Securing of heavy-duty vehicles and buses in the BAB area


Our guest editor, Christoph Becker, police chief inspector, provides information on the correct securing of heavy-duty vehicles and motor-buses in the BAB sector.

The danger lurks at the roadside

Every day, repairs or tire changes have to be carried out on the shoulders of the Federal Motorways on broken down commercial vehicles with freight or passengers. Such work is dangerous because it usually has to be carried out in the danger zone of the flowing traffic. Even though the vast majority of the traffic participants approaching a danger point is acting correct or uncritical to those working there, motorists who are unconcentrated, over-tired, or overwhelmed in the difficult traffic situation can become a deadly danger. Therefore, it is vital for those who carry out such work to optimally secure themselves and other stakeholders.

The road traffic regulations are mandatory

If a multi-lane vehicle remains in a location where it can not be detected as a standing obstacle in time, the warning light must be switched on immediately. After this, at least one flashy warning sign shall be placed clearly visible at a sufficient distance, in the case of fast traffic at least 100 m away.

The mandatory safety aids, such as the warning triangle (s) and warning light (s), shall be used. In addition, the regulations concerning the lighting of holding vehicles apply. In the course of the work on the broken vehicle, the lanes can not be entered. If this is necessary, please contact the police.

Use emergency call 110.

The independent blocking of lanes – or even parts of the road – is forbidden!

Motorway maintenance masteries or police?

In principle, the motorway masteries are responsible for securing vehicles at the roadside of the BAB. If you recognize a particular hazard (no shoulder, vehicle protruding into the roadway, etc.), contact the police immediately. The same also applies if you have doubts as to whether the securing of the place of danger is sufficient. If you need back-up by the police authorities or the police, the following information is of great importance:

  • Location: BAB, approx. distance in km, direction of travel,
  • Description of the place of danger,
  • Description of the vehicle,
  • Vehicle protrudes into the roadway,
  • Vehicle or tire parts still lying on the road,
  • Where and what work will be required on the vehicle

If, after notification of motorway master and/or police, the security of the danger point could be established in the meantime, both must also be informed about this again.

Who is bearing the costs of securing a place of danger

The Federal Court of Justice ruled on 28 September 2011 (subparagraph IV ZR 294/10) that the securing of a truck is to be reimbursed after a breakdown by the motor vehicle liability insurer. The prerequisite for reimbursement is that the securing is required by law. This is, for example, true in the case of trucks, which have broken down on motorways and are a hazard to the flowing traffic.

Location and area of the place of danger

It must be taken into account here whether the place of danger is located on a two or three-lane motorway with or without side shoulders. Am I located in a freeway access, a motorway crossroad or a construction site?
Site: Two-lane highway with side strips

The truck is facing a problem on the side strip of the motorway, without protruding into the road, on the right side of the road.


Securing by means of motorway mastery and/or notifying the police
Site: Two-lane highway with side strips

The truck has a problem on the side strip of the highway, and a part of the vehicle is directly on the edge of the right lane, and/or protrudes into the roadway or/and the working space projects into the roadway (e.g., tire change to the left)

Suggestion and urgent recommendation:

Securing by means of motorway mastery and notification to the police
Location: Within an on or off-ramp

The truck has a problem in a motorway junction or a motorway crossroad on the right side of the road.

Suggestion and urgent recommendation:

Securing by means of motorway mastery and notification to the police







Site: Two-lane highway without side strips

The truck experiences a problem on the right lane of a highway or motorway.

Suggestion and urgent recommendation:

Securing by means of motorway mastery and notification to the police

Motorized buses with passengers

If a motor coach with passengers has to stop on the side strip of the motorway due to a technical defect, this is of particular brisance. In principle, all passengers should leave the coach; walk right behind the guardrail and wait offside the road. However, if passengers are unable to do so due to their age (seniors/children) or their physical condition, they must remain in the coach and await the arrival of the auxiliary staff. If there is a noise barrier or a deep embankment on the right side of the guardrail, the coach should not be left.


No matter if a safe exit from the coach is possible or all passengers must remain in the coach: Always contact the police immediately (110):

  • Location: BAB, approx. distance km, Description of the danger site in driving direction
  • Bus with passengers!


Tire and vehicle parts on the road

If vehicle and/or tire parts constitute a danger point on the road, the police must be comprehensively informed. The emergency call 110 can also be used for this purpose. The following traffic must be warned.

Work safety

According to the relevant regulations of the Berufsgenossenschaft Transport, warning clothing must be worn on public roads in the danger area of the flowing traffic during repairs and towing or rescue work. The entrepreneur has to equip his vehicles with it. (§§31,56 BGVD29)

Notes on how to act

  1. Do not brake sharply during a (tire) breakdown, and always observe the following traffic.
  2. Immediately turn on the warning light system while you are rolling out. If possible, change lanes to the side strip!
  3. If you determine now that your vehicle is still conditionally “ready to drive”, proceed to the next rest area or the next motorway exit with the warning light system on.
  4. A truck or motor coach must be recognizable at an early stage for all road users, especially on motorways. To secure the danger zone, wear a warning vest, walk with the emergency trianlge unfolded towards the oncoming the traffic on the standing strip or better behind the guardrail.
  5. Place the triangle at a distance of 100 meters and the warning light(s) at a distance of 50 meters. Refer to the guide post. These are set up at a distance of 50 m. After securing wait for “Help” behind the guardrail.
    When securing your vehicle, also consider the weather conditions, the road condition and the possible dawning and darkness.


Traffic Accident Prevention

The traffic safety advice for the motorway sections at the police department Münster can be reached as follows:

Police Department of Münster
Directorate for Traffic Traffic Prevention/victim protection 48153 Münster
Hammerstraße 234

Police Chief Inspector Christoph Becker
+49 251-275-1450

Christoph Becker

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