Crossing wide streets in Germany can look scary. But appearances can be deceptive.
While crossing German streets, I am struck by how fast the vehicles whiz by. Germans are exceptionally fast motorists. Yesterday, as I waited at a crossing, a variety of cars – BMW, Volkswagon, Mercedes and Porsche, headed straight for me to swerve along the lane at the last moment. But I also noticed how I didn’t feel scared. I trusted that each one of those speeding motorists would turn in time and stick to their clearly defined lane.
Why did I trust those motorists? Because I trust the system that keeps them on the road – the scientific road design, the difficult tests for obtaining a German driving license and the clearly defined and well enforced laws.
Good systems helps us trust strangers. They also help us build traffic intersections that look dangerous but feel safe.