American mythology also reports that European freeways
(autoroutes, autobahns, autostradas, etc.) are exceedingly
dangerous. The fact is that they are no different than
any interstate highway in the US save for the following:
Europeans always pass on the left, never on the right;
they generally always use their blinkers to indicate
passing; they never drive in the left (passing) lane
except to pass another vehicle.
Counter to what you may have heard, most all European
freeways have posted speed limits, and this is also
the case in much of Germany. Generally, 120 kph (70
mph) is the fastest you may drive on these roads and
most Europeans adhere to speed laws. It should be noted
that even on some German autobahns that don't have speed
limits, the faster cars always pass to the left, leaving
you to tool along at whatever speed you're comfortable
The freeways throughout Europe are conveniently supplied
with full-service rest stops. Most have restaurants,
shops and, of course, automotive service. Europeans
pride themselves on cleanliness and rest stops are no
exception. From the top of Sweden to the bottom of Italy,
these rest areas are most often extremely clean and
offer surprisingly good national foods. Germany, Austria
and Italy offer inexpensive restaurants that will delight
you and leave you wondering why we ever settled for
our fast food establishments.
The freeways of Germany are, as their name implies,
free. However in France and Italy there are toll booths.
A nice feature however, is the the fact that most booths
have automatic credit card machines allowing you to
pull up, slide your card in and be off in seconds. In
their never-ending attempt to be different, Switzerland
and Austria uses a sticker which you must purchase prior to using
any of their freeways. If you are picking up location
is Switzerland, these stickers are available from the
Tip: Europeans take lunch seriously. The idea
of eating in two minutes, thirty-one seconds mystifies
them. You'll notice that at just about noon time until
about 2:00 PM, these rest stops become quite busy, especially
on the weekends. It's a good idea to pull in for lunch
around 11:45 that should put you back on the road in
about an hour's time.
Another Tip: It won't talk you long to figure
out that many Europeans bring picnic supplies with them
when they travel: luncheon meats, tomatoes, bread, tubes
of mayonnaise, mustard, ketchup, etc. They'll pull into
a rest stop buy cold drinks and make their own sandwiches.
It's a good idea and inexpensive. You might want to
try it for a change of pace.