Germany boasts more traffic than other European countries. It also boasts some of the highest rates for accidents involving injuries. While many town and city roads have speed limits of 50 kilometers per hour (31 miles per hour), highways are set at 100 kilometers per hour (62 miles per hour). There are few posted speed limits on the Autobahn. Officials suggest drivers stick to a top speed of 130 kilometers per hour (80 miles per hour), but drivers are known to drive much faster. These high rates of speed on the Autobahn lead to a number of accidents every year.
Accident Rates in Germany
In 2012, 3,600 people died in vehicular accidents in Germany and 387 of those fatalities happened on the Autobahn. There were more than 2.4 million accidents in all. Of these accidents, 16,143 were caused by impaired drivers, and more than 13,300 were the result of slippery or icy roads. Accidents leading to serious or minor injuries totaled approximately 384,000.
Comparing Germany’s Accident Rates to Other Countries
Compare this to the United States where there were more than 9.2 million vehicle accidents in 2011. Of these, over 1.9 million were injured, and 21,000 died as a result of their injuries. Distracted driving is a leading cause of motor vehicle accidents in the United States. According to the CDC, one in five crashes are caused by distracted drivers.
In Great Britain, there were over 195,000 accidents in 2012. Of those accidents, 1,754 led to fatalities, 23,039 received serious injuries, and 194,784 received minor injuries. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents states that approximately 400 of those deaths were related to high speeds.
Italy is another country where road accidents occur regularly. With 184,500 road accidents, the number of deaths totaled 3,650. France and Poland also saw more than 3,900 deaths caused by vehicle accidents.
German Road Laws
When driving in Germany, the best way to avoid an accident is by making sure you know the rules of the road.
You cannot drive a vehicle in Germany with a blood alcohol level of 0.03 or higher. Illegal and prescription drugs also count towards impaired driving. The authorities may factor what you were drinking and how much you weigh into consideration. If you’re in an accident, authorities can list alcohol as a factor in the accident, even if you are under the limit.
Using seat belts is a rule when you’re driving on German roads. Failure to buckle up in either the front or back seat leads to a hefty fine. Children under 12 are not allowed to ride in the front seat, even if they are buckled in. Again, there are hefty fines for breaking this rule. German Civil Police can require you to pay the fines at the scene; otherwise, your car may be impounded.
If you are in an accident or witness an accident on German roads, immediately stop and pull your car over. You need to place a warning triangle on the roadway (road triangles are mandatory to have in your car) and turn on your emergency flashing lights. Call the police and tend to any injured drivers or passengers. When the police arrive, be prepared to show your identification, registration, and insurance card.
Filbert Meyers is a freelance writer based in Little Rock, Arkansas. Filbert writes on auto mechanics, auto dealerships, the auto industry, rental cars and other relevant topics; those getting ready to obtain a rental car should consider the car rental insurance brand Protect Your Bubble.
Image credit goes to injurylawyersurreybc.