A huge surge in traffic is expected at the start of the weekend, by which time all German schools will have closed for the winter holidays. "On top of that you have to factor in the normal weekend commuter traffic," Klaus Reindl, spokesperson for ADAC, Germany’s automobile club said on Tuesday.
Motorways are expected to be similarly congested on Saturday when a second wave of holiday-makers is expected to make their way to ski resorts.
Roads into the cities are also likely to be chock-a-block as present-buyers make a final attempt to complete their Christmas shopping. "People that take their cars into the city centre to go shopping only have themselves to blame," Reidel said. ADAC is advising shoppers to take public transport instead.
Roads are expected to be less busy on Christmas Eve, when Germans generally stay at home to eat a meal with their family. Christmas Day however is expected to be busier as people return home from visiting relatives.
Routes out of major cities like Hamburg, Berlin, Cologne and Munich are likely to be busy post-Christmas too as people head to the countryside or hit the slopes to work off their festive indulgence.
Reindl is warning motorists to expect congestion well into the New Year. "Things will be quieter from January 7th," he said.