German Officials Restricting Autobahn Speeds Due to Heat Wave's Extreme Temperatures

The Autobahn's transportation officials fear the heat could cause cracks on road surfaces and pose danger to motorists.

Autobahn in Munich Muenchen
Wikicommons

German transportation authorities are allegedly imposing speed restrictions across the Autobahn highway network due to a sweltering heat wave that’s expected to peak on Wednesday. According to a report by Bloomberg, these high temperatures could cause severe cracks on the road's surface, which could lead to motor vehicle accidents.

Temperatures are expected to break records for the month of June, which was previously set at 38.2 degrees Celsius, or about 101 degrees Fahrenheit. The country’s highest temperature record happened in July of 2015, which topped out at 40.3 degrees Celsius, or 104.5 degrees Fahrenheit. Germany isn’t typically known for heat waves and culturally, they don’t believe in air conditioning. In fact, the majority of buildings and homes don't feature AC.

Climatologists and meteorologists all seemed to point their fingers in one direction for the cause: global warming and climate change. The cause of the heat wave is an apparent shift in air masses and a relocation of a major jet stream, which led to a hot air blast to travel north from the Saharan desert into Western Europe.

Germany’s also been suffering from climate change in the form of extended droughts, which have been so extreme that shipping schedules were suspended on the Rhine River in 2018. The droughts also limited hydroelectric power generation and caused numerous forest fires. The country’s agriculture was also affected, with Germany being forced to outsource grain for the first time in over 24 years.

Although the unrestricted sections of the highway have been axed in recent years due increased congestion (and support from the German people) the temporary speed restrictions affect the entire roadway network including those unrestricted zones where motorists can drive at whatever speed they can comfortably manage.