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Family of four dies in double autobahn crash

The Local · 30 Oct 2012, 14:01

Published: 29 Oct 2012 14:05 GMT+01:00
Updated: 30 Oct 2012 14:01 GMT+01:00

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The 47-year-old man, his 46-year-old wife and their eight-year-old twin daughters, were killed instantly in the collision, which was so powerful it smashed their car into two.

They had got out of their car after it and another had collided on the A5 motorway. That first crash seems to have left them and the driver of the other car unhurt – but as they were standing on the road waiting for help, another car hit them.

The family of four was instantly killed, police said, and the driver of the third car was left severely injured. The driver of the second car remained unhurt.

Police were on Monday searching for a lorry driver who appeared briefly on the scene. It remains unclear whether he was involved in the accident or arrived shortly afterwards, and police are appealing for any witnesses to come forward.

The autobahn was completely closed off for several hours in the early hours of Monday.

Story continues below…

DAPD/The Local/pmw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

15:15 October 29, 2012 by lucksi
Do not stand on the road, especially not on an autobahn.

Darwin in action. Sucks for the kids, unlike the adults who should have known better.
16:29 October 29, 2012 by bwjijsdtd
Way to go MOM & DAD ... idiots ...
17:46 October 29, 2012 by laurencelewis
How about putting speed limits in place? While they probably wouldn't have helped this family there is a ridiculous culture in Germany of driving obscenely fast for the sake of it. I've been in cars with people driving recklessly at 220kph. Its not surprising the country has a bad record for road safety.

Incidentally, both commenters above are likely the kind of people I am talking about. How can you blame the parents without even knowing how the accident happened? The article is hardly descriptive. Also, kindly don't misuse Darwin in some bad-taste insult.
18:47 October 29, 2012 by marimay
Always stay far off the road and away from the vehicles. I wonder if they bothered to pull their vehicles off to the side of the road at all. A lot of people just leave them. Stupid.
20:22 October 29, 2012 by jmclewis
@ laurencelewis

Germany has one of the safest road ways in the world. Just because one is driving fast does not necessary makes it reckless with a lack of control. I guess you like a nanny state dictating your every move with health and safety. I bet you leave the house every day in a high visibility vest, complete with a helmet and safety glasses. Perhaps life is just to dangerous for you it would better to stay home.
21:18 October 29, 2012 by joysonabraham
Some of these comments show recklessness at its best. To these people accidents always happen to others. How do you know when did the third one hit, 2/3 sec/mnts after they got out of the smashed car?

Especially when parents are with kids in an unforeseen situation you cannot expect them to think like you guys do siting on an easy chair and proclaiming bs. They cannot just vanish from the scene in a few minutes. RIP

Just think about the other guy who had to see all this.
21:40 October 29, 2012 by Ruaridh13
@lucksi & @bwjijsdtd

Blaming the parents for standing on the side of the road with their kids?...

The collision " was so powerful it smashed their car into two." So I'm pretty sure the kids would have been killed, or severely injured if they had stayed in the car
21:48 October 29, 2012 by zeddriver

I think I'm safe in saying that the above comments about being AWAY from the car are valid points. You should always stand on the forest or grassy side of the armco barrier. In other words. Put the barrier between you and the traffic. Do not stand next to your car.
21:52 October 29, 2012 by laurencelewis

You sir are a case in point.
09:25 October 30, 2012 by LancashireLad

My wife once said "Britain has a macho drinking culture like Germany has a macho driving culture". She wasn't wrong.

How can you consider it safe when someone is so close behind you that you can't see their headlights ... at any speed, let alone the 200Kmh that has happened to me? Please answer me that, JCMlewis.

The Inuit have multiple tens of words to describe snow. German even has a word for someone driving the wrong way down a road, it happens that often, and also a derogatory word for someone trying to make you aware that you are driving like a psychopath.

It's got nothing to do with a nanny state and everything to do with lack of thought and respect for others, which is what you get from a culture that thinks "I am going to do it, even if I know I'm not supposed to".
10:03 October 30, 2012 by JDee
well said LancLad! I agree totally, it's a cultural problem. There seems to be ignorance about stopping distances. If there is a stationary car on the autobahn and someone hits it then it is the fault of the driver, not the family standing on the road. The driver should always allow sufficient distance to observe what is in front and make an emergency stop if required.. and according to the conditions.


This could be up to 1/3 km in poor light and wet conditions, as much as 1/2km at the outrageous speeds some people drive in Germany. Germans drive in packs, tailgating and in the outer lanes there is always pressure to keep going and not brake when other drivers are sat behing you. They did a lot of research into tail-gating in Israel and found it was the cause of 90% of road fatailties., They have also developed tail gating cameras. They should use them here and ban anyone that does it. Although it is not stated the most likely cause of the original accident which put the family on the road was tailgating,
11:15 October 30, 2012 by delvek
wow, amazed at the comments.

1. How can anyone talk so badly about this loss of life calling them idiots without knowing the details. Shame.

2. What moron spoke of the poor safety record on the autobahn or the "incredible" speeds. Have you ever been to Germany? I have lived here for over 10 years and still am amazed at the virtual accident free roadways I have had the privelage of driving on at over 200 kmh.

3. Have you ever been to Israel JDee. I seriously doubt speeding is the cause of any deaths. Tailgating in its congested urban roadways seem more probable.

Some of these comments are just about as dumb as can be, truly, they must be made to provoke responses as I normally never comment but felt the urge to do so here.
11:24 October 30, 2012 by raandy
That's a terrible result,

The auto bahn is a fast paced dangerous place to be. I never like driving on it and usually let my wife drive, she loves it.

The comments about getting behind the barrier off the asphalt is good sound advice. You should wear your bright required vest if possible.
11:52 October 30, 2012 by LancashireLad

To your first point, the article does say "as they were standing on the road waiting for help", which would indicate they were not behind the barrier or in the process of getting behind it. This could, of course, be a reporting inaccuracy.

I will not speculate what kind of driving caused the original accident (not reported), or if the drivers of the two vehicles were too preoccupied "discussing" the accident to notice that they were standing in danger.

I agree that there is too little information reported to make any comments there.

As to your second comment, might I ask from where you originate? If you consider the aggressive driving styles frequently witnessed on German roads, particularly motorways, to be safe, then I would not want to drive in your country of birth. How often does the traffic news report accidents, lane closures due to accidents or due to clearing up operations?
12:21 October 30, 2012 by JDee
3. Have you ever been to Israel JDee. I seriously doubt speeding is the cause of any deaths. Tailgating in its congested urban roadways seem more probable.

that's what I said isn't it? I don't think driving at high speed it very clever, but the main danger is driving too close, whether it is urban or at high speed on the motorway. I would rather they do something about tailgating than change the limit, or though I would be quite happy with a 120 limit personally I realise that is going to be difficult to get through in Germany.
15:11 October 30, 2012 by laurencelewis

I'm the moron who said that autobahn isn't safe - the fact that me making that claim induces you to call me a moron highlights how polarising this issue is in Germany (and also that you are probably one of the perpetrators). And yes I have been to Germany, in fact I live here. I'm also from the country with nearly the lowest number of road deaths per capita in Europe. Considering the high quality of Germany's autobahns there are actually quite a large number of deaths reported, and I would imagine this is largely due to the the culture of 'faster is better' some Germans seem to think is acceptable. This includes rushing right up behind people in the fast lane at 200 kpm and forcing them to move over through intimidation. It's all acceleration and breaking and its juvenile. Just because Germany isn't the worst in Europe doesn't mean it's not worth making changes to try and save lives.
16:00 October 30, 2012 by delvek
Dont be a knob and stay out of the left lane if your not PASSING. Most accidents are caused by haters swinging out to the left lane to make others driving fast slow down abruptly.

Perpetrator??? Geez a bit militant are we? I didnt realize driving 240kmh in an unrestricted zone constituted the label perpetrator.

The autobahn is a wonderful place only ruined by crumudgeons and other hateful people. If you dont like to drive fast then DONT, I dont care ... just stay in the left lane and stop bloviating about how much of a perpetrator anyone who doesnt do like you may be.

Lastly, I have lived in the Frankfurt area for 10 years and remain amazed at how few accidents I see (or police). I come from New York City, born and raised.
16:41 October 30, 2012 by LancashireLad
So what you are staying is that I am NOT ALLOWED to overtake if I am not prepared to drive at formula one speeds?

Most accidents are caused by people refusing to slow down when people overtake in a perfectly law-abiding way and then mis-judging the distance between them and the car in front. I am talking about those people who have at least 10 seconds to slow down in a controlled manner but refuse to . I am not talking about having to take sudden evasive action. That is something else.
16:47 October 30, 2012 by laurencelewis
@ delvek

Why are you writing like a 15 year old?

In my experience there are a lot of people to pass, and even when using the fast lane for doing just that it isn't long before someone is right behind you regardless of whether or not you are able to move back in to let them pass.

Perpetrator is a word which means you committed an act, not necessarily a crime, although I understand that is its common usage in the US. I'll try and use more diminutive words from now on. Also, are you indirectly bragging about driving at 240 kph? The autobahn is a road, for getting from one place to another, not a racetrack. I guess you mean you want me to stay in the right lanes, to leave the rest of the racetrack to you.

I realise in the US it is practically a crime to be socially minded but come on, all I am doing is considering how other people on the road want to drive. How is that so bad? Put forward a single good argument for having unrestricted speed zones, other than it is fun to drive fast.
16:55 October 30, 2012 by marimay
I have to laugh at the people complaining about fast drivers in unrestricted areas of the autobahn. Driving fast is perfectly legal. It is always a problem however, when spiteful people in their slow family cars, women in short hair cuts and glasses (lol), pull out into the left lane just to slow the fast driver down. I have seen it a million times. If you want to pass blame on to the fast driver in that particular situation you are insane as they are driving in a perfectly legal way. It is those slow drivers who have no sense of distance and speed that probably don't belong behind the wheel of a vehicle in the first place. Especially if they do this out of spite, that's just evil.

Also, i have noticed on a lot of autobahns, blind curves in the road. I hate those, you cant see what is beyond them, so if an accident did happen you wouldnt know til you were right on it.

@lancasterlad - you dont have to go F1 speeds but at least turn the cruise control off and speed up a little, it wont kill you. LOL
17:09 October 30, 2012 by LancashireLad

It has killed in the past.

There was a famous case of a Mercedes driver (worked for Mercedes - was taking a car from one Mercedes plant to another) who killed a mother and child because he basically thought like you. He scared her off the road and she crashed into a tree. The worrying thing is that there were two such drivers on the roads and they both faked their driving records when they heard about the death as neither of them knew which of them it was.

People who want to drive fast have no right to push people who are driving more slowly. Period. That does kill.

Deliberately ignoring the fact that there are other people on the road who wish to drive more slowly - that kills.

Automatically assuming that people in front of you are deliberately trying to slow you down - that kills.
17:26 October 30, 2012 by marimay
No sense in arguing because one can easily turn your fill in the blank arguments around to suit their own viewpoint.

Also, do not assume one assumes. I am not an antagonistic driver.
17:37 October 30, 2012 by laurencelewis
@marimay also

"Also, i have noticed on a lot of autobahns, blind curves in the road. I hate those, you cant see what is beyond them, so if an accident did happen you wouldn't know till you were right on it."

Think about what you are writing here! If you choose to drive blindly around a corner at speeds that don't allow you to stop in time then that is your own fault. Blaming the road won't protect you as you splatter all over your own windscreen. A commenter above crassly says that the family getting killed by the side of the road was "Darwin in action", well your inability to react to road conditions would be a more apt case of that, especially when the cause is your own arrogance.
18:30 October 30, 2012 by marimay
You are assuming I drive fast on those roads. So, you have written a lengthy post based on your own imagination of how I drive. Silly.
21:18 October 30, 2012 by jamboree
Generally insurers and courts attribute responsibility to anyone doing over 130kph as this is the recommended speed.

Driving into an accident is about the clearest case of apportioning responsibility to oneself. The devastation caused in this case led police to initially hypothesize that the damage was caused by a full-sized truck.
09:33 October 31, 2012 by LancashireLad

When you make comments like:

"@lancasterlad - you dont have to go F1 speeds but at least turn the cruise control off and speed up a little, it wont kill you. LOL "


" It is always a problem however, when spiteful people in their slow family cars, women in short hair cuts and glasses (lol), pull out into the left lane just to slow the fast driver down."

to point out just a couple, don't be surprised if people assume you are unfeeling, antagonistic driver.

And what do you mean by "fill in the blank arguments"?
13:09 October 31, 2012 by bwjijsdtd
laurencelewis: Thank you for your comments, but maybe it is you that needs to REREAD the article ... first of all there was a crash ... the first car that hit after the crash did not kill them, even while they were standing in the road ... the second car came along and did the damage as they were still in the road ... with two children mind you ... and killed everyone ...

As a former accident investigator from the USA, now retired, I take exception to your comments about driving 220kph ... that is so typical British ... shooting your mouth off with out knowing anything ... I for one, except on official police business have never driven over 180kph ... even then I get a little worried because you never know what the guy next to you is going to do ...

Grown up son, you might live to a ripe old age ...
14:30 October 31, 2012 by LancashireLad

Your post is very confusing.

1. I would contest that it is you who needs to reread the article. By saying "the first car that hit after the crash" you are implying that there were multiple collisions after the initial collision. This is incorrect. There was an initial collision between two cars in which all parties survived. There was then a second collision, involving a third car, which proved fatal. From somebody who claims to be a former crash investigator I find this worrying.

2. What precisely about laurencelewis' comments regarding 220kph are you taking exception to? I take exception to your blanket comment about the British which is unfounded.

The only part of your comment with which I agree is not knowing what the guy next to you is going to do. This especially prevalent in Germany with the cultural preference for "focussed" behaviour which blinds you to those around you. Yes, people do drive like that here.
16:30 October 31, 2012 by laurencelewis

You wrote: "It is always a problem however, when spiteful people in their slow family cars, women in short hair cuts and glasses (lol), pull out into the left lane just to slow the fast driver down."

LancashireLad then said: "Automatically assuming that people in front of you are deliberately trying to slow you down - that kills."

You replied: "Also, do not assume one assumes. I am not an antagonistic driver."

You are just contradicting yourself.


Firstly, your interpretation of the article is wrong. An initial crash took them off the road. They were then killed by a second car colliding with them.

Secondly, your interpretation of what I wrote was also wrong. Please read my comments so far. Nothing I have written advocates driving like an idiot. I was citing my experience of being in a passenger in a car doing 220 as a bad one.

I'm glad to see that having reached the mighty status of retiree you've picked up some wisdom along the years. And I always though making baseless generalisations about entire nations was crass and unintelligent.


Time to give up, we are speaking with people unable to string together more than a couple of sentences without tying themselves in knots.
22:50 October 31, 2012 by bwjijsdtd
@ Landcashire Lad ...

It seems to me that the first LOGICAL action of a couple with children who have been involved in a motor vehicle accident, would be to get the hell off the roadway so they don't get plastered by some jerk trying to text and drive at the same time .... They did not do this ... everyone stayed in the roadway ... SPLAT .... four human beings wiped out in less than a heart beat ...

Sorry if my comments about the British offended anyone, but seeing how it was about the British, who gives a damn ... 90% of the British I have met walk and talk like their underwear is too tight ... damn people .... lighten up ... smile ... it won't crack you face ... if the shoe fits ... wear it ...

Getting back to the accident ... if you take the time to do some research, you will most likely find that the inocent die and the guillty survive ... I wass an accident investigator for the Spring Lake and Kinston Police Departments in the State of North Carolina ... I was also a Private Investigator for a law firm in Texas ... I have seen more dead people splattered up and down the highway than I care to ... all because people just do not think it will ever happen to them ...

The next ttime you are tempted to show how fast your car will go ... just remember this ... at 100 kph you have approximately 4 square cm of rubber touching the roadway for each tire ... and your vehicle weighs half as much as it did standing still.
10:38 November 1, 2012 by 140k
I have a challenge for everyone that thinks the aggressive driving on the autobahn is reasonable. Slow down for a week! Spend a week driving at 120 or 140kph like most drivers. See how much different the experience is.

I have driven fast cars and slow cars, short commutes and long commutes. Germans are insane, but you deal less with it when you drive fast. The problem is you also burn a lot more gas and feel like a jerk doing it with kids in the car.

If the autobahn is open and you have clear visibility, do what you want. If there is congestion or you are on a two lane stretch with Lorrys as far as the eye can see in the right lane, you are an ass to drive any faster than 160. The Lorrys drive at about 90kph, it is reasonable to expect people driving 120 or 140kph popping out. Don¦#39;t be a douche bag and get upset about it.

I work with a**holes that have totaled their supercars and almost killed people. They then blame some farmer that lives in a little dorf for daring to use the autobahn. Selfish, inconsiderate douche bags. Go to a race track.
17:05 November 1, 2012 by laurencelewis

"Sorry if my comments about the British offended anyone, but seeing how it was about the British, who gives a damn ... 90% of the British I have met walk and talk like their underwear is too tight ... damn people .... lighten up ... smile ... it won't crack you face ... if the shoe fits ... wear it ..."

You are an idiot. I don't mean that as an insult and I apologise if you take it as one, but it is a statement of fact. Should the reality of your diminished intellectual and personal capabilities upset you then maybe I have done you a service. In bringing to your attention your idiocy you are afforded an opportunity to correct it, although I doubt you will.

Wise up old man, and you might live out the rest of your years in dignity.
14:11 November 2, 2012 by LancashireLad

"Sorry if my comments about the British offended anyone, but seeing how it was about the British, who gives a damn ... 90% of the British I have met walk and talk like their underwear is too tight ... damn people .... lighten up ... smile ... it won't crack you face ... if the shoe fits ... wear it ..."

So basically, because somebody disagrees with you, you insult them.

You seem basically unable to read the simplest of information put infront of you. Firstly you inaccurately read the account of the accident, and now are trying to claim I am one of the irresponsible fast drivers ("The next ttime you are tempted to show how fast your car will go") when if you had bothered to read what I had written you would see that I am also against the racers.

Next time somebody disagrees with you please have the adult frame of mind to respond with reasoned arguments not insults, and certainly please respond to the facts as written, not whatever version you wish to put forward.
16:52 November 3, 2012 by George Palmer
As a retired police officer I fail to see how anyone who knows nothing about the collision can comment. Get a life because innocents have been lost and they don't have a voice.
17:10 November 3, 2012 by supine
Just to set the facts straight...


The crash had only just happened, the father had instructed the wife and kids to move off the road while he went to get the safety triangle, and then the 3rd car hit. It was an 80km/h zone but there was enough force to tear their car in two so it's not hard to imagine there was some speeding involved, which is doubly unbelievable given it was at night and snowing.

It's true that Germans don't have as many accidents but when they do, man do they do a proper job. Having just driven 6 hours from Fehmarn to Frankfurt in driving rain and gusty wind the number of nutters tail-gating and speeding in restricted areas was astounding.
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