Collision course

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A collision course ( Latin collidere ' to collide' , from laedere ' to hurt') is a chosen direction in behavior or navigation in the traffic sector , and if it is maintained, a collision (i.e. a collision) will or could occur.

A vehicle is on a collision course if, when the vehicles approach, the bearing does not change, or only changes slightly (so-called stationary bearing ). H. each of the vehicles sees the other in almost the same direction (side bearing).

The term is used in aviation , space and shipping . In addition to other vehicles, collisions with objects (rocks, quay walls, etc.) can also occur.


Ro-Ro ship Grand Portogallo on a collision course on the Elbe

In maritime shipping, the behavior of ships on a collision course or to avoid a collision course is specified in the collision avoidance rules. After that ships have to meet on port side (to put it simply: "right-hand traffic"). In the last-minute maneuver, maneuver in whatever way is most useful to avoid a collision.

In the dark, the course of the other ships is assessed using the different colored lateral position lights , or in the case of ships in motion and over 50 m in length (see lighting guide ) also using the position of the two steamer lights to each other. Also radar and AIS help detect a possible collision course and to take countermeasures in time. If visibility is poor, radar and / or AIS are essential. The correct interpretation of radar signals requires a lot of experience.


In aviation, technical systems warn of collision courses, e.g. B. via TCAS , ACAS , Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System (EGPWS) and FLARM .

Man-machine interface

In the human-machine system , the operator is shown acoustic and visual warnings, among other things, when there is a collision course. Especially in aviation, pilots in modern aircraft are given a tape announcement : “Traffic Traffic!”, Such messages are called “Bitching Betty” / “Nagging Norah” / “Hank the Yank on Boe” in the aviation language .

Individual evidence

  1. The official sports boat license - See . 16th edition. ISBN 978-3-7688-2539-9 ; Answer to exam question 91