We have all probably used motorways – or highways – at some point. These mammoth roads are incredibly useful, making traveling from one side of a country to the other that much easier. In fact, many of us enjoy planning entire road trips simply to relax in the car while enjoying straight runs from A to B. So, we think that it’s high time we all learned more about these important roads. Here are some furiously fun facts about motorways.
1. A road of many names!
If “motorways” sounds a little strange to you, that could be because it’s predominantly used in the UK. Motorways are also known as highways, freeways, expressways, and interstates. They’re long, wide, connecting roads.
2. The world’s first motorway!
There’s always been some debate about which motorway was the world’s first! Some say it is the Long Island Motor Parkway built in 1907, while others claim it is the Milan-Varese motorway. And many also claim that it is, in fact, a motorway built in Berlin! One thing is for sure, motorways have only been around since the 20th Century, and so are still relatively modern phenomena.
3. Ever been down the M1?
One thing’s pretty certain – one of the world’s most famous motorways is the M1! It was Britain’s first motorway, hence the name. It opened back in 1959 and remains one of the country’s busiest routes to this day, connecting four-wheeled travel from north to south and vice-versa.
4. What is a motorway, anyway?
Generally speaking, a motorway is a main road that connects two cities or big towns. However, drivers tend to recognize motorways more by the signs used on the road (their color being a big indicator), the speed limit, the number of lanes on the road, and a lack of certain vehicles (such as tractors, cyclists, etc.).
5. A genius concept!
Although motorways may seem a bit scary to some, especially to young drivers, they are intrinsically (and intentionally) safe. Although high speed is nothing to take lightly, motorways provide handy segregated lanes for directions of travel, speed, exits, etc. There are limited intersections, too, which generally helps traffic flow much quicker.
6. Check that speed!
Motorways always have a higher speed limit than other roads. The limits usually range from 100 to 130 kilometers per hour.
7. Motorways are packed with facilities.
Motorways are more than just long connecting roads. They commonly offer emergency stopping lanes, rest areas, service stations, and electronic signage to provide information about traffic conditions and route guidance.
8. They’re different all over the world!
As easy as motorways may be to use, do always remember that not every country has the same regulations! So, if you are thinking of driving in a different country, it’s important to learn the rules of the road and see if there are any car modifications needed (regarding the height of the headlights or stickers, for example).
9. Getting the goods!
As you may have noticed en route, there are not just general motorists on motorways. These roads are often filled with trucks and heavy goods vehicles, too! These large commercial transports need motorways more than anyone to safely and efficiently deliver food, machine parts, medication, livestock, clothes, and even other vehicles!
FAQs about Motorways
What are motorways called in France?
If you are traveling in France and are worried about finding the motorways, just head for the 'autoroutes' - blue road signs mark them so they're always fairly easy to spot.
What are tolls in France?
Motorway tolls in France are known as 'péage.' You will see signs for them before you come across them, so you can come off those roads if you don’t want to pay! You can also program your GPS to avoid those roads.
What is a German motorway called?
In Germany, motorways are known as Autobahns. Bizarrely, some of them do not have speed limits – but do be careful, as many do! It's always best to keep your speed in check wherever you drive. Safety first!
Do you know any fun facts about motorways? Share them in the comments below!