Motorists must watch out for dangers on streets in fall

by Petra Lessoing
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

In fall, motorists must be very careful while driving in fog and on wet leaves. — Photo by Mikadun / Shutterstock.com

Motorists must be extremely careful now during fall and be aware of additional dangers on the streets. There is fog, black ice, wet leaves.and deer passing.

Automobile club and Polizei officials give recommendations on how to get safely through the third season.

Whenever there is dense fog, a general rule is to slow down, drive even more carefully, and always have the lights turned on.

• Adjust speed to range of sight. If visibility is only 50 meters ahead, don’t drive faster than 50 kilometers per hour. If it is 100 meters, don’t drive faster than 80 kph, and if visibility is 150 meters, don’t drive faster than 100 kph.

• Focus on the safety poles, not the center stripes. The poles on the right side always have rectangular reflectors, and those on the left have two round reflectors. The density of fog can be estimated by the distance of those safety poles. On regular roads, the distance between two poles is 25 meters and on the autobahn it’s 50 meters.

A reduced speed during bad visibility or while driving through forests is also needed for another reason: with less daylight wild animals get active later in the morning and earlier at night.

If animals suddenly appear, motorists should brake immediately, turn down the lights and blow the horn. They should not swerve and lose control. On streets with deer crossing traffic signs, drivers should drive in a cautious and anticipating way.

If a collision with animals happens, warning lights must be turned on and the vehicle has to be secured. Injured persons should be taken care of and the police have to be called. The animal should not be touched. Foxes can be infected with rabies and deer, appearing unconscious, can be dangerous. It’s considered poaching if someone takes the deer and puts it in the trunk. This results in the confiscation of the vehicle and a fine. In bad cases, a prison sentence of up to five years is possible. Car owners need a written confirmation by the police or the game lessee so the comprehensive insurance will pay for the damage. The game lessee is based on animal protection laws obliged to find an animal that got hit and hurt, and put it out of its misery.

Autumn usually brings the first black ice, which calls for special attention. The same applies to wet leaves; roads get slippery.

Also, after harvest agricultural vehicles make the roads dirty with clay and clods of earth, dangerous situations might happen, especially for motorcyclists. Mud and clumps in combination with moistness can result in slippery street surfaces.

Heavy winds or storms can cause another danger. Drivers should adjust their speed, be careful when passing trucks or busses, and watch for signs on bridges and in forest aisles.  Officials also recommend not to park under trees when it’s very windy or stormy. branches might fall onto cars and damage them badly.