Safely through the mountain

DEKRA Info July / August 2018

Tunnel vision
Tunnel vision: Factor in safety reserves

Road tunnel etiquette

The freeway journey down to sunnier southern climes means that vacation makers frequently have to pass through long road tunnels. The slightly queasy feeling that overcomes many people when they pass through these tubular structures can result in dangerous errors. Stefanie Ritter, DEKRA Accident Researcher provides some tips to make sure the journey is a safe one.

  • On stretches with many and long tunnels, refuel in good time so that you always have enough fuel in the tank. Factor in safety reserves in case you encounter traffic jams caused by block handling, accidents or heavy traffic.
  • In order to find out about problems in a tunnel along your route in good time, switch on the car radio and tune into the recommended traffic report station. Also pay attention to warning and information signs along the route.
  • If a traffic jam begins to form inside a tunnel, put on your warning lights in good time to warn vehicles coming behind. If traffic comes to a halt, form an emergency lane, maintaining ample distance to the vehicle in front so that lanes can be changed without too much maneuvering. Turn off the car engine and observe any instructions and information given via the tunnel loudspeaker system.
  • In the event of fire or smoke in the tunnel leave the vehicle as quickly as possible. In this eventuality, follow the emergency exit signs. Important: before leaving the vehicle switch on the warning lights, form a lane for emergency services, turn off the car engine and leave the ignition key in.
  • In case your car is involved in an accident or breaks down, if at all possible, stop in a breakdown bay. Before leaving the vehicle switch on the warning lights, set up the warning triangle and request help via the emergency communication systems.

Important before entering the tunnel: Turn on your lights, close car windows, and set air-condition to “recirculation”, says the expert. “And, of course, motorists should observe the permissible speed limits in the tunnel and the double the statutorily prescribed minimum distance – this corresponds to the speed in meters, i.e. 60 meters if you are traveling at 60km/h.”


Tilman Vögele-Ebering

Press officer Industrial


Fax +49.711.7861-742122

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