Two weeks ago we reported how winter weather had caused travel delays in Europe. One of the worst-hit areas was Germany, with thick ice on the roads, canceled flights, an an overworked rail system.
Now it appears Germany’s bad winter isn’t over. Cold temperatures and thick ice on the roads has prompted Berlin’s fire brigade to declare a weather state of emergency. Yesterday about 180 people were injured because of falls or auto accidents. One crash involved a tour bus and 30 people were injured. Numerous flights have been delayed or canceled. Other parts of Germany are also affected, although the capital appears to be the hardest hit.
Current conditions in Berlin are cold and foggy, meaning that the ice won’t be going away anytime soon. If you’re travel to, from, or within Germany over the next few days, be sure to check ahead to see if your plane, bus, or train is running on time. If you’re driving, get chains and go slow.
[Clever photo of snowy Hamburg courtesy user Alexsven via Gadling’s flickr pool]
They don’t call the D1, the major Czech highway, a “death trap” for nothing. Yesterday morning amidst a surprising spring snow storm which brought down as much as one inch of snow within minutes, the D1 turned into a bloody mess. Lucky me, I drove to Prague from Moravia just hours before the accident happened.
It all started with two semi trucks getting stuck mid-hill (summer tires?) about halfway between Prague and Brno and no less than 106 cars couldn’t stop in time and ended up building the most impressive car pile up in the country’s history.
Both directions of the highway, which is a major international artery in this region, were closed the entire day. Twenty thousand people got stranded on the side of the road in the freezing cold. Amazingly enough, nobody was killed, although 8 people were seriously injured.
If you ever want to rent a car here and drive around the country, please remember the D1 is not for the faint of heart.
German drivers suffered a major shock this week. The EU environment commissioner has requested that Germany imposes a speed limit on the Autobahn in order to cut carbon emissions.
The German Association of the Automotive Industry (or BMW, Porsche, Volkswagen) promptly replied that “Germany needed no coaching from Brussels on climate protection.”
The way EU regulation is going, something tells me Germany won’t be able to get away with this no speed limit thing for long. So, if you are dying to test out that new Porsche on the Autobahn, better do it fast.