The German equivalent of the ANWB has released information about the most important traffic rules that apply when motorists and motorcyclists are stuck in a traffic jam in Germany for a long time.
Especially at summer temperatures on the way to vacation, standing in a traffic jam for a long time will at some point cause problems for all passengers. Is it okay to get out of the car and stretch your legs? “It is forbidden to leave the car, but the police tolerate it in long-term traffic jams, for example if it gets too hot in the vehicle,” says Andreas Müller of ADAC (the general car club of Germany) Südbaden. “But even then, walking on the highway is taboo and emergency services should not be hindered in the event of an accident.”
Form a ‘rescue lane’ in time
Very important in Germany is the formation of a ‘rescue strip’. In the event of a traffic jam, motorists must keep the center lane clear for emergency services on roads with two or more lanes. This is also mandatory in countries such as Belgium, Austria, Luxembourg, the Czech Republic and Hungary. In the event of an emergency there, emergency services do not drive over the hard shoulder as here, but between the traffic. This principle is also applied by Switzerland and Slovenia, although it is not (yet) mandatory there.
The fines for motorists who do not comply with the rules here have been drastically increased: to 200 to 320 euros
Even before a traffic jam occurs, i.e. in slow-moving traffic, drivers must already form such a rescue lane – always between the leftmost lane and the other lanes. “The fines for motorists who do not comply with the rules here have been drastically increased: to 200 to 320 euros,” explains the traffic expert.
Overtake to the right
Overtaking on the right in a traffic jam is only allowed if traffic in the left lane is stationary or is traveling at a maximum speed of 60 km/h. “You can drive past stationary traffic on the right at a maximum speed of 20 km/h,” says Müller. “On the other hand, reversing or turning on the Autobahn is always prohibited – unless the police ask the motorists to do so, for example in the event of a complete roadblock.” The hard shoulder may not be used in traffic jams, it is reserved for cars with breakdowns. Anyone who does not comply with this and drives over the hard shoulder to the next exit or the nearest resting place risks a fine of 75 euros and one penalty point on the driver’s license.
Motorcycles: not between the cars
“Motorcyclists are not allowed to drive between the stationary or slow-moving vehicles,” said Müller. “That is punishable by a fine of 100 euros and one penalty point. Overtaking on the left is allowed if there is enough space. hands-free kit is also prohibited in traffic jams The driver is only allowed to hold the phone when the engine is switched off A violation costs between 100 euros and 200 euros, results in two penalty points and a driving ban of one month.
Road narrowing? Zippers?
If a lane is blocked or closed due to an accident or road works, the cars must zip just before the bottleneck, just like in the Netherlands. Müller: ,,In practice, it is often thought that some motorists push ahead, but the scheme is intended to keep traffic going and to make the journey as smooth as possible.”
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