Driving In Germany
Having had more than enough occasion to observe American driving habits in Germany, it occurs to me that the average American simply does not understand the German concept of driving. An explanation is in order.
German driving is based on a very simple law of physics: no two objects can occupy the same space at the same time. However, as soon as any object ceases to occupy a given space, any other object is free to occupy it. This is why there are disk brakes on even the smallest of cars, thus allowing us to drive as far as possible as fast as possible into any open space.
Unfortunately, at intersections this can cause what is referred to as the Teutonic Four-Way Deadlock, which happens when all cars have moved as far as possible into the intersection, followed by more cars, none of which would even imagine backing up (it is against our nature, you see).
The most severe of these occurred during August of 1973 in Augsburg and lasted three days, seven hours and 42 minutes. There were three marriages, one divorce, and two children were born.
It ended only when the Bundeswehr brought in helicopters and lifted out the cars in the middle, thus freeing up the intersection.
Driving in Germany is still not for those with weak hearts, but I hope that this explains the why of it all and helps to reduce some of the criticism from "Amis" (Americans).
(Originally published as a Letter to the Editor from me in the Stars And Stripes on 24 September 1989.)