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New Signs Warn on Austrian Roads of Black Ice

By Samantha Mitchell,

Austrian motorway officials are experimenting by painting warning signs on the road that are only visible when the temperature falls below freezing.

The move is a bid to cut down on the number of accidents caused by people skidding off the road on ice especially as temperatures vary widely as Alpine roads climb and fall as they criss cross the country.

Austrian road authority Asfinag said that a difference of several degrees centigrade could be found on the same stretch of road - and have painted the new signs on several stretches of the busy A2 motorway.

Bridges where the temperatures are often very different from the road are a special focus of the campaign.

The signs painted with thermal paint include a blue snowflake surrounded by a red triangle that are only visible when it is close to freezing.

Asfinag spokesman Erich Putz said: "Of course if its snowing you don't see them, but then again when it's snowing you don't need a sign to warn you to drive carefully. The real killer is the black ice, and people who are not aware that the temperature has fallen to below freezing.

"It is a cheap and an effective alternative to expensive electronic street signs, and if it works it will be expanded across the country."

The paint has already been tested in giant fridges, with the signs starting to be visible from 4 degrees centigrade.

Cameras have been set up to see if the signs have an effect on drivers and to monitor performance.

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