How can the law reduce traffic accidents

Particularly risky: accidents on the autobahn

German autobahns are comparatively safe: statistically, most traffic accidents happen outside of them. In 2015, only around 6.4% of all traffic accidents in Germany happened on the autobahn.

On the one hand, this is due to the homogeneous traffic: Neither mopeds, bicycles, agricultural vehicles nor pedestrians are allowed on the motorway. This is why certain risk groups cannot be involved in an accident in the first place. On the other hand, the demarcated oncoming traffic prevents accidents from head-on collisions.

Accidents on the motorway are comparatively rare. Due to of high speeds but they are often associated with devastating consequences for those involved. Especially when the safety distance to the vehicle in front is not maintained. Especially those Ends of a traffic jam involve a high risk. Motorway accidents occur here particularly often because motorists are inattentive and drive up too close.

Rules of conduct for those involved in an accident on the motorway

If you are involved in a traffic accident on the motorway, keep calm. Because hectic rush can lead to mistakes which, in the worst case, can have fatal consequences for you and others involved. You should therefore stick to a fixed procedure after an accident on the motorway in order to minimize the risk. That can save lives.

What to do after a motorway accident at a glance

  • Turn on the hazard lights and put on a safety vest
  • Rescue from the danger zone
  • Secure the scene of the accident
  • In the event of personal injury: dial the emergency number and provide first aid
  • Exchange data with those involved in the accident
  • Document the course of the accident

Turn on the hazard lights and put on a safety vest

If your car breaks down on the motorway due to a breakdown or an accident, it is essential that you make the following traffic aware of this. Because every broken-down vehicle is a danger to the traffic behind you.

Therefore switch on the immediately after the accident Hazard warning lights a. If it is still possible for you, take your car onto the hard shoulder on the right. In this way you can get yourself to safety and do not hinder the flow of traffic.

You and your passengers should wear reflective vests when leaving the vehicle. These have been mandatory for the driver since 2014. Make sure your safety vests are in the interior of the car and not in the trunk. Then you don't have to leave the vehicle without a safety vest.

Rescue from the danger zone

It is not always possible to get the car onto the right hard shoulder in time. In many accident situations it comes to a stop in the middle of the road, in the worst case in the overtaking lane. Rescue yourself from the danger zone as soon as possible. Please stay never sit in the vehicle under any circumstances, as it can lead to secondary accidents. Watch the traffic and get out of the vehicle at an appropriate moment. And always on the side facing away from traffic.

If you as the driver have to leave your car on the hard shoulder on the right, you have to get out of the passenger's door. If you got stuck in the fast lane of a multi-lane motorway, you may need to exit the vehicle towards the central reservation. In this case, all passengers get out on the driver's side. Under no circumstances should you try to cross the road. Wait for the breakdown assistance or the emergency services. Stay behind the guardrail the entire time.

Secure the scene of the accident

After you have escaped from the danger area, you must have the to secure the scene of an accident. Only in this way can the following drivers react to the dangerous situation. Take this for that Warning triangle from the trunk. Depending on the location and situation, set it up on the motorway at a distance of between 150 and 400 meters from the accident site. 150 meters correspond to 3 boundary posts.

In the event of accidents with personal injury, choose a greater distance. When setting up the warning triangle, hold it visibly in front of your body and move as far away from the edge of the road as possible. Walk behind the guardrail the entire time. Even if there were injuries in an accident, secure the scene of the accident first. In this way you protect yourself and the traffic behind you from further accidents.

Dial the emergency number (112)

If at least one person is injured or if there are large vehicle parts on the road, you must use the Dial emergency call. Give the emergency services all the necessary details. In particular, inform the emergency services about Personal injury exactly about the injuries suffered by those involved in the accident. Use the W questions as a guide:

  • Where did the accident take place?
  • What happened exactly?
  • How many People have been injured?
  • Which Injuries exist and How heavy are these?

You do not have to call the emergency services for every accident. If it is only a case of sheet metal damage, the deployment of rescue workers is not required. Prerequisite: All those involved in the accident agree to this.

Provide first aid

After you have called the emergency services, you provide first aid to the accident victims. In Germany you are legally obliged to do so. Not in every situation, however. If you would endanger your own life with the first aid measures, you can do without it.

In the event of a truck accident involving dangerous goods, you should always keep a distance of at least 60 meters from the scene of the accident. Only trained emergency services are allowed to work in such situations.

Exchange data with those involved in the accident

The police don't take your personal details? Then make sure that the People involved in the accident exchange their data. This is the only way to assert claims to the car insurance later.

If someone involved refuses to surrender his or her personal details, inform the police.

Document the course of the accident

You should also document the course of the accident in the accident report: either with photos or with a Accident sketch. These documents will later serve as evidence and help to reconstruct the course of the accident. This makes it possible to determine who is to blame for the accident.

Rules of conduct for road users on the motorway

The traffic behind must also ensure that their own driving behavior does not cause any further accidents. He must also enable the rescue workers to reach the scene of the accident.

What to do in front of you after a motorway accident

  • Reduce speed
  • Turn on the hazard warning lights
  • Drive with foresight
  • Form a rescue lane

Adapt your own driving behavior

If you notice an accident on the motorway, slow down and shift your gears Hazard warning lights a. This will make the following traffic aware of the danger. Drive with foresight and adapt to the changed driving conditions. When traffic is slow, the probability of a rear-end collision on the motorway increases.

Do not stop at the scene of the accident, but get out of it quickly using the zip fastener. Under no circumstances should you photograph or film the accident. Because that also delays it drive on quickly. Be sure to stay in your vehicle.

Form a rescue alley

The emergency services can only take care of the injured if they are quickly at the scene of the accident. Hence the Form a rescue alley top priority on the motorway. In an emergency, minutes can mean the difference between life and death. However, many people do not know how to form an escape alley. Especially on motorways with more than 2 lanes.

A rescue lane is always formed between the lane furthest to the left and the lane to the right of it. Basically, all drivers in the fast lane drive their vehicle to the left edge. The drivers of all other lanes drive as far to the right as possible. Regardless of whether the emergency lane is formed for 2, 3 or 4 lanes.

Due to a change in the law, many road users do not know how an emergency lane is formed on a four-lane motorway: Until 2017, the emergency lane on a four-lane motorway was formed in the middle of the 4 lanes. You had to avoid two lanes to the left and two lanes to the right. However, this regulation no longer applies since 2017. Now drive to the right on all 3 right-hand lanes. Only on the left do you dodge to the left.


Accidents on the motorway are a significant risk. On the one hand, you can increase your own safety through the correct behavior of those involved in the accident. On the other hand, you reduce the risk of consequential accidents and thus for the following traffic.

This can also reduce the risk even through appropriate driving behavior. A rescue corridor contributes significantly to this and saves lives in an emergency.

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