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Confrontation with a column: this is what you should do

Bundeswehr /Felicia Englmann
Encounter with a column
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W hen the military moves into maneuvers or relocates troops then whole convoys are set in motion. Armored vehicles of all classes are on the way. These are partly over-wide and over-long. In addition, the heavy transports can weigh up to 130 tons - significantly more than the heavy-duty trains usually used in road traffic. Accordingly, these vehicles need all available lanes on some road sections or bridge crossings.

Due to the heavy armor and functional construction, military vehicles are usually not equipped with a great all-round view - the driver's field of vision is accordingly limited. Another peculiarity of a convoy is that it is sometimes very long.

Caution is advised

So if you come across a convoy as a driver, let it pass if it comes towards you . If necessary, pull over and stop. You should let the entire convoy drive past entrances and exits. Even at traffic lights, military convoys do not always obey the traffic lights. Here, too, greater caution is required. Do not push yourself between the vehicles. This also applies if you run into a convoy and want to overtake. Wait for an opportunity to safely pass the entire convoy. Do not push yourself between the vehicles. Also note the vehicle width of the military vehicles - the entire lane is not always available for overtaking. If in doubt, choose a different route or stay behind the convoy.

Military convoys are always very slow, and the heavy vehicles have relatively long braking distances. Particular caution applies to tanks. The tracked vehicles swivel sharply when changing course. Your drivers have an extremely limited field of vision.

Labels on a convoy

Not only the military are on the move in the convoy, but also aid organizations such as the THW or the police often drive in columns. Public aid and rescue organizations usually adhere to a Bundeswehr regulation: all but the last vehicle carry a blue flag on the driver's side. The last vehicle, on the other hand, bears a green flag; it can also be equipped with a yellow flashing light or a warning panel. Blue light on the vehicles may be switched on. FurtherRegulations that do not necessarily have to be complied with in every member country can be found in the NATO regulation STANAG 2154: Regulations for Military Motor Vehicle Movement by Road. Police convoys usually do without flags, but are recognizable by their uniform appearance.

Convoys are also regulated by Section 27 of the StVO (closed association). A closed association can consist of up to 30 vehicles and must be recognizable as such. In order to ensure this, association participants must always drive close to one another in road traffic so that the safety distances are just reached or slightly below them.

All vehicles in a closed association are allowed to cross an intersection or red traffic lights - provided they are still in the first vehicle was green - cross. Other road users must always grant this priority: it is forbidden to interrupt a closed formation in motion. This is only permitted when overtaking the column. A motorist can queue up in the spaces provided for this purpose in the association, which are always required from a certain association length. The legislature also provides for fines if the column regulations are not adhered to.


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