Green, amber, red, and black: these colors designate the various road conditions used at Ramstein Air Base to alert drivers of potential road hazards. When a storm is forecasted, the process of determining the road condition begins with the 86th Security Forces Squadron.
“The on-duty flight chief and all the mobile patrols are looking at the roads and assessing the conditions during inclement weather,” said U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Christopher Torres, 86th SFS police services assistant. “They’re looking for snow accumulation, ice, visibility… anything that might make driving more dangerous. If they see certain criteria, we’ll call for a condition change.”
What do the Road Conditions mean?
Road Condition Green is the default: normal driving conditions and normal operations.
Road Condition Amber represents mild to severe conditions, alerting drivers to exercise more caution. During Amber, the roads may have reduced visibility of 65-164 feet, slush, several inches of packed snow, and black ice.
An elevation to Road Condition Red represents very hazardous conditions, with usually four to eight inches of snow, sheets of ice, snow drifts, and reduced road visibility to less than 65 feet. Red is typically accompanied by delayed reporting or early release, and likely a closure of all except mission essential activities.
Road Condition Black represents the most severe road conditions, and is initiated when driving is considered extremely hazardous to dangerous. Conditions that typically trigger a change to Black are snow accumulation of more than eight inches, extreme sheets of ice, heavy snow drifts, and reduced road visibility to less than 50 feet.
It’s recommended that drivers winterize their vehicle in preparation for inclement weather. Winterizing includes ensuring the fluids in your vehicle are topped off, using winter or all-season tires, and packing a winter survival emergency kit, according to U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Henrie Young, Occupational Safety section chief.
“We’ve all seen a car broken down on the side of the road here in Germany, with the occupants standing outside with their reflective vests on,” Young said. “Now imagine that happening when there’s snow on the ground and the temperature is dropping around you.”
Young recommends stocking a basic winter survival emergency kit with blankets, extra winter coats, gloves and hats, bottled water, snacks, a tow rope, and a flashlight.
Due to Germany’s various microclimates, it’s crucial that service members who live off-base stay alert for the conditions in their area.
“Keep in mind the road conditions apply only for on base,” Young said. “Check the weather in your area, it could be Amber where you live, but as you drive closer to base it could gradually get worse. Call your supervisor and report late is necessary.”
How to check the Road Condition?
When the road condition is changed, service members and their families can check the Ramstein Air Base Facebook page cover photo (https://www.facebook.com/RamsteinOfficial/) for the most current conditions.
By downloading the Air Force Connect app, adding Ramstein Air Base as a favorite, and enabling notifications, members of the KMCC can also receive up-to-date alerts on changes in road conditions, or click on the Road Conditions button.
If delayed reporting or an early release has been directed, an announcement will be made via a post on the Facebook page and an Air Force Connect app notification.