Travel

France braces for traffic bedlam in 'crossover' day for holidaymakers

An employee of the Autoroutes Paris Rhin Rhone (APRR) works in front of a control screen at the PC security in Dijon, on the eve of the busiest weekend of the year across roads in France, where a 'black Saturday,' meaning “extremely difficult” driving conditions, is expected, 29 July 2011
An employee of the Autoroutes Paris Rhin Rhone (APRR) works in front of a control screen at the PC security in Dijon, on the eve of the busiest weekend of the year across roads in France, where a 'black Saturday,' meaning “extremely difficult” driving conditions, is expected, 29 July 2011 AFP - JEFF PACHOUD

French traffic monitoring service Bison Futé has urged drivers to take extra care on the roads due to the current heatwave as those jetting off on holiday cross paths with those returning in what is expected to be one of the busiest  travel days of the year.

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The nerves of thousands of holiday makers are likely to be tested this Saturday amid warnings of major traffic jams compounded by a heatwave.

French traffic warning service Bison Futé has described today as "black", meaning conditions on French roads will be "extremely difficult".

Driving on the first weekend of August usually is challenging because it is the crossover between July holiday makers returning home and those who go away in August taking to the roads.

Bison Futé has urged holiday makers to "avoid driving at peak heat hours (between midday and 4.00pm)", as the country struggles to cool off after scorching temperatures.

Traffic jams, high temperatures

Six departments in the Rhone-Alpes region in southern France, where roads are particularly busy, were placed under orange alert on Thursday.

"Temperatures should remain high throughout Saturday and into Sunday, before cooling down," the traffic service said.

The traditional advice is to leave early before midday to avoid getting stuck in a jam and to beat the heat.

The motorways that could be problematic for drivers are the A6, A7, A40, A43 and A62.

Bison Futé is advising holiday makers to delay their journeys until Sunday if possible, when the roads are expected to be clearer and the thermometer likely to be lower.

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