Wrong Way or Ghost Drivers are a big problem on Europe’s motorways. New in-car tech helps individual drivers but only better road-way warnings, or new roads, will solve the problem completely.
The new Austrian vignette goes on sale at the end of the month with prices rising by an average 2.1%. Delays expected on Alpine roads for the next two weekends during the annual cattle drives. Maserati’s Race To Modena reaches Moscow.
NEW EFFORTS TO TACKLE WRONG WAY DRIVING
Geisterfahrer, Spookrijder and Conducteur Fantome haunting Europe’s motorways.
Wrong way driving is a serious problem in places on the Continent.
Rather than errant British drivers, overwhelmingly the issue is caused by mad, suicidal, dotty or drunk locals.
It is such an established phenomenon there are actually phrases for it: Geisterfahrer in German, Spookrijder in Dutch and Conducteur Fantome in French (all translating as Ghost Driver).
There are around 400 incidents each year in Belgium, for instance, and over 2,000 in Germany, more than seven a day. Ghost driver warnings are almost routine during radio traffic bulletins.
In serious cases the consequences can be catastrophic, particularly in delimited Germany, where 22 people died in wrong way driving incidents in 2013.
Currently the only preventative measure are the Stop Flasch no entry signs at the top of autobahn slip roads.
A number of solutions will be tried on a test stretch of motorway with the likely solution, according to reports, being a series of flashing lights activated by road way sensors. However, since Ghost Riders are not such a big issue in France, Holland or the UK, the root cause is likely to be road design.
Meanwhile, Mercedes has introduced wrong way warnings on its latest cars. The camera-activated traffic sign recognition system cross checks with the satnav to alert the driver with warning graphics and beeps. It will be rolled out across the rest of the range in due course but is so far is only available in Germany.
The one thing drivers who find themselves driving the wrong way should not do is attempt to turn round. The official advice is to switch on headlights and hazard lights and pull over onto the emergency lane.
For those facing a wrong way driver, the Belgian authorities advise to keep to the right hand lanes. Spookily, studies show Ghost Drivers have a proposenity to veer to their right.
roundup: THE ALPS: Alpine drives are likely to be interrupted for the next two weekends as cattle are brought down from high pastures (Viehabtrieb) warns ADAC. With combined herds sometimes thousands of animals strong, waits can be considerable as well as unpredictable. Drivers will also have to contend with the flocks of tourists who come to watch. Places certainly to avoid include Nesselwang tomorrow (16 September), Immenstadt and Tannheim on Saturday (20 September) and Zillertal on Saturday 27 September.
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