The Entire Autobahn Now Has A Speed Limit, But It’s Not What You Think

Blame summer for the speed limits

The Entire Autobahn Now Has A Speed Limit, But It's Not What You Think
At least temporarily, the Autobahn faces speed restrictions due to concerns of high temperatures damaging the roads.

There are now restrictions on previously unlimited sections.

The summer season has arrived, along with its high temperatures. While that tends to make us humans uncomfortable, it doesn’t bode well for the roads either. Specifically, the German Autobahn, where officials have set speed limits on previously unrestricted sections because of the hot weather.

According to a Bloomberg report, authorities are enforcing speed limits as low as 62 mph (100 km/h) because of fears that high temperatures could cause potentially deadly cracks in the road. On Wednesday, temperatures were slated to pass record highs of 101 degrees (38.2 degrees Celsius). The all-time heat record in July of 40.3 degrees (104.5 degrees Fahrenheit) could be broken as well.

While there were no reports of damage to the Autobahn, it’s not unprecedented. Bear in mind that we’re also talking about a highway where people can legally drive at triple-digit speeds. If a car were to come upon a cracked or buckling section of road at speed, drivers could lose control of their cars. It’s a situation we’ve also seen here in the U.S., especially in cold winter climates.

German roads in need of infrastructure funding

Officials are blaming climate change not just for the hot temperatures, but also for their effect on the road. CarScoops and reported on the state of Germany’s highways, which are susceptible to high temperatures. “With less money available for capital projects across the country, important investment has often been delayed. Stories of crumbling infrastructure — from road, to rail and public buildings — have been quite common in Germany in recent years,” said.

In countries with consistently high temperatures, like Qatar, roads have been designed to withstand much higher temperatures. In relatively temperate Germany, though, the highways may fare poorly if record heat continues to damage the roads. This sort of damage is possible anywhere, though, as high temperatures cause thermal expansion, which may cause sections of concrete to “blow-up”.

For now, though, mind your speed if you drive on the German Autobahn. At least temporarily, you’ll no longer be allowed to drive as fast as you dare in unrestricted sections.