• Germany's news in English

Icy roads cause widespread traffic chaos

The Local · 16 Jan 2013, 14:30

Published: 16 Jan 2013 14:30 GMT+01:00

A 21-year-old woman was killed early on Wednesday morning when her car hit black ice, left the road and hit a tree on a main road in Hankensbüttel in Lower Saxony, said police. Another 21-year-old man was killed nearby on Tuesday when his car skidded into a snow plough in Marienberg near the Czech border.

Meanwhile, countless smaller accidents in Baden-Württemberg, North Rhine-Westphalia, Hesse und Rhineland-Palatinate led to several motorways being completely shut resulting in long traffic jams lasting into Wednesday afternoon.

In the west, the A4 and A3 motorways were completely closed on Wednesday after lorries skidded on ice or got stuck in snow. The whole of North Rhine Westphalia seemed clogged with traffic jams in the morning, WDR Online said. At one point traffic jams stretched a total of 400 kilometres across all roads in the state.

Police estimated more than 100 accidents occurred on roads in Baden-Württemberg on Wednesday morning - after heavy snowfall overnight - while there were two dozen accidents in north Hesse and 18 in western Palatinate over the same period. Most of these resulted in only slight injuries and superficial vehicle damage.

In more serious incidents a 46-year-old and his passenger were badly injured near Wiesbaden when their car skidded across the carriageway into oncoming traffic.

And elsewhere in western Palatinate an 18-year-old driver was badly hurt when his car slid off the road onto a railway line and hit a tree. Luckily the approaching train was able to brake in time to avoid hitting the car.

Generally, trains withstood the icy weather much better than cars, but with more ice and snow on the way, the railways may not be out of the woods yet.

Head of Deutsche Bahn Rüdiger Grube repeated last autumn's warnings of train cancellations and delays in cold weather on Wednesday.

"We haven't got through it yet," Grube told the regional Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung newspaper. If the whole country is covered in snow and ice for days on end - as looks the case for the next week - travellers should expect "some cancellations," said Grube, due to Deutsche Bahn's shortage of reserve trains.

Click here for The Local's weather forecast

Story continues below…

Winter's comeback is showing no sign of letting up, said the DWD weather service, with the current low-pressure system sticking around to keep the whole country at subzero temperatures at least until the weekend.

More heavy snowfall is expected for the centre, east and south-east of Germany over the next few days, with especially heavy falls in the mountains. Meanwhile, in the north and north-west of the country the snow will ease off, said DWD, but clear skies will cause temperatures to drop to as low as minus 15 at night.

DAPD/The Local/jlb

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Train evacuated as passenger flips out during ticket check
Police at the scene in Leipzig. Photo: DPA

A regional train was evacuated in Leipzig on Wednesday after a passenger became aggressive during a ticket inspection.

Man arrested in Wuppertal as part of Spanish Isis raids
Police detain the suspect in Wuppertal. Photo: DPA

Police have arrested five suspected members of an Isis cell in Spain, Belgium and Germany that spread propaganda for the group online, the Spanish interior ministry said Wednesday.

Germans cut home energy usage by six percent in a year
Hamburg at night. Photo: DPA

The Energiewende is the German government's ambitious policy of drastically reducing carbon emissions. New figures show one remarkable success.

Merkel party MP under fire for using Nazi propaganda term
Bettina Kudla. Photo: Büro Bettina Kudla MdB/DPA.

A member of Angela Merkel's conservative CDU party is in hot water after tweeting over the weekend a Nazi propaganda term in her criticism of the country’s refugee policies.

Govt denies planning bailout for troubled Deutsche Bank
Photo: DPA

Germany's finance ministry on Wednesday said the government was "not preparing rescue plans" for Deutsche Bank, denying a newspaper report that state aid was being considered for the embattled lender.

Munich at high risk of housing bubble: report
A view of Munich. Photo: Pexels.com

Considering buying property in Munich? This report might make you think twice.

After fatal hail storm, south Germany set to see sun
The hail storm in Baden-Württemberg on Monday night left the streets looking like a winter landscape. Photo: DPA.

A hail storm in southwest Germany on Monday night led to the death of one woman, but forecasters predict a bit more sun in the days to come.

Police shoot dead father who attacked daughter's abuser
Police at the scene of the shooting in Berlin. Photo: DPA.

Berlin police on Tuesday night shot and killed the father of a young girl at a refugee home as he tried to attack a man who allegedly sexually abused his daughter.

TV celebrity criticized for claiming 70 kg is overweight
Sophie Thomalla. Photo: DPA

Model Sophie Thomalla claimed that promoting models who weigh over 70 kg sets as dangerous an example as skinny supermodels.

UK files show how Spanish spy tricked Nazis over D-Day
Photo: DPA

Secret files released in Britain Wednesday shed new light on how a Spaniard dubbed the greatest double agent of World War II tricked Germany with false intelligence about the D-Day Normandy landings.

Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
Seven great reasons to stay in Germany this September
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
Germany's 17 Olympic gold medals in pictures
14 facts you never knew about the Brandenburg Gate
Ten times Germans proved they really, really love beer
Six things you need to know when moving to Germany
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
German scientists prove birds can sleep while flying
London v. Berlin: Which is better for startups?
13 mortifying mistakes German learners always make
Enter if you dare: Berlin's best abandoned haunts
10 rookie errors all Brits make when they arrive in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd