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Traffic jams: Experience has shown that traffic jams often occur on the last holiday weekend

Photo: Wolfgang Maria Weber / IMAGO

The ADAC expects one of the busiest weekends of the summer season. One reason: The weekend before the start of school in North Rhine-Westphalia is just around the corner – and with it probably a lot of return traffic on congested motorways. The last holiday weekend was the most congested last year, said a spokesman for the ADAC in North Rhine-Westphalia.

"We assume that there is a lot of traffic, especially on Friday," said the ADAC spokesman. On this day, commuters meet holiday returnees as well as families who want to use the weekend for a short trip before school starts. The rest of the weekend is also expected to be significantly more congested than usual. An increase is therefore to be expected again on Sunday afternoon – those who leave early, probably get through better, said the ADAC spokesman.

It is not only in NRW that it gets crowded. On their way home are travelers from Bremen, Lower Saxony, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, Thuringia and Scandinavia, where the holidays will end shortly. Elsewhere, many people are just starting their holidays. This is especially true for travelers from Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria, where only the second week of vacation begins.

The additional ban on truck holiday driving, which has been in force every Saturday from 1 a.m. to 7 p.m. since Saturday, July 20, until the end of August, promises some relief.

When is it worth getting off the motorway?

Congestion hotspots are to be expected on the routes back from the North Sea and Baltic Sea as well as the Netherlands, for example on the A1, A2 and A3.

But there can also be traffic jams on other motorways such as the classic A40 commuter route or on the A59.

The ADAC spokesman advises not to reflexively leave the motorway in traffic jams. As a rule of thumb, it is only worthwhile to drive from a traffic jam length of ten kilometers or in the event of a full closure, because even the alternative routes are quickly overloaded.

The airports are also getting full

According to a spokesman, a classic return weekend with a high passenger volume of around 120,000 people is also expected at Cologne-Bonn Airport from Friday to Sunday.

At Düsseldorf Airport, more than 200,000 passengers are expected over the three days. A spokeswoman for Dortmund Airport said that the airport had a permanently high number of passengers. It is not expected that this will increase at the weekend.

This is what it looks like on the railways

In the case of the railways, a high volume is expected, especially at the times that are also in demand for many passengers on other weekends: Friday and Sunday afternoons.

Rail passengers who want to travel on the route between Düsseldorf and Wuppertal can breathe a sigh of relief: The section, which has been closed for a good six weeks due to construction work, is to be reopened on Friday evening from 21 p.m. At that time, there had been rail replacement services for lines RE4, RE13, S8, S28 and S68.

Brenner railway closed

The risk of congestion is also particularly high in neighbouring countries. At the Brenner Pass, for example, there may be more traffic jams because the Brenner railway line to Italy is closed until 23 August. The line between Innsbruck and Brenner station is affected. Passengers will have to transfer to buses. The reason for the closure is renovation work. The railway line is considered one of the most important rail connections between northern and southern Europe. Freight traffic is also affected by the closure.

But also on the highways in the direction of Scandinavia and back from there, according to ADAC, you need a "thick time cushion".