Today is a “black day” on some popular holiday roads as many people travel by car in corona times. Especially in France it is very busy during this changeover weekend (with many departures and returners): there this Saturday has been renamed a so-called black day with regard to traffic jams and traffic for departures, in other parts of Europe it is code red.
“The crowds started very early,” said VRT traffic expert Hajo Beeckman. In France, on the A10 from Paris to Bordeaux and on the A7 from Lyon to Orange, on the well-known Autoroute du Soleil, you had to take into account delays of more than 3 hours this morning. Around noon there were 760 kilometers on the French highways, which is comparable to last year.
The peak in traffic jams is expected around this time, although the wider time frame for traffic jams is between 10 am and 4 pm. “At some bottlenecks, the crowds can continue until 7 pm, but traffic jams will shrink from 4 pm,” Beeckman says, and gives the following tips: “Leave today after 1 pm, and you will arrive at those bottlenecks when the worst traffic jams disappear Or leave tomorrow, if possible, then much less traffic jams are expected.”
Not only in France
But it is by no means limited to France alone, Beeckman says. In Switzerland, you were stuck in traffic at the Gotthard tunnel for 1 hour this morning. And also those who want to go to Austria or further have to be very patient: there are major delays around Munich, between Munich and Salzburg, on the border with Austria in Füssen and in Austria itself around Salzburg. Beeckman even talks about a “major traffic chaos” after previous accidents and border controls.
There are particularly long waiting times between Salzburg and the Slovenian border. This is partly due to work and border controls on the Karawanken tunnel.
Motorists driving from here to Scandinavia must also take into account large crowds, including in the north of Germany. “In the vicinity of Hamburg you have to count on 1 hour extra this morning, and the A7 between Hamburg and Denmark will be added 2 hours because of accidents and border controls.”
It went smoothly in most places this morning for returning holidaymakers, but it will get busier there in the coming hours. The peak would drop there a little later than for departing travelers, with the focus on the (late) afternoon. All in all, it would still be easy: “People are leaving much more spread out,” says Beeckman.