"One of those Russians got stopped again, was found that they had a driving ban, and they had to go to court here," Mehmet told us. "I don't remember the verdict, but it was bad enough that we didn't have any more problems with those Russians after that."
German courts did the impossible: Make a Russian driver give a fuck.
The Autobahn Is Surprisingly Safe
Despite those laws, some safety-conscious people from outside of Germany might look at those accident photos and suggest throwing the whole thing into the ocean. But those accidents are thankfully few and far between, and according to Mehmet, it's largely because of how difficult it is to get a German driver's license.
"The license is the reason why the Autobahn isn't a parking lot of crashed cars," he said. "They test you at high speeds. My tester would say, 'Increase your speed to [80 MPH],' and I had to if I wanted my license."
Germans also pay as much as $3,000 for a license, after months of up to 50 but no fewer than 12 lessons. It's no wonder Europe has such robust public transportation, because most of us would give up after the first half of that sentence. American driver's licenses are seen as so comparatively puny that, depending on your state, you may not be allowed to drive at all in Germany. The country that doesn't believe in speed limits doesn't want a terror like you on the road.
"Do what I say, or get autobanned."
It's hard to argue that it doesn't work: Over the past 40 years, Autobahn deaths in total have dropped 80 percent, and there are fewer than two deaths per billion kilometers driven on the Autobahn. For comparison, on U.S. highways with speed limits, 3.4 people die in that same number of Europe-miles. Though we're sure those numbers are far from the front of Mehmet's mind in the moment when three tons of metal go blasting past him like a fucking shell fired from a battleship.
So, yeah, if you ever make the trip to the Autobahn to live out your hot-rod fantasies, watch out for the pothole guy.
Evan V. Symon is an interviewer, writer and interview coordinator for Cracked. Have an awesome job/experience you'd like to share? Hit us up at email@example.com today!
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