Traffic lights, for example. There is no car in sight, but your German pedestrian will wait until the light turns to green. Why? Because his or her inner voice says “Das tut man nicht!” (You don’t do that), or “Denk an die Kinder!” (Think of the children). Just imagine, a poor innocent child would watch this pedestrian cross the road illegally, and would decide to do the same from now on. As would his or her friends. The beginnings of anarcy, maybe, or what would be worse, a sudden increase in pedestrian-caused traffic accidents. So… let’s just wait at the lights.
Send me your “Why do Germans…?” and I will try to find an answer!