The Autobahn Just Got a Speed Limit, Thanks to Climate Change

Extreme heat across Europe forces a 62 MPH restriction

Autobahn
Extreme heat could lead to buckling and cracks on the Autobahn (Photo: Christoph Foerster / Flickr CC)
By Kirk Miller / June 26, 2019 11:08 am

While there are other roads without speed limits, Germany’s Autobahn is certainly the most famous. And even though a much-scrutinized plan to impose speed restrictions was tossed out earlier this year, those proposed limits were based around reducing both air pollution and collisions.

Where man failed, however, Mother Nature succeeds: Germany has now imposed limits of 62 MPH on certain stretches of the road due to a blistering heat wave wreaking havoc across Europe. That record heat, forecast at over 101 degrees Fahrenheit at times this week, is creating deadly cracks on the Autobahn surface, according to a news report by Fortune.

There’s some precedent for imposing weather-related curbs on speeding: In June of 2013, extreme heat triggered buckling along the road, triggering the death of a motorcyclist and causing other injuries. In 2015, parts of the Autobahn were closed due to weather damage.

The same heat wave (which, yes, pretty much everyone is attributing to climate change) has already sparked wildfires outside Berlin and lead to spikes in electricity prices. It’s also pushed Germany’s Green Party to become the strongest political party in Germany, according to recent polls.

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