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News and views from the German-language region of Europe

January 29, 2011

A slippery morning

Filed under UCG-Germany

As I left for a church service in Arnhem (Netherlands) this morning, I could tell it might be slippery in places.

Since moving to a new apartment 3 years ago, I no longer have a garage. Last night I was too lazy to put the plastic covering I have over my car, so when I went downstairs at 7:20 a.m. for the 2 hour drive to Arnhem, the first thing I had to do was scrape the frost off my windshield, etc. Last night was the first of several nights when the temperature was supposed to drop as low as the high teens. That may not be so cold as it gets elsewhere, but in the normally damp air here the first day the temperature dips below freezing roads can be slick. As I proceeded from my apartment to the A59 Autobahn, I made sure to slow down a bit every time I noticed that icy-like sheen on the surface of the road. Once on the Autobahn, I thought the need to exercise care would be over, since the Autobahn normally has a lot of traffic and the cars preceding me would have taken care of any frost on the road. When I got to Duisburg, though, that was not the case with the traffic on the opposite side of the road. Just minutes before my arrival a major accident had taken place, and the police had just finished putting out the markers to close the entire autobahn. There was an exit right at the scene of the accident, so for me it meant just a 2-3 detour to get on the other side of the accident (the Autobahn was free on the other side of the exit). However, on my side of the road the police had already covered a body with a sheet, a sure sign of a traffic fatality. Judging by the condition of the vehicles at the scene, I guessed that the person had been thrown out of the car. Traveling in Bavaria some 35 years ago on the A8 Autobahn I witnessed the same thing – never a pleasant site for anyone involved. I continued on my route and made it to Arnhem safely, having been reminded of the need for vigilance and care on wintry roads.

Paul Kieffer's blog with personal insights and news from the German-language region in Europe.


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