August 2008

Right of Way

by PapaScott on 29 August 2008

Even after 18 years of driving in Germany, I still have problems following my instincts with right of way at intersections.

The German rule is Rechts vor Links, or right before left. That’s the same as I learned in driver’s training in Minnesota. In the words of the Minnesota Driver’s Manual:

When two vehicles reach an intersection at the same time, and there is no traffic light or signal, the driver of the vehicle on the left must yield to the vehicle on the right.

So far, so good. But at T-intersections, a different rule applies:

When two vehicles approach an uncontrolled “T” intersection, the driver of the vehicle that is turning must yield to all cross traffic.

100px-Zeichen_306.svg.pngIn other words, straight before turns. In Germany this doesn’t apply. “Right before left” applies to both T- and regular intersections. When a cowpath adjoins a highway, traffic from the highway must yield to traffic from the right on the cowpath unless right-of-way is posted on the highway with a Vorfahrtstraße sign. Ninety percent of T-intersections have such a sign.

It’s at the T-intersections that aren’t posted where I have problems. I consciously think “This is a T-intersection, I can’t follow my instincts”, and I end up yielding to everybody.

This drives my wife nuts, but I suspect that if it’s gone on this long, I’ll never outgrow it.

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Passport Renewal

by PapaScott on 27 August 2008

chrpass_thumb.jpgIt’s now been six years since we submitted the application, took the pictures, and obtained Christopher’s US passport. That means the passport expired nearly a year ago, and it’s time to apply for a new one before we visit the States this Christmas.

I found the rules online, and have the forms completed and the documents gathered. Two things have changed since last time. For one, the consulate in Hamburg no longer processes passports, so we have to go to either Berlin or Bremen. Secondly, if both parents don’t appear in person, the written consent of the missing parent must be notarized. I don’t want to trouble Frauke to come along, but I have no idea what they need for a notary (it’s not the same as a German Notar). (The consulate will notarize her consent for free, but that kind of defeats the purpose of saving Frauke the trip.)

Of course Christopher has school now every day, and the passport office is only open during the week, so it looks like the three of us will be taking a road trip to Bremen one day during fall school vacation in October.

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Back from the Beach

August 20, 2008

We’ve just returned from a couple of days at St. Peter-Ording on the North Sea. Details later.

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