In case of a road accident in Germany
This page contains topics:
- What to do after a road accident?
- How to share a location with emergency services?
- Calling auto recovery service
- Role of health insurance
1. Immediate Measures after an Accident
- Leaving the scene of a road accident without reporting is a severe offence with imprisonment for up to 3 years and a fine.
- Immediately switch on the hazard warning lights and drive on the hard shoulder.
- Immediately put on your safety vest (all helpers should wear a safety vest).
- Put the warning triangle on the right side of the road (at least 150m away).
- Provide first aid to the injured, but do not move any seriously injured person.
- All persons who do not provide first aid (for example, children) must stay behind the guardrail next to the hard shoulder.
- Call the emergency services using your mobile phone or make an emergency call from an orange-colored emergency call box (Notrufsäule). The emergency numbers in Germany are 110 (Police) and 112 (Fire Brigade & Ambulance). They can be dialed free of charge from any public call box. Note that you can’t call 112 with a phone without a SIM card. Through the 112 number, you can call for an ambulance (Krankenwagen). In an emergency on a major road (motorway, highway, secondary road), look at the white delineator (reflecting guide post) by the side of the road for arrows pointing in the direction of the nearest emergency telephone.
- Do not sign any paper unless you know and understand what you are doing.
- Note down the time and place of the accident, names, and addresses of any witnesses.
- In case of an accident with private or public property, like hitting a road sign, etc, stay at the scene. Leaving this kind of accident scene can also stimulate hit and run clauses of law. Try to contact the damaged property owner. If the owner can’t be reached, leave a note behind. If possible, take photographs of the scene. They are acceptable in court. Nowadays many dash cams are available in the market, better to keep one with you.
Reflecting guide post with an arrow pointing in the direction of the nearest emergency telephone.
2. How to Share a Location with Emergency Services?
Please note the following to indicate your location on the road.
- Name the road or Autobahn number you are currently on (for example A10).
- Mention the direction of travel.
- On the Autobahn, if possible, name the two exit points between which you are currently located.
- If you don't know the names of exit points, look for a mileage sign on the right side of the road and mention the mileage. These signs are available on Autobahn as well as on normal roads. Mileage signs are placed after every half kilometer. Click here to see an example of a mileage sign on an Autobahn.
Mileage sign on roads other than Autobahn
Mileage sign on the Autobahn. These signs are either fitted on guardrails or their own 2.5 feet high posts.
3. Calling an Auto Recovery Service
It is always beneficial to sign the membership of an automobile club (motoring club). The most popular automobile club in Germany is ADAC (Allgemeine Deutsche Automobil-Club). It has also partnerships in other countries. They help in minor repairs on road and offer a tow job in case of a vehicle breakdown. ADAC often offers discount membership packages for students. The second popular automobile club in Germany is AvD (Automobil-Club von Deutschland).
3. Health Insurance
Health insurance is mandatory in Germany. In case you cause an accident, your health insurance company pays your medical bills. If you cause an injury to another person in an accident, your vehicle insurance company will pay the medical bills of the injured person. Please see this page for vehicle insurance.