500km of traffic jams on Saturday sign of more to come

Almost 500km of traffic jams were recorded across France yesterday (Saturday July 21), with the worst driving day of the summer so far predicted to be Saturday August 4.

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Traffic forecaster Bison Futé has classified the first Saturday of August as “black (extremely difficult circulation)”.

It had predicted a “red day” on Saturday this weekend, as families set off in the direction of the Mediterranean and Spain.

Today (Sunday July 22), the alert level has returned to “green”, in both the “departure” direction and the “return”.

Next Saturday (July 28) is also predicted to be “red” (the second-worst alert, just under black) in the departure direction, and orange for returns. Next Sunday July 29 will be green on both days, except for the east of the country, which will see a pocket of orange.

During a red or black alert, families are always advised to set off very early or late, or travel on a different day, to avoid the worst of the roads.

But yesterday many appeared to depart at their scheduled time anyway, causing the peak of the traffic to hit at 12h15, creating up to 479km of jams across the country.

This is the equivalent of a traffic jam stretching from Paris to Lyon, completely gridlocked. It marks a spike in traffic compared to last Saturday, where queues reached 230km.

Journeys were calculated to be taking almost three times’ longer than usual.

The worst jam was seen in the Drôme, north of Valence, with over 67km recorded in a single line, just before 13h.

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