autos, cars, all 3 lanes jammed, but watch how fast these fire trucks move – rettungsgasse is unique to germany and austria

The screen capture above is taken from the dashcam recording of a German volunteer fire department’s truck responding to a car on fire incident on the A96 stretch of the highway (or as the Germans call it, autobahn) heading to Munich.

Right before the fire trucks merge into the highway, you can see that traffic has been backed up for kilometres, and all 3 lanes are not moving. However after merging into the highway, you will see that a path has already been opened prior, allowing the fire trucks to move at high speeds.

How? No it’s not because these German drivers were so good that they instantly moved aside upon hearing a siren.

One of the firemen in video can be heard saying “It’s the Rettungsgasse, it’s good.”

Rettungsgasse is a law in Germany (and Austria). The law compels drivers encountering a traffic jam on a highway to move aside to create a path for emergency services vehicles. This path must remain clear for as long as the traffic snarl continue, irrespective of whether there is a police car, ambulance, or fire truck coming from behind.

Any time traffic is backed up, the Rettungsgasse law must be followed. Since this is left-hand drive Europe, traffic flow is opposite from us.

Cars on the leftmost (overtaking lane) will move to the left, sticking close to the centre divider while cars on all other lanes will move towards the right, pulling to the road shoulder / emergency lane.

But like many countries, adherence to traffic regulations vary from one place to another. As shown in this video below.

The Rettungsgasse rule has been enforced in Germany and Austria since 2012. Now that the Rettungsgasse law is already in its 10th year, compliance among drivers are better than before, and below are a few more examples of Rettungsgasse at work.

And no, motorcycles are not allowed to ride down the Rettungsgasse lane. Also no, motorcycles are not allowed to ride between lanes (no lane splitting). In Germany, two-wheelers are treated the same as 4-wheelers, the same rules for overtaking applies (meaning no undertaking).

autos, cars, all 3 lanes jammed, but watch how fast these fire trucks move – rettungsgasse is unique to germany and austria

Lane splitting for motorcycles is a controversial topic here, because of the type and number of motorcycles in use in Europe is very different from South East Asia. The counter-argument is, can you imagine how much worse our traffic will be if motorcycles are to line-up like four-wheelers?

Rettungsgasse is a topic that’s a bit too far away for Malaysia. We haven’t even get around basics like enforcing standardized number plates so traffic law-enforcing automatic number plate recognition cameras (ANPR) and barrier-less MLFF electronic toll collection can work.

autos, cars, all 3 lanes jammed, but watch how fast these fire trucks move – rettungsgasse is unique to germany and austria

As for ambulances and fire trucks, first we need to get our ministers’ convoy to understand and follow basic traffic regulations like .

Once we’ve sorted that, then perhaps we can move on to discuss more advance topics like Rettungsgasse.

Keyword: All 3 lanes jammed, but watch how fast these fire trucks move – Rettungsgasse is unique to Germany and Austria

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