Thursday, July 09, 2015

Carseats and driving

A while ago we have noticed how different Germany and USA when it comes to driving, car seats, and things that we used to assume were the "correct" way.  Everybody knows that autobahns have no speed limits; however, if there is a car accident and you happen to be going over 130 km/h (80mph) you will most likely be at fault.  We have also seen many times when you go from no speed limit to 80 km/h (50mph) which is a pretty drastic change.  Instead of looking for a cop car around the corner, there are speed cameras everywhere!  We've seen them in the most ridiculous places including but not limited to on the curve changing from one autobahn to another both of which have no speed limits but the curve does.  Within city limits the speed limit is 50km/h (30 mph) and it does not have to be posted so many speed cameras are right at the entrances to the cities.

People are very polite on the road.  It's pretty important to make sure you use your signals and learn how to drive in the roundabout.  Roundabouts are everywhere and are not meant to be used as stop signs as some people think.  You are not allowed to turn on red or talk on the phone so in all the cars that we have used here, the phone is linked to the car.

We had taken several road trips and drove in Belgium, Netherlands, France and Czech Republic.  It's always interesting to drive through a non-existent borders and see how the signs appear and change.  Most of the countries have a limit of 130 km/h which seems awfully slow after going around 160km/h. 

The thing that is completely mind blowing to my pretty American mind is that kids are allowed to be in the front seat as soon as they are in the front-facing car seats.  I see that all the time when picking up kids from school.  It does depend on the car and whether the air bag can be turned off. However, boosters are required until kids turn 12 years old.  We also bought a new car seat for Anton when we arrived (about 6 months ago by now).  While we had Britax that we absolutely loved, it was way too big for the cars here - no way to fit 3 kids in the back, and also the car seat we bought feels safer.  There is no debate about 3 vs 5 point harness because it has a big protective holder right in front of him (see pictures because I know that my super technical terms are way too much for some).   We have seen some other regular types but not a lot. 

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