Thursday, 9 November 2017

I feel the need for speed

I thought for a change I'd write about my views on something I had seen as opposed to just reminiscing. Today's topic is about driving. 

Along the autobahn on the way to L&J's* place we hit speeds as high as one hundred and ninety KPH and no speeding tickets were issued. It was the only time on the trip where we came anywhere close to the ICE speeds. Other times we were slowed by the variable speed limits they have. As a guy who is used to a posted speed limit being the speed limit the first time I encountered the concept of variable speed limits I was surprised.

The way it works, or so I am led to believe, is like this. Every few kilometers above the highway there were large electronic signs. These signs were mostly blank but there were times where speed limits were posted electronically over each lane. There were even times while in the various vehicles we traveled when I saw speed limits that were different for each lane. For example when we passed some construction on the side of the road, depending upon the traffic flow sometimes that lane would have a posted speed limit slower than the other lanes.

Here we see the speed limited to
120 KPH and trucks can't pass

One of the other nice things was the traffic control of large trucks. Once again depending upon the amount of traffic there were times when big trucks were confined to the slow lane so traffic could move. This was all done via the electronic traffic control signs. Using this form of control and rigorous enforcement made the traffic flow well most days. Oh, and one other thing I noticed; while driving on Sundays all the heavy trucks were parked in the truck stops. I was told that unless they vehicle had a special permit to be driven on a Sunday it had to be parked. The permits were only issued for trucks delivering critical items. 

Of the two J is the more sedate driver, at least he was
when we ere in the car. Please forgive the quality of the pic,
at those speeds it was hard to keep the cellphone still.

Something else they have in Germany for traffic control that we don't have here are radar cameras. When they tried to do the radar cameras here the did it ass backwards. What they did was take a photo of the back license plate after the car had passed the camera and the owner got the ticket not necessarily the driver. This was wrong and the courts soon came to this conclusion and the photo radar went away. 

In Germany the photo radar takes a photo of the front of the car to identify the driver. If there is a passenger, the passenger is removed from the photo so he/she can't be seen to preserve privacy. Then a check of the vehicle registration is done and if the driver isn't the owner the owner gets a photo in the mail with a request to identify  who the driver was.  Then once the driver is identified that's who gets the ticket. Personally if this was the way it was done over here I would not have had any problems with it. 

By looking at the plates I could tell the vehicle on the
left was from Marburg while the van on the right was from
Giessen (I think)

Another thing that I noticed while on the road was the way the vehicle licenses were numbered. Just by looking at a license you were able to tell where the vehicle was from. This was done by looking at the first two letters of the plate. Those letters represented the area the vehicle was from. Personally I'm not fond of the idea that a car can be tracked that easily but that's just me.I guess that's a hold over from before computers and the ability to easily run plates.

Tomorrow I'll delve into the stuff we got into with L&J but that's it for now.

* My kind wife, who reads this blog, was nice enough to inform me that I had given J the wrong first initial. His first name starts with a J not a Y. J you have my apologies...

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