Pics of the pile up
Stundenlange Vollsperrung der A 1 / Fotostrecken Stormarn / Fotostrecken Lokales / Lokales - LN - Lübecker Nachrichten
While parts of Europe are struggling with heavy quantities of snow, Germany appears to be considerably less unfortunate. However, the country is still in the midst of winter, so extreme weather conditions are always a possibility.
The only way you can prepare for absolutely anything is to stock up your fridge and kitchen cabinets with food supplies, leave your car in the garage and stay inside until spring comes. Since not everyone can adopt a bear's schedule for the cold season, they instead put a shove in their trunks, equip their vehicles with snow tires and hope for the best.
Sometimes, though, the best doesn't happen, and you get ambushed by a hailstorm on the highway. Not only is this potentially damaging to your vehicle, but it also means the road surface gets covered in balls of ice of various dimensions. And they don't really make tires for situations like these.
Most people would stop on the hard shoulder under these circumstances and wait for the storm to pass, put they won't all do it at the same time. That means you'll have vehicles that are stationary and others that are still going at speed simultaneously on the same segment of highway, and we all know that spells bad news.
It certainly did on Germany's A1 highway where no less than 34 vehicles (29 passenger cars, three semis, and two vans) were involved in a pileup that resulted in the death of a 76-year-old who, ironically enough, was driving a Tesla Model S.
We say "ironically" because the Tesla is known for its great safety ratings and real-life safety records. What's more, an electric vehicle is also great at cutting speed without the need to apply the brakes and thus lose grip, something that was a premium at the time.
Local reports are still sketchy about the incident, but it looks like the Tesla was not the first car involved in the collision, so it didn't start the chain reaction. The electric sedan crashed into a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van, did at least one 180-degrees spin and ended up in the ditch on the side of the road facing the wrong way.
It's hard to tell from the pictures just how much damage the vehicle had sustained since they were taken after the rescue teams had extracted the driver, but one thing is certain: they were serious enough to fatally injure the man inside.
Of course, since a Tesla was involved, talks about the Autopilot being engaged immediately sprung up, but there is no evidence to justify that at the moment nor is there an official Tesla statement to either confirm or deny it.