Welcome Autumn: risk of accidents on the road

Police Headquarters Münster - Accident prevention

“Blind flight” – definition: flight (in fog or similar) in which the pilot has no view and has to rely on his instruments (definition Oxford Languages).

In autumn and winter, the risk of accidents increases due to poor visibility in adverse weather conditions on the motorways. There are several possible sources of danger to consider in order to prevent weather-related accidents. Especially those who are on the road for work have to arrive at their destination on time, even in bad weather. Yet arriving itself is the most important point. The following tips offer help for a safe journey through autumn and winter weather: with a clear view and against flying blind!

1. Preparation

Pre-trip inspection:

– Check and clean the lighting equipment and reflectors
– Free all windows and mirrors from frost and snow (a peephole is not enough)
– Free the vehicle from snow and ice sheets (pay attention to roof loads on trucks)
– Top up antifreeze for the windshield washer system
– Check wiper blades for proper function
– If necessary, bring blankets and warm drinks
– Check the weather forecast (also for the destination)
– Start the trip with plenty of time

2. Sources of danger

Low sun in the morning and evening can be very dazzling, especially in autumn. Have your sunglasses close at hand and make sure your windshield is clean.

Especially on bridges, patches of forest or open space, moisture can freeze over unexpectedly quickly. Even if the temperature is above zero degrees, there may already be ground frost.

Snow in the morning and mud during the day make the streets smooth and slippery. start your trip in good time and plan for reserve time in order to not get stressed and to prevent unnecessary risks from driving too fast.

3. Adjusted speed

§ 3 StVO: (1) Anyone who drives a vehicle may only drive so fast that the vehicle can be constantly controlled. In particular, the speed must be adapted to the road, traffic, visibility and weather conditions as well as personal abilities and the characteristics of the vehicle and load. If the visibility is less than 50m due to fog, snowfall or rain, you must not drive faster than 50 km/h unless a lower speed is required. You may only drive so fast that you can stop within the overlooked route. On lanes that are so narrow that oncoming vehicles could be endangered, however, you must drive slowly enough to be able to stop at least within half of the overlooked route.

The speed must be adapted to the weather conditions. Here it is also important to check the distance from the vehicle in front so that you still have enough room to react and initiate a braking or driving maneuver.

In heavy rain and snowfall, the left lane is taboo!

Trucks with a gross vehicle weight over 7.5t, including their trailers, as well as tractors are not allowed to use the leftmost lane if visibility is restricted to 50 meters or less due to heavy snowfall or rain, or if there is slippery snow or black ice.

4. Side effects

Especially when the temperatures drop, a wide variety of colds occur more frequently. Especially this year, with regard to the corona pandemic, it is difficult to estimate how the annual flu-like infections or colds will develop. If you experience symptoms, it is important to stay at home and consult a doctor. If the symptoms turn out to be a simple cold, the following should be considered:
Over-the-counter pain and flu medication can affect your ability to drive. Especially in combination with other medications, there can be interactions that can affect your abilities as a driver (e.g. tiredness, difficulty concentrating, dizziness, etc.)

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.
Are you interested? Be curious!
Send us an email to join our mailing list! E-mail: vsb.muenster@polizei.nrw.de

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