1 November 2014 SFC THOMAS
PMCS • Safety Issues • Right-of-way • Misc Fines • Accidents
PMCS • You should always PMCS your POV and you must PMCS your TMP before traveling. Key items to check are: • Spare Tire – not only should you know where your spare tire is located, you should ensure that it is properly inflated. • Jack – know where it is located, and how to properly use it. • Warning Triangle – same as above. 100m behind vehicle (200m on autobahn) • First Aid Kit – know where it is, and ensure that it has not expired. • Oil level – check it regularly. • Fuel – do you have enough fuel to get you there and back? For POVs, you should carry fuel coupons with you. For TMPs, you should have a fuel key, or have fuel coupons that you get from your unit. • Tire pressure – ensure your tires are properly inflated. • Ensure your lights (high and low beam) are working. • Ensure your turn signals and warning signals are working properly. • The list goes on. Use common sense. Triangles and first-aid kits should be carried in the passenger section, not in the trunk of the vehicle. Failure to carry warning triangles or first-aid kits is grounds for withdrawal of U.S. Forces registration privileges.
Speed Limits Minimum Maximum Recommended
Speed Limits (POV) • 2 types of speed limits in Germany • Posted – Always obey posted speed limits. • Unposted • Cities, Towns, Villages • Unposted – 50 kmh • Roads Outside City Limits • Secondary Roads – 100 kmh • Autobahns – unlimited* • Minimum speed limit • Autobahns – 60 kmh • Maximum speed limits – as posted, or weather/road conditions permitting • Remember -- The faster you are traveling, • the longer it will take you to slow down or stop. • the harder it is to round a curve or change direction to avoid a collision. • the more reaction time you will need. • the more severe an accident will be if one occurs.
Speed Limits (TMP) TMPs will obey all rules from the previous slide except: Drivers should also be aware that the Autobahn speed limit for NTVs (sedans, panel and passenger vans) has been increased from 65 miles per hour (105 kilometers per hour) to 74 MPH (120 KPM). Driving an NTV faster than 120 KPH on Autobahn stretches where the speed limit is greater or unrestricted is not authorized and violates official U.S. Army Europe and Installation Management Agency-Europe policy. The speed limit applies to all NTVs including Interagency Fleet Management System owned, remnant (Army owned) and commercially leased vehicles. Units and activities authorized and assigned NTVs are required by regulation to affix the appropriate maximum speed limit decal on each NTV. It should be place on the inside, lower, right-hand corner of the windshield and be visible to those sitting in the front seats of the vehicle. They will be available through local Transportation Motor Pools. (Courtesy of the 104th ASG DOL Transportation Division)
Seat Belts • - POVs, regardless of age, must have serviceable seatbelts installed for the driver and each forward-facing passenger. German law requires that seatbelts for all occupants be fastened while driving. A shoulder belt must cross the shoulder and chest, not the face or neck. A lap belt should be low over the hips, snug, and not twisted. • German law states that children under 12 years old are authorized to sit in the front seat of POVs only when (a) or (b) below applies: • (a) Children in that age group are already occupying the rear seats. • (b) The vehicle does not have a rear seat. • If children sit in the front seat, they must be secured with officially approved safety equipment suitable for them and permitted for use in front seats (equipment approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) or approved in Germany under Economic Commission for Europe Regulation 44-03). • Children seated in the rear seat who are shorter than 150 centimeters (4 feet, 11 inches) or who are 12 years old or younger must be secured by the proper restraint equipment suitable for the child. - Plain and Simple – Use Them. It’s the law on-post and off-post. - This applies not only to the driver, but all passengers. - The driver will get a ticket, not the passenger.
Vision The driver’s vision must be free of obstructions, and windows must be clean at all times. Under German law, drivers may be fined for failure to clean windows of snow or ice. The interior and exterior rearview mirrors also must be clean and properly adjusted for maximum visibility.
Fatigue Driving while fatigued is the cause for many single-car accidents. Individuals taking medication should ensure the medication will not affect their driving ability. During long trips the driver should stop and rest, walk around, or drink coffee or fluids at least every 2 hours. Drivers also should make sure there is enough fresh air circulating inside the car.
Drinking and Driving The primary cause of fatal traffic accidents is alcohol. Drinking and driving in Germany is very dangerous and can be very expensive. Apprehension by the German police can result in loss of driving privileges, fines, and possibly imprisonment, depending on the seriousness of the offense and the level of impairment.
Lights • When driving at night, drivers must drive at speeds that will allow them to stop safely and must know the range of their vehicle’s headlights. • Headlights must be on low beam for oncoming traffic and when following another vehicle. Headlights should not be left on high beam to combat the high beams of oncoming traffic. Instead, lights may be blinked to make the oncoming driver aware that the high-beam headlights are on. • Drivers must be especially alert at dawn and dusk and during bad weather. Low-beam headlights should be used during these times, not necessarily to see, but to be seen by approaching vehicles. Under German law, drivers may not operate vehicles with only the parking lights on. • Foglights (front and rear) may be used only with low-beam headlights when visibility is less than 50 meters. • - Drivers who park in an area that is not lit well enough for the vehicle to be seen (for example, where streetlights do not remain on all night) must use front and rear parking lights. Traffic sign 134 is posted in areas where parking lights are necessary. Drivers of POVs with U.S. specifications should try to avoid parking in these areas because their vehicles are not designed so that the lights can be left on without weakening the battery.
Fog and Smog • - The weather in central Europe may be foggy any time of the year, but most commonly in fall and winter months. Fog and the lack of speed limits on autobahns greatly increase chances for multiple accidents. • In very dense fog, drivers should pull off to the right side of the road or increase the distance between vehicles while using low-beam headlights. • Signs are normally posted in areas where patches of ground fog are common. Drivers should slow their speed considerably in these areas. • In addition to fog, industrial smoke and dust may blow across roads and highways and reduce visibility. This often occurs where roads cross railroad tracks.
Rain - In a heavy downpour, drivers should pull off the road and wait until the rain lets up. Sharp curves, streetcar tracks, and cobblestone streets are particularly slippery when wet. Signs 17 and 49 indicate that the road is dangerous when wet. Wet leaves on roads are hazardous when stopping and making turns.
Snow and Ice • Unexpected patches of thin ice, generally on bridge surfaces, underpasses, and roads through forests, are common driving hazards (sign 135). Drivers should try applying the brakes lightly while traveling slowly to see how the POV reacts on ice. • Drivers who drive across unexpected icy patches should make no sudden change in direction, speed, or braking. The power of the vehicle’s engine, rather than the foot brake, should be used to slow the vehicle on icy or snow packed roads. On downhill, slippery grades, drivers should use a low gear and avoid accelerating or braking. • German law does not require passenger cars to be equipped with snow tires or chains except in certain mountainous areas. These areas are marked with traffic signs (sign 80). At some mountain passes, chains may be rented. The maximum speed while driving a vehicle with chains is 50 kmh (31 mph). • Only snow tires without spikes or studs are allowed in Germany. If only two snow tires are used, they must be mounted on the drive wheels. Four-wheel-drive vehicles must have the snow tires mounted on the rear wheels. Radial snow tires may be used only with regular radial tires. Bias ply snow tires may be used only with regular bias-ply tires.
Curves - Drivers must slow down well in advance of a curve, maintain slower speed in the curve, and accelerate at the end of the curve (signs 5 and 6).
Skidding - To recover from a skid, the driver should steer in the direction the rear of the vehicle is skidding. To avoid skidding, drivers should drive slowly, avoid sudden acceleration or braking, and brake lightly to slow down or stop.
Mountain Roads - Before driving in the mountains, drivers should check the brakes. Normally, traffic signs showing the degree of downgrade are posted (sign 14). Drivers should shift to a low gear before driving downhill. Changing gears while driving downhill may cause the driver to lose control of the vehicle. The emergency brake is important as an additional means of stopping.
Landslides - In mountainous areas, landslides are an ever-present hazard, especially during the spring thaw and after long periods of rainfall. Signs are posted to warn drivers where landslides have occurred or are expected (sign 25).
Motorcycles - Drivers of two-wheeled vehicles must not cut in and out of traffic. The slightest contact with another vehicle may upset their vehicle. Accidents involving two-wheeled vehicles cause almost certain injury or death to the driver and passenger of the two-wheeled vehicle.
Increased HazardsDuring Tourist Season - The period from May until September is the tourist season in Europe. During this time, extra caution, alertness, and patience are required. Autobahn travel is extremely difficult during the start of school vacations, which vary among the German states. Persons planning a trip during the summer should check with a German automobile club to determine when periods of heavy traffic are expected.
Using Mobile TelephonesWhen Driving - German law prohibits the manual use of mobile telephones when operating POVs or riding bicycles. Only “hands-free” telephones that allow the driver to keep his or her hands on the steering wheel and eyes on the road may be used. This prohibition does not apply if the POV is stationary and the motor is switched off.
Right-of-way - When traffic signs are absent, vehicles coming from the right have the right-of-way at intersections, junctions, and traffic circles. This rule applies to motor vehicles, bicycles, and animal-drawn wagons. Excluding the exceptions in subparagraph b below, the right-before- left rule applies at all intersections regardless of the width of the street or the angle of the intersection.
Misc Fines • Motorists who idle their motors while parked or standing still can be fined €10. • Those who drive aimlessly about urban areas can be fined € 20. • Drivers who needlessly block traffic by driving too slowly can be fined € 20. • Those who pass others on the right in urban areas can be fined € 30. • Motorists who litter can be fined from € 10-50; those who dump trash on roadsides, € 40. • Drivers popping clutches and burning rubber in residential neighborhoods risk € 10 fines. • Motorists whose car stereos are audible outside their cars risk € 35 fines, • and repeat offenders can be fined up to € 5,000.
Countermeasure Magazine - Soldier’s Deaths Hostile Fire (9/11/01-Jan 03) 30 - Soldier’s Deaths Vehicle Accidents (9/11/01-Jan 03) 344
Just Call Me Crash - In 1995, Denise Wagoner was involved in a near fatal car crash, the victim of an impaired driver. She had multiple skull fractures, a crunched vertebrae, crushed ribs, and a swollen brain. Every facial bone was broken (except her bottom jaw), her arm was broken, and she lost her sight. Doctors did not expect her to live another 24 hours. Denise survived, later to have extensive surgery seventeen times, seven on her face alone. She is now disfigured and blind, with permanent brain damage. This life changing experience was the result of her own actions. Denise was the impaired driver.
Her face moments after the accident… After the first couple of surgeries After seven surgeries After 15 surgeries Today Her car after the accident… Photos from Drunk Busters of America
Autobahn accident… Questions?