The German Autobahn, has taken on an almost legendary mystique. The reality is a little different than the legend. The myth of no speed limits is countered by the fact that Tempolimits are a fact of life on most of Germany’s highways, and traffic jams are common. Signs suggesting a recommended speed limit of 130 km/h (80 mph) are posted along most autobahns, while urban sections and a few dangerous stretches sometimes have posted speed limits as “low” as 100 km/h (62 mph). The fact is that Germany’s autobahn system is an extensive network of limited-access freeways that can usually provide a driver with a speedy route from city to city.
NEW! Driving on the Autobahn
Seven important rules of the road!
Within six years after the completion of the first Cologne-Bonn autobahn in 1932, Germany added 3,000 kilometers (1,860 miles) of super highway to its road network. Although Hitler has often been given credit for the autobahn, the real precursors were the Avus experimental highway in Berlin (built between 1913 and 1921) and Italy’s 130-kilometer autostrada tollway between Milan and the northern Italian lakes (completed in 1923). Although Germany’s depressed economy and hyperinflation of the late 1920s prevented plans for new autobahns from being carried out at the time, many miles of roadway were built during the time of the Third Reich. Hitler saw the construction of autobahns primarily as a military advantage; its benefit as a job-creation program in the 1930s was an added plus.
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Austria also has an autobahn network, with some mountainous portions being built as toll (Maut) highways by public companies. Austria has a speed limit on its autobahns of 130 km/h (80 mph). [See below for more!]
Book excerpt ©1999 McGraw-Hill/Passport Books
Die Autobahnpickerl (Toll sticker)Austria and Switzerland charge drivers a toll for the use of their autobahns. Both countries use a Vignette (autobahn sticker) that must be displayed on a car’s windshield. But the two countries don’t have the same fees or system. Learn more on the next page...
NEXT > Autobahn toll stickers
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ON THIS SITE
- NEW! Driving on the Autobahn - Seven vital rules!
- The Autobahn - Part 2 - Autobahn tolls
- Autobahn Photos - Austria and Germany
- Driving in Germany (with links)
- Driving: Environmental Zones - Many cities in Germany have "green zones" that require a special sticker for entry.
- Police (with links to German and Austrian police Web sites!)
- The Autobahnpolizei, the German highway patrol
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- The Autobahn - From “Getting Around Germany” (Brian Purcell)
- Autobahn online - A very good German site about the autobahn
- Arbeitsgemeinschaft Autobahngeschichte - The history of the autobahn from a German association
- Auto Club Links for Austria, Germany, Switzerland:
- ADAC - The main German automobile club
- AvD - Another German automobile club
- ÖAMTC - The main Austrian automobile club
- EUAC - The "other" Austrian automobile club
- ACS - Switzerland
- Autobahngebühr - European autobahn tolls/fees (KFZ-Auskunft - in German)
NEXT > Driving on the Austrian autobahn