When you read that headline up there about a bunch of snails destroying an old Trabant, I’m sure most of you were thinking “In drag race, right?” but that’s actually not the case. They actually used their gross slimy trails to out-and-out literally wreck the poor Trabi.
This happened a few days ago near Paderborn, Germany, on a section of the Autobahn. As an aside, I have to donate any available props to someone willing to drive a two-stroke East German relic with a body made of plastic and pressed rags on the Autobahn.
On this section of Autobahn, it seems that there was a large “caravan of snails” making their way on the road, appropriately in the slow lane. When the Trabant came driving along, it encountered the snail exodus and lost grip on the snail snot slicked surface.
The driver lost control of the car, which rolled over and impacted a guard rail. The Trabi is said to be totaled (though, to be fair, technically you can probably total a Trabant, at least monetarily, by peeing on the floormats) but happily the driver escaped unharmed.
That sort of driver safety is actually pretty impressive for an old Trabant. Or lucky. Many of the snails, however, weren’t so lucky, their shells pulverized and their pulpy bodies compacted into the asphalt.
Some of the snails, however, did get lucky. As the police report notes:
Some animals were able to escape into the nearby grass.
The police report also stated that the snail-slime patch wasn’t a danger for long, as (according to the charmingly dorky Google Translate):
With the onset of solar radiation the road dried off.
Appallingly, recent studies have suggested that land snails do not require their slime trails to move horizontally, suggesting that not only could this accident have been prevented, but it raises the alarming question as to whether or not these snails deliberately decided to enslickify the roadway when, if they’d only read this Stanford study, they knew they didn’t have to.
Was this deliberate? Is this a snail gang, making Germany’s Autobahns into a slimy, hazardous mess that will fling cars off the road willhelm-nillhelm?
It doesn’t seem like we have quite enough evidence to conclusively say, but let’s be conservative and just say yes. Yes, there are gangs of snails roaming the Autobahn making the roads slick enough to send Trabants and probably many other cars off to their doom.
You’ve been warned.