Just a little filler today – something that Alan reminded me of as we came exited the roundabout at the top of our road. German drivers use their indicators a lot. Nearly all drivers are taught to indicate before every lane change on the Autobahn, not just when pulling out to the fast lane like in England. You will also see a whole line of drivers in the left or right hand filter-lane at a set of traffic lights all indicating. It seems a little like overkill because being in that lane means you have to turn.
In England drivers rarely indicate when there is just a bend in the road. In Germany, they do. In fact you are taught to do this if on the bend there is a turning. Just to make it extra clear that you are not going to turn off. Better safe than sorry I suppose.
But the one thing you will never see is somebody indicating when the enter a roundabout. They only indicate on the exit. I don’t know why because it is really helpful knowing what somebody is definitely staying on the roundabout past the next exit (for example if you take the third exit in England you will first indicate right until you have passed the second exit and then switch to indicating left before you exit). But Germans keep you guessing. It may be because roundabouts are less common and have only become widespread in the last 20 years or so.
Another strange use of the indicator is to urge a slower driver ahead to pull out of the overtaking lane. The rules are quite strict on forcing people to pull over, so you are not allowed to flash your lights. So the impatient German driver must resort to the indicator.
Still, there is some comfort in the knowledge that our two countries aren’t that different – over here BMW and Audi drivers are in general the worst at indicating (unless they want to get past you on the Autobahn).