lined up behind me, uncertain as to what to do.
There are certain stereotypes people have of Germans. Patience isn’t one of them. As I waited for the light to change I braced myself for the horns of irritated drivers wondering why I wasn’t turning. Yet there was silence.
That’s how I knew you can’t make a right turn at a red light in Germany. I really should have learned that before getting behind the wheel.
I wonder what else I have to learn?