The holiday exodus has begun. Children throughout the Netherlands have time off, now that the summer holidays have also started in the northern region. The ANWB therefore warns against long traffic jams on popular holiday routes abroad.
Especially on Saturdays, the roads in France, Germany, Austria and northern Italy are expected to be overcrowded. The number of traffic jams due to returning tourists will also increase in the coming weeks. Next weekend is the first Black Saturday, as are the two subsequent weekends.
In Belgium, Liège is a bottleneck this summer due to roadworks on the ring road (E25). In France, the main bottlenecks are the A7 from Lyon to Orange and the A10 between Tours and Bordeaux. And Sunday 23 July is the finish of the Tour de France in Paris.
1400 road works
Holiday traffic in the south of Germany ends up in traffic jams early on Saturday morning. In addition, road works are being carried out in about 1400 places in Germany, which causes extra delays. In Austria there is traffic jams on the A10 from Salzburg to Villach and on the A11 from Villach to Slovenia. In Switzerland, the St. Gotthard tunnel in the A2 is the biggest bottleneck. There, the waiting time on Saturdays is an average of two hours.
In northern Italy it is also very busy on the road this weekend. A particularly popular holiday route to Lake Garda and Tuscany is from the Brenner Pass to Verona (A22). Last weekend, traffic here had to be patient for more than an hour. It will be busy at Budapest on Sunday 23 July due to the Formula 1 Grand Prix of Hungary.
It was no busier on the road on Friday afternoon than usual, the ANWB reported. However, there was more holiday traffic, including from Rotterdam and Utrecht to the South. The A4 towards The Hague near Zoeterwoude-Dorp was closed for some time after an accident involving a motorcycle and two cars. The motorcyclist was injured and taken to hospital. The delay was more than an hour.
What is Black Saturday and why is it called that?
On July 31, 1982, during the holiday rush, many accidents occurred, partly due to the rain. Near Beaune, a town in the east of France, a bus drove into several passenger cars. 53 people were killed, many of them children. Since then, the busiest Saturday in the summer has been known as Black Saturday.
Why do people take to the road anyway?
Many people think they have no choice. Because they only have a week’s holiday, for example, or because they have booked a holiday home or camping spot from Saturday to Saturday.
Schiphol is also preparing for a busy weekend. The airport expects around 215,000 departing travelers. They can reserve a time slot for the security check. According to a spokesperson, 95 percent of travelers were able to get through security within fifteen minutes over the past two holiday weekends.
Loaded too heavily
On the way to the holiday address, almost all caravans turned out to be overloaded on Friday. A caravan that was checked at the Hazeldonk border crossing was 400 kilos too heavy, the ANWB reports. For example, being overweight can cause damage to the suspension. In most cases, the problem was solved by transferring items from the caravan to the car.
Most of the cars that were checked were in good condition, according to the Wegenwacht. However, many lights were replaced and engine oil, coolant and brake fluid were often topped up.
Quiet Dutch roads
It will be quieter on Dutch roads in the coming weeks, especially during rush hour. Work and events in the Netherlands can still cause crowds this weekend. For example, the Zwarte Cross brings a lot of public around Lichtenvoorde up to and including Sunday.
At Groningen there is a delay due to the closure of the N7 in both directions. At Roermond, the A73 at the Roer and Swalmentunnel is closed in the direction of Nijmegen. The Haringvliet bridge in the A29 between Rotterdam and Bergen op Zoom is still closed until Saturday 5 August. There is a risk of traffic jams around Amsterdam due to work on the A10 West, between the De Nieuwe Meer and Coenplein interchanges.
The work on the asphalt in and around the Coentunnel in the A10 will not take place this weekend due to the expected weather, Rijkswaterstaat reports. It is expected to rain heavily in Amsterdam on Saturday and Sunday. It is not yet known when these activities will be caught up.
Heat does not prevent holidaymakers from traveling
Most people just go
The heat in Southern Europe is currently not causing problems for Dutch holidaymakers or cancellations of trips. Emergency centers and travel organizations see this. Italy, among others, is currently suffering from the heat, but Greece, Spain and parts of France, Germany and Poland are also experiencing very high temperatures.
Emergency centers of the ANWB, SOS International and Eurocross have not yet received any reports of people experiencing problems due to the heat. Travel umbrella organization ANVR reports that virtually no trips are canceled due to the high temperatures. “Most people just go,” says a spokeswoman. This is also no reason to cancel free of charge. In the responses we also hear that people are already taking a step back because it is a holiday and that it is not too bad because of that.”
TUI, Corendon and Sunweb also stated when asked that the heat is no reason for their customers to refrain from traveling to Southern Europe. “People still want to go on holiday,” says a spokeswoman for Corendon. Sunweb says it is keeping a close eye on the situation in the countries where it is now so hot.
Recently, in a survey by the ANWB, 10 percent of the respondents indicated that they would not opt for southern Europe this summer because of the high temperatures. According to a spokeswoman, alternative destinations are holidays closer to home, such as the Netherlands, Germany and Luxembourg, but also England and Austria.
Bring an umbrella and don’t leave until after breakfast
Anyone traveling to Southern Europe is advised by the ANWB to be well prepared. For example, the ANWB recommends that the air conditioning in the car is not set colder than 6 degrees below the outside temperature and that you bring an umbrella in case you end up with a breakdown in the blazing sun. It is also wise to check the car in advance for defects and to bring sufficient drinking water. If you are traveling with children, place sunshades in front of the windows.
The ANWB calls on holidaymakers not to leave en masse during the night, but to wait until after breakfast. “Otherwise you will be driving on the most popular holiday routes at the busiest time of the day,” says a spokeswoman. “If you leave around 09:00, you avoid the longest traffic jams.”
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