Leaves, storm damage, fog: tips for driving in autumn
Even if summer still lives on in our memories and autumn still has a few nice days in store for us: this time has its pitfalls – especially for drivers. The leaves, which are often lying on the streets, combine with moisture to form a slippery layer of soap. That is why the lead foot on the accelerator is taboo as early as autumn. Because if you have to brake hard on damp autumn leaves, you will quickly end up in the ditch or in the vehicle in front. the ARAG experts raten therefore urgently to keep the safety distance as large as possible in autumn and to drive with foresight.
Another of the autumn dangers is storm damage, for example when broken branches fall on parked cars or falling tree fruits, such as chestnuts, cause unsightly dents in the sheet metal. The municipality pays for damage caused by branches of trees on public roads. However, only if the tree in question has not been tended.
Municipalities are obliged to check trees for their health twice a year. If the branch falls from a sick tree, the tree owner has disregarded his so-called traffic safety obligation and has to pay. Damage caused by healthy, broken branches, on the other hand, is part of the “natural risk to life” and is not accepted. This also applies to damage caused by tree fruits of all kinds. The municipalities are neither obliged to put up warning signs nor to pay for damage caused by falling chestnuts or acorns.
When the days get darker in autumn, the deer discover love for one another. This may be nice for the animals, but it has major disadvantages for drivers, as it leads to increased deer crossings. And that can be a great danger in poor visibility.
If an animal appears on the roadside, drivers should expect more and be accordingly careful. In concrete terms, this means: brake, if necessary horn and switch off the high beam. However, if an accident does occur, it is best to contact the police immediately, who in turn will inform the responsible forester. If the injured animal has fled, the road user should get a so-called wildlife certificate from the police officers to present to the insurance company.
In the case of fully comprehensive insurance, this usually covers the entire damage. According to the ARAG experts, damage that the policyholder suffers as a result of a collision with wild animals (e.g. deer, roe deer, etc.) is also insured with partial comprehensive insurance.
The OLG Koblenz has even decided that the damage may also have to be reimbursed through the partial comprehensive insurance if there was no collision with a wild game. It is crucial that the driver wanted to avoid the animal (OLG Koblenz, Az .: 10 U 1415/05). In the case of smaller animals such as rabbits, however, according to a decision by the Federal Court of Justice, there is no obligation to pay partial coverage. Since the damage is only minor if such an animal is run over, this should not be avoided from an insurance point of view (BGH, Az .: IV ZR 321/95).
“The pale mist strides ghostly through the hallway, and envelops slumbering nature in its shadows.” Unfortunately, the part of the atmosphere in which water droplets are finely distributed is not always as romantic as in the poem. The ARAG experts therefore remind you of some important tips that make life easier for drivers in fog.
The top priority is to correctly estimate the visibility. The delineator posts on the roadside serve as a guide. They are 50 meters apart. The lane markings are 18 meters apart in the middle on motorways and 12 meters on country roads. The right decisions can then be made on this basis.
Slow down! If the view is only 50 meters, the law stipulates that the maximum speed limit is 50 km / h.
Keep a safe distance! Too little safety distance at too high a speed is the main cause of accidents when visibility is poor.
Switch off the high beam! In thick fog and snow, the white high beam is counterproductive as it is reflected and can dazzle both the driver and oncoming traffic.
Low beam and fog lights! Contrary to what the name suggests, fog lights may not only be switched on in fog, but generally when visibility is poor. So even in heavy rain or snowfall. In addition, the low beam must always be active.
Rear fog lights! Only switch on when visibility is less than 50 meters! The rear fog light warns the following traffic with a very bright red light. Incidentally, if the rear fog light is used unnecessarily, a fine will be payable. The maximum speed with the rear fog light switched on is 50 km / h.
Full concentration! Long journeys in fog require increased attention. Drivers should therefore take more breaks and park in motorway parking lots with the lights on so that others can see the car in the fog.
Make sure you have a clear view! Before every journey, it should be ensured that the windows are cleaned and the windscreen wipers are working.
Slowly but surely to the goal. If visibility is less than 50 meters, according to ARAG experts, it may be advisable to drive to the next rest area or parking lot and wait for the fog to clear a little. This applies in any case to the transport of dangerous goods, but also to other trucks or when there is a particularly high volume of traffic.