Police officers are allowed to use unmarked cars

Attention, column: This applies to motorcades

A car parade with a horn concert is part of many weddings and important football events. But does it have to be registered? We clarify the most important questions about driving in a convoy or encountering a convoy and what rights and obligations there are.

Behavior in a convoy

Emergency services, the police or the military are often out and about in convoy. But hardly any motorist knows how to behave in an encounter. We clarify the most important questions.

How do I recognize a column? 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. Police convoys usually do without flags, but are recognizable by their uniform appearance.

What rights does such an association have? In terms of traffic law, it is considered a vehicle. A closed association can therefore drive over the traffic light completely when it is red, if the first vehicle has made it through it when it is green. Also in roundabouts, at zebra crossings and crossings or when using the zip fastener, the following applies: the column may always stay together. This also means: Interrupting the column by "squeezing it in" is not permitted.

How long can a column be? The Road Traffic Regulations do not stipulate this, but prescribe "to leave spaces free for other traffic at appropriate intervals". Rescue and emergency services, for example, form a separate column if there are more than 15 vehicles.

Can I overtake a column?Yes, but only "in one go" without cutting them apart. This is almost only possible on motorways or multi-lane expressways.

What applies to entrances and exits from motorways? Strictly speaking, you shouldn't squeeze yourself into a column here either. "But of course we let someone in if it gets tight for them otherwise," says Policeman Wolfgarten. "It would be good if they didn't settle down for miles with us."

Do I have to make way for a column in a traffic jam? Only when it comes to rescue vehicles that are on the road with flashing lights and a siren. In this case, an emergency lane is ideally already free.

Motorcade at sporting events

Sometimes you are also part of a car parade, e.g. during a soccer World Cup. Here, too, there are a few things to consider:

Are car parades actually allowed?Strictly speaking, no! According to the StVO (§ 30), unnecessary noise and unnecessary driving back and forth are prohibited when using vehicles. But: Experience has shown that the police turn a blind eye during sporting events or weddings. That is why the horn concert is tolerated, for example, even though it violates the road traffic regulations.

What is not possible?Alcohol is also taboo in the motorcade. Very important: If the traffic light is red, it is essential to stop and the right of way rules must still be observed. It is forbidden to remove the seat belt while driving. Only when driving at walking pace is it not necessary to wear seat belts. Posing on the hood of a moving vehicle is, however, prohibited either way. Due to the risk of injury, you should also avoid leaning out of the vehicle.

Film, photograph, post:Stay away from your smartphone - even in the car parade at walking pace! It does not matter whether you are telephoned, photographed, filmed, posted or shared. Not only the use of cell phones, but also other electronic devices is only permitted for the driver with restrictions. The devices must not be picked up. What is new is that even with devices that are permanently installed or mounted in a bracket, the view may only be averted briefly from the traffic situation.

Can I also show my flag while driving?Of course! Small flags on the side windows, stickers on the car or even painting the whole car in the national colors - no problem. Everything is allowed as long as the driver's view is not restricted and other road users are not endangered. For example, it is forbidden to hold a large-format national flag on a long pole out of the window while driving.

Can I take the motorway with "full flags"?Yes and no. It all depends on the pace. When driving on the motorway, it must be ensured that flags do not come off and possibly endanger the following traffic. Here it becomes critical at around 90 km / h. Therefore, the ADAC advises to remove the flags to be on the safe side before entering the autobahn.

Who is liable in the event of an accident?The liability insurance of the person causing the accident is also liable in the event of an accident during a car parade. This means that passengers in the vehicle may also have claims against the insurance. However, if an injury occurs through contributory negligence (e.g. breach of seatbelt obligation), this can lead to joint liability. For this, however, the specific individual case must always be considered.

Motorcade at weddings

Time and again, wedding guests draw attention to themselves on motorways and in cities with long car convoys. It is not uncommon for them to disregard traffic rules and cause artificial traffic jams, for example to take photos on highways. The misuse of pyrotechnics and shots in the air can also be observed. Both involve the risk of serious accidents and are punished as a criminal offense.

What is the legal situation like? In the public traffic area, wedding convoys can often represent road use that goes beyond common use, for which a permit from the responsible road traffic authority is required (§ 29 StVO). We advise you to clarify in advance whether a permit will be granted or whether this is not required. Otherwise a violation will result in a fine.

Festival participants can also be asked to pay if the road surface is damaged in convoys, for example as a result of spinning tires. In addition to a fine, there is a risk of additional costs for road renovation. In the event of damage, grossly negligent behavior can also lead to the loss of insurance cover. In the event of violations that give rise to doubts as to the suitability of the driver to drive a vehicle, the police can arrange for the driver to be checked. In extreme cases, this even threatens the loss of your driver's license.

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