'Tis the season for severe traffic jams
Motorists association ADAC has warned of serious traffic jams that could cause hundreds of kilometres of tailbacks on Friday and into Saturday as Germans begin their Christmas holidays.
The traffic jams are expected to be especially bad on motorways in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, where nearly a quarter of all Germans live – roughly 18 million, the association told the Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung (WAZ).
The state also has an unusual number of road construction projects under way that are likely to add to the misery – 19 major projects in all.
“Beginning at 1 pm it is likely to snarl up severely,” ADAC spokeswoman Jacqueline Grünewald told the WAZ.
While travellers will apparently be able to enjoy relatively empty motorways for most of Saturday and all of Christmas day on Sunday, things could get nasty again on Monday when Germans begin travelling from holiday spots back home.
Some of the worst traffic jams are expected around Cologne near the A1 motorway, which stretches into northern Germany, according to ADAC. The A3 and A61 motorways could also experience problems, the organization said.
Police also warned they will aggressively interdict suspected drunk drivers over Christmas. Last year, roughly 12,000 drivers in North Rhine-Westphalia alone had to submit to sobriety tests over the holiday season, and hundreds were arrested.