Truck drivers: Get safe through the dark season

Police Headquarters Münster - Traffic Directorate

Police superintendent and traffic safety adviser of the Münster police, Marina Habeck, informs about risks in the dark and cold season and shows which standards truck drivers have to meet for safety on the road.

Winter tires

Winter often comes suddenly and the weather can change quickly. Especially at night or in the morning it can become slippery on bridges or in forest areas. Therefore, it is advisable to switch to winter tires in time, as they produce good traction due to their design, especially at subzero degrees, and support the driving stability and braking maneuvers through their profile.

  • Winter tires manufactured from January 01, 2018 must bear the Alpine symbol.
  • Tires with the M + S symbol may be used until September 30, 2024.

In the event of a traffic accident due to improper and non-compliant tires in case of slippery or snowy conditions, this may result in a fine of 60-120 euros and a point.

From July 1, 2020, buses (class M2 and M3) as well as trucks (class N2 and N3) need winter-proof tires not only on the drive axles but also on the steering axle.

Frost and icy conditions:

  • Take precautions the night before and cover the windows
  • Scratch ice completely off the windows
  • Wiper blades streak-free and frost-proof windscreen washer
  • Check lighting and clean regularly
  • Adapt speed to road and weather conditions
  • Avoid unnecessary lane changes
  • Take special care on bridges and forest roads
  • Use proper tires
  • For longer trips, carry blankets and warm drinks if necessary

Pay attention to “roof loads“

As part of the departure check, the truck driver must make sure that there are no snow or ice sheets on the roof or the tarpaulin of the truck. Falling ice sheets can cause damage by directly affecting other vehicles or force other drivers to risk evasive maneuvering. If there is a resulting accident, the driver faces an offense notice, and in the case of personal injury a criminal complaint.

The vehicle owner is also responsible and can be held liable, provided that the vehicle is in his or her access area. If the truck driver is on the road, the responsibility lies exclusively with him.

Behavior tips:

  • If possible, leave the vehicle covered
  • Use a compliant scaffold
  • Use of aids (e.g., Roof Safety Air Bags and RSAB)
    Remove snow or ice on tarpaulin structures from the inside with the help of slats, brooms or similar
  • Attention when using ladders (yield regulations: use correct angle of 65-76 degrees, prevent tipping and slipping, do not use the top four rungs.
  • Mutual assistance in detecting and eliminating roof loads

Martina Habeck

The department for road safety of police Münster informs drivers of commercial goods and persons free by sending regular “information-mails”. We will keep you up-to-date on news and changes in the social rules (driving and rest periods). Information on digital recording equipment, cargo securing and anything that might be important to you, we will pass on to you.
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