29 March 2012

Driving in Germany

Have I studied up on it? Probably not as much as I should have.

However, I am very lucky that most of their road signs are symbols and easy to follow. Which brings me to something I never thought about having grown up in the US. Our road signs have TOO MANY words! It's no wonder foreigners get nagged for being shitty drivers.

I have the task of driving in a new place. So I probably will feel the same stress that I did when I first started driving at 12 (my mom felt the need to teach me early). But even at 12 I saw people drive, I pretty much had an idea of how it was done AND I could read the road signs because by 12 I was quite literate. I am VERY nervous. But I am a smart cookie and I adapt to change very well.

To add to the above mentioned stress, I am driving in a place where the primary language is German. I know some German, enough to get by. But driving and reading and processing and there ... went... my .... exit. SHIT! So I am very thankful to see several important road signs are symbols.

This sign means I have the right-of-way on a narrow road. How do I know? Well I read about it but it's easy. The white arrow indicates my flow of traffic. The red arrow is on-coming traffic. Red basically means that they do not have the go ahead (right-of-way). However if my arrow was red, I would not have the right-of-way on a narrow road. The sign signaling that oncoming traffic has the right of way looks like this:
Not exactly the same sign as the one above but you start to get the idea. And I am thankful it's pictures and not words. I can avoid a head on collision yay!

I know I am not going to be in London (or drive on what I call the wrong side of the road) but this clip from National Lampoon's European Vacation keeps running through my mind:

Should I be worried? Nah! If the Griswold's can do it, my sister and I can. We aren't total morons! If this type of thing did happen, it will make for a good story when I get back. I hope to god I don't hit Eric Idle riding his bike. **I just added the movie to my Netfliz queue, I gotta watch it now before I leave.**

So aside from making sure I don't wreck or get pulled over for doing something wrong, what is my biggest concern?

Cost of fuel at the closest gas station to me is $4.19 a gallon for low grade. Diesel at that same gas station is $4.49 a gallon. Not one day goes by that friends, co-workers and family members complain about the high cost of gas. Such selfish little whiners, how about look outside of your bubble and see what other countries are paying for gas.


Check it out, CNNMoney has Frankfurt, Germany listed as $5.57 a gallon! I am glad I won't be using a car in Amsterdam because they pay $6.48 a gallon. ABCNews has a video clip where Super E10 is 1.47 Euro per LITER. So if you figure how many liters make up a gallon (just under 4 for you math-phobes) that makes it (converted from Euro to dollar) $7.38 for a gallon of gas in Berlin.

Do I still hear my fellow American's crying? Yes, of course, that will always be the case. No one cares what goes on anywhere else. It's all about me, right now!

So let's calculate what ONE day driving in Germany will cost me. I will average the Berlin high and the Frankfurt low and I get 6.475, I will round it up because gas also rounds up. $6.48 a gallon is what I am going to assume the price of fuel will be in Munich. I intend on driving roughly 202 miles. My sister and I will be driving an Opel Corsa or something similar:I am not sure what year or any of that but I see their miles per gallon range between 50-60. I will go with a low 50 mpg for my calculations. So if the car gets 50 miles per gallon and I will be going 202 miles I will be using just over 4 gallons of fuel. Let's make it 5 since we will be doing in town driving and it's a manual transmission car that I have yet to drive (let's assume I will be an inefficient driver). If these calculations are correct we will have to shell out $32.40 for the roughly 5 gallons of fuel we intend on using. Those same 5 gallons would have been $11.45 cheaper here state side.

Do I still hear my fellow American's crying? (Don't answer that, I already know the answer!)

Here goes! Gonna be driving in Germany a week from tomorrow (Friday). And when I get back and those summer gas prices keep on increasing, I will curse our shitty transportation system and thank my lucky stars I don't pay what others do for gas. I suppose I could get a bike but I like my creature comforts. Which again brings me to the question.... Why are people bitching about gas when they choose to have cars AND drive them?

To have something to complain about duh!

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