An American road trip – an open letter from a German

Day 5 – from D.C. to Branchville

Now our little American roadtrip comes to an end and we’re on the way back from Washington, D.C., I’m sitting in the car next to Daniel trying to list our observations when it comes to US driving.

  • doubled fines for speeding – everywhere. Guys, just simply double the fines right away… You could save a lot of money to put up additional signs…
  • suicidal squirrels: my gosh are these grey squirrels slow. Natural extinction also includes death by cars, I’m sure. There are so many of them, you Americans can spare a few, I guess.
  • overtaking – „to the left, to the left“: not so much. Just now a Jeep is overtaking us (we’re already on the leftmost lane) by almost bumping into us, then drifting to the right, speeding up and squeezing in again in front of us, with just a little bit of room left to the next car in front of us.
  • Reißverschlussverfahren“ – I don’t really know the correct translation for it but chances are there isn’t one in American as the principle of merging traffic from two lanes and allowing one car at a time from each of the lanes to pass and go on isn’t widely spread. But most of the times we experienced the ‚Reißverschlussverfahren‘ it worked pretty well – no one tried to squeeze in or did not make enough space for you to enter. This works much better in the US.
  • speed limits: 65 mph? Really? This is the maximum you can go here is about 105 km/h. No surprise getting anywhere in this vast country takes ages. We could have easily covered the 400-kilometer-distance in about two and a half to three hours. Instead, it takes us almost five and a half hours, taking into account heavy traffic as well. 165 mph that is a proper speed for a high way.
  • oversized cars: Yesterday we saw a pick-up that could have carried a Smart. I’m not sure why everyone of you drives a large car. Because gasoline is super-cheap and you can totally afford it? I’m jealous of the gas prices, anyway.
  • over-motorized cars: These cars are just useless here. To be frank, why would you need 300 PS when you’re bound to a speed limit (see above). In Germany, where there is no restrictions on large parts of our beloved Autobahn, you can test that and push your car to the limit. Going 180 km/h is nothing special when the roads are less busy. Both Daniel and I like going fast, and, regardless of who wins the trophy for the better driver, we’re equally keen on beating Google Maps’ ETA every time we go on a trip. – Ok we all knew who would win the trophy, we just can ask Heinz (my Grandad who is the best and safest driver on earth). But what is it about the big engines – you do not use them?! Even when accelerating on the highway most drivers just accelerate very slow, we had no chance to do anything else as our car was only about 25 horse power and we hit the max speed at 65 mph.
  • highway exits: why on earth would Americans build exits from regular Interstates, Parkways, Turnpikes or other highways on the LEFT side of a four- to five-lane-road?

Please note: As all posts, this is my subjective point of view. Some of it is clearly exaggerated. Neither do I mean to offend anyone nor do I necessarily refer to facts. Just keep calm, have a laugh and eventually come to Germany to experience how it feels like to drive without speed limits. 🙂

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