Even though the total number of traffic accidents on german roads is low, accidents often occur on wet and icy roads. This is the result of a survey by the german federal statistical office. Around 30.000 traffic accidents (7.2% of all accidents) in 2018 can be attributed to slippery roads caused by rain, snow or ice.
Constant rain, poor visibility or icy roads: wet roads can be dangerous for drivers. The ADAC gives some tips on how to reach your destination safely even in bad weather conditions.
Drive with foresight: get off the gas
Hectic and arrogant driving are rarely helpful in road traffic. This is especially true in rain and wet weather: driving too fast or making unnecessary overtaking maneuvers often ends in an accident. The longer braking distance or poor visibility can mean that other road users may no longer be able to react in time. Therefore: reduce your speed, avoid unnecessarily hard braking and signal in time. It also makes sense to have both hands firmly on the steering wheel.
In short: drive with foresight and keep an eye on your surroundings
In heavy rain: turn on the lights
To be seen in time by other road users, you should always drive with your lights on in heavy rain. If the visibility is considerably reduced, which is the case in towns at about 100 meters and in cities at 50 meters, the fog lights may also be switched on. But be careful: in order not to dazzle other drivers, you have to turn off your fog lights when visibility improves.
Pay attention to tire pressure
Tire tread depth and tire pressure should be checked regularly. The lower the tire pressure, the more susceptible the tires are to aquaplaning. The same applies to tread depth: as tread depth decreases, the water repellency of tires on wet roads deteriorates. The law states that the minimum tread depth of tires must not be less than 1.6 millimeters. The ADAC recommends a tread depth of at least four millimeters for winter and all-season tires.
Recognize aquaplaning and react correctly
Wet road and high speeds also increase the risk of aquaplaning. A visible surge of spray or water on the tires of cars in front is a warning signal for aquaplaning, according to the german automobile club (ADAC). Changes in engine speed, a louder noise from the tires, or weakening forces on the steering wheel can also indicate aquaplaning.
When aquaplaning sets in, drivers should neither steer nor brake abruptly. The ADAC's experts recommend: hold the steering wheel with both hands, take your foot off the accelerator and depress the clutch until the tires grip again.
Traffic sign "when wet – when does the sign apply?
There are speed limits that must be observed only when the road is wet. A corresponding traffic sign indicates this. In which conditions the additional sign "in wet" should be used? The federal court of justice (BGH) already ruled on this a few years ago. The road is considered wet when a film of water has formed on it. According to the ADAC, you can recognize this by the fact that the car in front of you forms a plume of water.